The indomitable spirit of Dr. Mohammed ‘Mod’ Helmy, a medical practitioner who risked everything to save Jewish lives during the horrors of the Second World War, is immortalized in a heartwarming Google Doodle. Created by Berlin artist Noa Snir, the illustration portrays the doctor embracing the Jewish community, a powerful symbol of compassion and bravery.
Google Doodle, renowned for celebrating the achievements of exceptional individuals, ideas, traditions, or events, chose to pay homage to the remarkable legacy of Dr. Helmy.
Hailing from Sudan, Mohammed Helmy trained and served as a medical professional at Berlin’s former Robert Koch Hospital. However, the ascendance of Adolf Hitler in 1933 led to the dismissal of foreign staff, including Dr. Helmy. Undeterred, he persisted in his mission to help others, even as he faced arrest in 1939 and 1940. His release on both occasions was attributed to his declining health, rendering him unfit for internment.
The Nazi regime subjected Dr. Helmy to further hardship, denying him the opportunity to marry his German fiancée and relegating him to the role of a doctor’s assistant. Despite these challenges, his commitment to aiding innocent individuals knew no bounds. He courageously provided sick notes to protect them from forced labor.
Notably, Dr. Helmy’s most awe-inspiring feat involved sheltering a Jewish patient, Anna Boros, from the clutches of the Nazis. Despite the constant threat of police investigation, he never wavered, continuing to shield her and assisting in the escape of Ms. Boros’s family.
Berlin artist Noa Snir, moved by the story of Mod Helmy, found hope in the fact that individuals outside the Jewish community exhibited extraordinary courage during WWII. With a personal connection to her Jewish heritage, Snir deeply admired Dr. Helmy’s resilience and altruism, particularly as he faced persecution based on his background and ethnicity.
Dr. Helmy’s legacy lives on, even after his passing at the age of 80 in 1982. On what would have been his 122nd birthday, the Google Doodle serves as a powerful reminder of his bravery and selflessness.
Appearing across various countries, including the UK, Cuba, Iceland, Germany, Slovakia, Czechia, and Israel, the Doodle captures the essence of Dr. Helmy’s inspiring character. Noa Snir painstakingly depicted the doctor, drawing inspiration from vintage stamps while interweaving a sense of war-torn history with hope for a better world.
In the face of darkness, Dr. Helmy’s heroic actions serve as a beacon of light, exemplifying the immense courage and compassion displayed by ordinary individuals during humanity’s darkest hour.