Mohammed Helmy

Dr Mohammed Helmy (Arabic: محمد حلمي‎, Hebrew: מוחמד חילמי‎; July 25, 1901, Khartoum – January 10, 1982, Berlin) was an Egyptian doctor who saved several Jews from Nazi persecution in Berlin during the Holocaust. He has been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.[1] He was the first Arab to be recognized as such.[2]

Mohammed Helmy
Born(1901-07-25)25 July 1901
Died10 January 1982(1982-01-10) (aged 80)
EmployerRobert Koch Institute
Known forSaving lives of Jews during World War II
Spouse(s)Annie Ernst (Emmy Helmy)
AwardsRighteous Among the Nations
Grave of Egyptian physician Mod Helmy in Friedhof Heerstraße in Berlin-Westend


Helmy went to Berlin in 1922 to study medicine. However, he started working at the Robert Koch Hospital (later called Moabit Hospital [de]) after graduation, but he was sacked from his job in 1938, as the Nazis wanted to dismiss non-Aryans; moreover, he was banned from working in hospitals, and from marrying his German fiancée, Annie Ernst. Helmy was vocal in criticizing Adolf Hitler publicly, which led to his arrest in 1939 and 1940, along with other Egyptians, until his release due to personal health issues. During the WWII, he treated several Jewish families and even hid them from prosecution.[1]


Relatives of Helmy were sought by Yad Vashem to present them with the honour awarded to Helmy; they were, however, not interested in accepting the award, citing hostile relations between Israel and Egypt.[3] Eventually, four years after he was recognized as the first Arab Righteous Among the Nations, film director Taliya Finkel who made a movie about Helmy, located the son of his nephew, Nasser Kotby.[4] Kotbi agreed to receive the certificate from the Israeli ambassador to Berlin, but at a ceremony in the German Foreign Ministry,[5] not in the Israeli Embassy, due to the family's difficulty in receiving the honor directly from an Israeli institution.[6][7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Rescued by an Egyptian in Berlin". Yad Vashem. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  2. ^ "Yad Vashem names Egyptian first Arab Righteous Among the Nations". Haaretz. 30 September 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  3. ^ "Family of WW2 Arab hero reject Israeli honor". i24 News. 20 October 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  4. ^ ברלין: הערבי הראשון יקבל את אות חסיד אומות העולם, October 25, 2017
  5. ^ "Israel honours first recognised Arab Holocaust saviour". BBC News Online. BBC. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  6. ^ משפחתו של חסיד אומות העולם הערבי הראשון הסכימה לקבל תעודה מיד ושם, Haaretz, October 22, 2017
  7. ^ "Egyptian doctor honoured for saving Jewish lives during the Holocaust". The Jewish Chronicle. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 27 October 2017.

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