Nathan Israel Couture House and Department Store

District: Mitte
Address before 1945: Spandauer Str. 26-32, Ecke Königstraße 11-14
Address today: Spandauer Str. 7, Ecke Rathaustraße, 10178 Berlin

Founded in 1815 and as such one of the oldest in Berlin, the Nathan Israel Fashion House remained in family hands until 1939. The couture salon and department store specialized in women’s wear.
Beginning in 1933, Wilfried Israel (1899-1943), the great-grandson of the founder, was interrogated numerous times by the police and, in 1935, was forcibly removed as head of the company by the Nazi authorities. His British citizenship shielded him from further persecution and made it possible for him to help other Jews to escape. The department store repeatedly became the target of antisemitic attacks. In early 1939, the pressure to “Aryanize” the company began to build. Its sale to an American owner was intended to protect the department store from seizure by the German authorities. However, as “enemy property”, the fashion house fell under the control of those very authorities all the same. Wilfried Israel fled to England in 1939. He died in a plane crash in 1943.

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