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    Thea Wolf and the Jewish Hospital in Alexandria

    Ada Aharoni has been awarded the Prix du Témoignage (Testimony Prize) for this little known WW2 history of Arab-Jewish co-operation.

    Text: Solveig Hansen

    Thea Wolf – la femme en blanc de l'hôpital d'Alexandrie

    Thea Wolf – la femme en blanc de l’hôpital d’Alexandrie

    Ada Aharoni’s Not in Vain: An Extraordinary Life (1998) about Thea Wolf (1907–2005), German Head Nurse at the Jewish Hospital in Alexandria during World War II, has recently been translated into French, titled Thea Wolf – la femme en blanc de l’hôpital d’Alexandrie (also available as an e-book at Kindle). Through the hospital and in some cases with the aid of Egyptian officials, hundreds of escaping European Jews found sanctuary.

    November 3, 2014, Ada Aharoni won the Prix du Témoignage for the French version, awarded by book publisher Le Manuscrit and The Huffington Post.

    The English title of the book, Not in Vain, is derived from Wolf’s own statement, “I did not want to live in vain.” Independent and strong from an early age, she fought the prejudices of her time and became a nurse. In 1932, she left for Egypt and the Jewish Hospital in Alexandria, never to see her family again. Most of them were killed in the Nazi concentration camps.

    Not in Vain: An Extraordinary Life

    Not in Vain: An Extraordinary Life

    Wolf kept meticulous records throughout her career. After the war, she even tried to find out what had happened to many of the people she helped save. Her notes proved to be valuable to Aharoni while writing and documenting the events that unfolded in the Alexandrian hospital.

    Some of the stories are truly remarkable, like the one about the last German ship to visit Egypt before the outbreak of the war. Onboard were thirteen Jewish refugees who were not allowed to disembark and were about to be transported back to Germany. One of the ship’s crew members arranged with the hospital staff to administer a dose of sleeping pills to the refugees in order to put them in an appeared state of coma, after which they were admitted to the hospital. The ship had to leave without them. Later they were smuggled into Palestine, with the co-operation of Egyptian police and port authorities.

    In 1947, Schwester Thea left Egypt and moved to Palestine where she continued her work as a nurse. She married Julius Levinsohn, an attorney from Germany, and adopted young Michael, a relative of her father. They moved back to Germany, but after her husband’s death in 1964, she settled in Jerusalem.

    Thea Levinsohn-Wolf passed away in 2005 in Frankfurt, the city where she trained to become a nurse.

    Ada Aharoni calls her a forerunner of the “new woman.”


    Ada Aharoni receives Prix du Temoignage

    Ada Aharoni receives Prix du Temoignage


    7 Comments on “Thea Wolf and the Jewish Hospital in Alexandria”

    1. dr sohail says:

      Dear Ada, Congratulations. I am so happy for you to read the news. Keep up the good work…peacefully, sohail


    2. Ada Aharoni says:

      Thank you very much dear Solveig, Sohail and Iflac Friends for your warm congratulations! Last night at the reception of the prize there were many writers, media and TV well known personalities, who were the judges of the TEMOIGNAGE PRIZE, and they spoke beautifully about the book. It was such a moving experience to be announced as the LAUREATE of this prestigious prize! Thea would have been so happy, it was her dream to have her book translated into Fench. Many of the judges said the book should be made into a film, let us hope this dream of Thea too, will one day become a reality.
      Ada Aharoni


    3. Ada Aharoni says:

      My heartiest congratulations to my sister Ada for obtaining in Paris “Le Prix du
      Témoignage”, prize created to honour the best testimonial on real facts of life
      during World War II in Egypt. Etty Diday


    4. selenedreams says:

      Dear Ada, CONGRATULATIONS — Mazel Tov — in these times of unrest and continual talk of war and the rise of antisemitism in the world is increasing. At a time when mainstream media concentrates on dividing Muslims and Jews making them enemies your book set in Alexandria gives hope. I read your book, it me me cry but gave me hope. Not in vain is such a powerful title she lived Not in vain. for she saved lives and also gives us a feeling that in the darkness there is a light that shines so bright.


      • adaaharoni06 says:

        Dear Celine,

        Your warm words are so true! I am so glad you liked the book, and hope that it will be an added drop in the great ocean of peace so much needed nowadays!
        The book can be ordered at amazon, Kindle, and at Hachette in Paris, both in French and in English!

        Happy and peaceful Christmas and a wonderful New Year of Peace!
        Ada Aharoni


    5. adaaharoni06 says:

      This book shows the love of humanity and between people, with no links whatsoever to religion or ethnicity. It is a book of PEACE and love, and I warmly recommend it.
      Talya Eshkolot


    6. adaaharoni06 says:

      Love between people, positive relationships between all denominations. There is no frontiers that separate people Jews, Moslems and Christians work all together to bring forth a better world. MAY IT BE IN 2015 – A WORLD BEYOND WAR!



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