The Essential Link: The Story of Wilfrid Israel


Philadelphia Premiere
: Monday, November 6
Time: 2:00 PM
: The Gershman Y

Director: Yonatan Nir
Genre: Documentary Feature
Country: Israel
Year: 2016
Running Time: 71 min
Language: Hebrew and German with English subtitles

Sponsored by: Janet and Howard Pack

Buy tickets HERE

THE ESSENTIAL LINK: THE STORY OF WILFRID ISRAEL sheds light on the extraordinary story of one of the great humanitarians of the 20th century. Wilfrid Israel was born into the Israel family, owners and operators of one of the largest and most successful department stores in Berlin. As the plight of the Jewish people in Germany continued to worsen, Wilfrid used his wealth and connections to arrange the emigration of over 10,000 Jews from Nazi-occupied Berlin.

Unraveling the elusive mystery behind the Jewish businessman, art collector, and unsung hero is award-winning Director Yonatan Nir (My Hero Brother), who first comes across his subject when visiting his grandparents’ home on Kibbutz Hazore’a. Puzzled by the Wilfrid House, the museum built at the center of the kibbutz, Nir wonders how the foundation filled with exotic art came to be. Determined to unravel the reasons why hardly anyone at the kibbutz was willing to share the history of the museum, Nir creates a website urging those with connections to Wilfrid Israel to come forward. In no time, the responses pour in – relatives, historians, and the survivors Wilfrid saved come forth with incredible anecdotes that help piece the puzzle together.

Special Guests: Skype interview with Yonatan Nir, Director of The Essential Link: The Story of Wilfrid Israel.


For Fans of: Documentaries, Holocaust cinema, Israeli history, memoirs, Nicky’s Family, Schindler’s List, Wilfrid Israel, WWII cinema

Official Selection: Berlin Jewish Film Festival, Docaviv International Film Festival, Houston Jewish Film Festival, Israel Film Festival, San Diego Jewish Film Festival, and Toronto Jewish Film Festival

Community Partners:

Gratz College Holocaust and Genocide Studies Program

Holocaust Remembrance Education Program Jewish War Veterans Post 697


Temple University Department of History

University of Pennsylvania Department of History