Mohamed Helmy

(born 1901 in Khartoum, then British Egypt – died 1982 in Berlin)

"It's not just my mother who was saved by Dr. Helmy. We, her three children and seven grandchildren, also owe our lives to him." (Clara Greenspan, daughter of Anna Boros)

Mohamed Helmy risked his life during the Nazi dictatorship to help the sick, as well as Jewish families in need. 

Mohamed “Mod” Helmy was an Egyptian physician who came to Berlin during the Weimar Republic to study medicine; he subsequently worked together with Jewish doctors at Moabit Hospital. Even after the National Socialists seized power, Helmy did not give up his responsibility towards his Jewish patients, treating them at home from then on. In addition, the Cairo humanist, a victim of discrimination in Germany as a “non-Aryan”, derided the Nazi leadership, and was dismissed from his position and arrested. Since the German leadership saw Arab countries as potential allies in the Second World War, Helmy was released in the course of diplomatic negotiations. Instead of returning to Cairo, he remained in Berlin to help those persecuted by the Nazis. Among other things, he enabled Germans and so-called Fremdarbeiter (foreign workers) to take sick leave in order to protect such patients from being called up for the Volkssturm (lit. “people’s storm”, emergency army conscripted from non-military ranks) or excessively hard labour. 

In 1942, he took in Anna Boros, a Jew, and passed her off as his niece. In the Wilmersdorf Mosque, a centre of Muslim life in Berlin attracting people of all religions, she received an official document in 1943 identifying her as a devout Muslim. Boros survived the Shoah, emigrated to New York and became a nurse. According to her own statement, she was “grateful for all eternity” to her rescuer. In 2013, Mohamed Helmy was honoured by the Israeli Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem as “Righteous Among the Nations”, the only Egyptian among some 70 Muslims to be so distinguished. (17.11.2022).

Mohamed Helmy
Credits: FES/AdsD