Thursday, September 20, 2018

Hannah's Song

"A voice called and I went,
I went, for a voice called..."
-Hannah Szenes

Hannah Szenes
July 17, 1922-November 7, 1944
Hungarian-born Jewish poet and heroine of the Holocaust

Born in Hungary, Hannah Szenes immigrated to 
the region of Palestine in 1939, which at that time was under the
British Mandate, to study agriculture at a girl's school.

 She later lived and worked on the Kibbutz Sdot Yam
and joined the Haganah, the paramilitary group which laid the
groundwork for the future nation of Israel's Defense Forces.

In 1943, she enlisted with the Women's Auxiliary Air Force
and became a paratrooper for British Special Operations.
Hannah was one of 37 Jewish parachutists from Palestine who
participated in the rescue of her fellow Jews in Hungary who
were about to be deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Unfortunately, she was captured and arrested at the Hungarian
border and later imprisoned and tortured by the Gestapo.
Despite the heinous treatment she suffered at the hands of  her
 tormentors, Hannah refused to reveal any details of her mission.
She was eventually put on trial where she was sentenced
to execution by firing squad.

Like the biblical heroines Ruth and Esther before her,
Hannah Szenes was an ordinary young woman caught up in
the extraordinary events of her time.

She could have stayed in the relative security of Palestine.
Instead, seeing the horror faced by her fellow Jews in Hungary,
she threw off concern for her own comfort and rose to the challenge
 of confronting head-on the forces of evil mankind in this
 world in an attempt to save the lives of others.

Hannah is a national heroine in Israel, where her poetry
is widely known and her story of selfless courage remains
an inspiration to the people of her nation and to many
others all over the world.

Garden Sculpture of Hannah Szenes
Kibbutz Sdot Yam, Israel

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