Egypt Doctor's Family Rejects Israeli Honor

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The family of the first Arab honored by Israel for risking his life to save Jews during the Holocaust has rejected that honor.

Egyptian doctor Mohamed Helmy was recognized by Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial as "Righteous Among the Nations" -- the highest honor given to a non-Jew for risking great personal dangers to rescue Jews from the Nazis' gas chambers.

Helmy was born in 1901 in Khartoum, in what was then Egypt and is now Sudan. He moved to Berlin in 1922 to study medicine and worked as a urologist until 1938, when Germany banned him from the public health system because he was not considered Aryan, said Martina Voigt, the German historian who conducted research on Helmy.

When the Nazis began deporting Jews, he hid 21-year-old Anna Boros, a family friend, at a cabin on the outskirts of the city and provided her relatives with medical care.

After Boros' relatives admitted to Nazi interrogators that he was hiding her, he arranged for her to hide at an acquaintance's house before authorities could inspect the cabin, according to Yad Vashem.

A family member tracked down by the museum said the family is not interested in the honor because relations between Egypt and Israel remain hostile.

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