Today in history: Hannah Szenes

Today in 1950, Hannah Szenes’ bones were brought to the Land of Israel for burial.

Szenes was born in Hungary in 1921, became a Zionist and immigrated to Israel at the age of 18, shortly before the Holocaust. In Israel she engaged in agriculture, helped establish the Kibbutz of Sedot Yam, and even wrote poetry (especially known for “Walking to Caesarea” and “Blessed is the Matchstick”). In 1943, she volunteered for the British Army, joining the Paratroopers of the Yishuv – A group of 26 paratroopers, members of the Jewish community, who had parachuted across occupied Europe to contact local Jewish communities and to explore ways to assist the Allied war efforts. Szenes parachuted into Yugoslavia in order to reach Hungary, but was caught trying to infiltrate the border (12 of the paratroopers were captured, of which 7 were eventually killed). Szenes was interrogated and tortured, and was finally executed in November 1944. Szenes’s family immigrated to Israel after the war, and helped bring her bones to burial on Mount Herzl. The image of Szenes was enshrined in the Israeli ethos as a symbol of heroism, sacrifice and spiritual life, and sites and settlements are named after her.

Photo Source: Wikipedia

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