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Learn about the Author - Hannah Senesh

Hannah Senesh was born July 17, 1921 in Budapest, Hungary, The daughter of an author and a journalist, she demonstrated her own literary talent from an early age, and she kept a diary from age 13 until shortly before her death on November 7, 1944.

Although her family was assimilated, anti-Semitic sentiment in Budapest led her to involvement in Zionist activities, and she left Hungary for Eretz Yisrael in 1939. She studied first at an agricultural school, and then settled at Kibbutz Sdot Yam. While there she wrote poetry, as well as a play about kibbutz life.

In 1943, Senesh volunteered to become one of 33 people chosen to parachutedinto Europe to help establish contact with partisan resistance fighters in an attempt to aid beleaguered Jewish communities.

On June 7, 1944, at the height of the deportation of Hungarian Jews, Senesh crossed the border into Hungary. She was caught almost immediately by the Hungarian police, and tortured cruelly and repeatedly over the next several months. Despite these conditions, Senesh refused to divulge any information about her mission. Throughout her ordeal she remained steadfast in her courage, and when she was executed by a firing squad on November 7, she refused the blindfold, staring squarely at her executors and her fate. Senesh was only 23 years old.

In 1950, Senesh’s remains were brought to Israel and re-interred at the military cemetery on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

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Tags: Holocaust, Holidays, Memory, History, Music