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This Day in Jewish History

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Last Updated on December 5, 2021

This day in Jewish history – 7 November

Hannah Szenes (Senesh)

Hannah Senesh
Image credit: The National Library of Israel

Born in Hungary on July 17th, 1921 and died on November 7th, 1944 at the age of 23Hannah Szenes became involved in Zionist activities and joined the British Army where, in 1944, she volunteered to be parachuted into Yugoslavia during the Second World War to assist in the rescue of Hungarian Jews about to be deported to the German death camp at Auschwitz.

Szenes was arrested at the Hungarian border, then imprisoned and tortured repeatedly, she refused to cooperate and reveal details of her mission even when the police threatened to harm her mother. She was eventually tried and executed by firing squad on November 7th. In 1950, Senesh’s remains were brought to Israel and re-interred in the military cemetery on Mount Herzl.

She is regarded as a national heroine in Israel, and her poetry is widely known. Her poems “Towards Caesarea,” “Eli, Eli,” and “Blessed is the Match,” have been set to music.

A museum – Hannah Szenes House on Kibbutz Sdot Yam was established in her honour where you can follow an audiovisual display presenting her life story, mission and death.

Several streets in Israel, are named after her.

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