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Lunch and Program

Wednesday, January 16, 2019
12 Noon

Guest Speaker: Joyce Kamen

How the Moral Courage of an Arab Doctor
Saved a Jewish Girl in Nazi Berlin

On Wednesday, January 16th, learn the fascinating story of how Dr. Fred Wagshul's search for his biological family led to the discovery of how the unwavering morality and unfathomable courage of one man, Dr. Mohamed Helmy—an Arab Egyptian physician—saved an entire Jewish family during the Holocaust. That family was Fred's mother (Anna), grandmother and great grandmother. Dr. Wagshul's wife, Joyce Kamen, will share this incredible story at Northern Hills Synagogue at the monthly HaZak program.

"This presentation will follow the timeline of this remarkable story that began with a search for Fred's biological family in 2013 and led to the revelation of astonishing details of Dr. Helmy's uncommon heroism and how he successfully saved Fred's family," said Joyce Kamen. "It is a moving and most remarkable story, about which two books have been written and two films have been produced."

In October 2017, Fred and Joyce traveled to Berlin to witness the official ceremony honoring Dr. Helmy. They are scheduled to return to Berlin next year to attend the premier of a new documentary—produced by Israel television— about how Anna and her family were saved from Nazi annihilation by Dr. Helmy.

Dr. Mohamed Helmy, who was born in Khartoum in 1901 to Egyptian parents, studied medicine in Berlin and became head of the urology department at the Robert Koch Hospital. Helmy became witness to the dismissal of Jewish doctors from the hospital in 1933, and, not being of 'Aryan race' himself, Dr. Helmy was discriminated against and was fired from the hospital in 1938. Despite great danger to himself, Helmy spoke out against Nazi policies and risked his life to hide Dr. Wagshul's mother, stepfather and grandmother. In March 2013, Dr. Helmy became the first Arab to be recognized as "Righteous Among the Nations" by Israel's Yad Vashem.

Fred Wagshul is a practicing pulmonologist in Miamisburg, while Joyce Kamen is a creative communications professional.

HaZak, which stands for Hokma (wisdom), Zikna (maturity), and Kadima (forward) provides monthly programs for people 55+ from September through June at Northern Hills Synagogue, 5714 Fields Ertel Road (between I-71 and Snider Road). It is an accessible facility that strives to make all events inclusive of people with disabilities.

This HaZak program will begin at noon with a luncheon followed by the speaker. The program is free and open to the public. "So that we can properly prepare for attendees, please make a reservation with Northern Hills Synagogue by phone (513-931-6038) or And, donations are appreciated," said program co-chair Sarah Barnard.

Dr. Mohamed Helmy

Anna Wagshul

Joyce Kamen



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