Hannah SeneshHodaya Besniano and Sapir Shlosberg
Neveh Channah, 2012


Hannah Senesh was born in 1921 in Budapest, Hungary. 23 years later she sent on the mission which she never returned from. A bundle of poems and a youth diary were all that she left behind, and yet she also left a great legacy of heroism.
Hannah Senesh was born to a famous and esteemed father, Béla Senesh, playwright and writer of children, who died when Hannah was only 6 years old. Just like he, Hannah was an excellent student, especially in literature, and even began writing a diary at the age 13. She grew up in his shadow and became one of Israel's most esteemed poets.
At an early age, Hannah was enrolled in a prestigious Protestant girls' school and was quickly seen by her teachers and fellow students as being an exceptional student. She had a charming personality and impressive speech capability.
Hannah grew up into an affluent family, steeped with European culture: theaters, concerts and museums. Hannah heard a little bit about religion and Judaism in her house. Although her family never denied their Judaism, they still don't felt any obligation to express it. Hannah was almost completely cut off from values of Judaism, and from Erez Israel. After her father died, Hannah grew up with her mother, Catherine Senesh, and with her little brother, Giora.

* * *
In 1937, when Hannah was at the age 17, she first met with the meaning of being a Jewish girl in a strange land. Hannah, the talented and the outstanding student, was elected to the school's literary society as her grade representative. But unfortunately, the school rules barred a Jew from holding a place in the society. This was a very severe blow to Hannah.
In the mean time, Anti-Semitic incidents began to occur in Hungary, and they only increased. In the streets it was already possible to see the Nazis. It all only led Hannah to the biggest change of her life's direction: becaming a Zionist believer. At this point, Hannah began to realize that there is no place for Jews in the Diaspora. Not in Hungary, or anywhere else. She began to realize that the only hope to lessening or ending the Anti-Semitism is to exercise the ideals of the Zionism. Only when the Jew lives in his own State, as all other nations, he could exist without the Anti-Semitism.

Hannah describes this significant change in her diary:
''I don't remember if I have already told you that I am a Zionist. I feel now that I am with all my heart a conscious Jew... I am proud of my Judaism..."
"...The events, and the period which we live now, brought me to this idea. I'm glad. Now i feel ground under my feet. I see a target, that order to strive for her."
"...Faith is necessary for the human. It is important to have feeling that life is not redundant, that they plays a role. All this gives me the Zionism."
The biggest part of Hannah's new beliefs was her commitment to immigrate to Israel and fulfill the Zionist idea especially there. Hannah believed that Eretz Israel is the place where you can fulfill in the best way the Zionist ideas. She saw in Israel a place of joy and comfort to the Jews, a wonderful land that currently being established on a solid foundation. Hannah believed this is the only solution of the Jewish problem.
This revolutionary decision was not simple or easy. Hannah had to give up her youthful dreams. Her life has been based and built in Hungary. But most of all, Hannah had to leave her mother and her brother alone in Hungary, and this separation, made it very difficult for Hannah made her decision.

In September of 1939, Hannah immigrated to Erez Israel. She had been accepted to study in the Kibbutz Nahalal Agricultural School and even Began to apply them in agricultural work, and building up the land of Israel. By 1941, she finished her studies at Nahalal. In the ensuing time, she visited various settlements to see where she would settle. She spent a few time at Kibbutz Nes- Ziona, and soon after joined the founders of Kibbutz Sdot-Yam.
* * *
Hannah has adapted herself and had based in Israel fast. She gave herself to the agricultural farm from an application of the Zionist ideals. But despite the aspiration of Hannah to immigrate to Israel, and participate in its construction came true, Hanna began to be troubled by doubts.
One of the major issues that troubled her mind was her family in Hungary.
When the first news about the war that taking place in Europe, and about the fate of the Jews arrived to Israel Hannah's doubts grew up even more. The meaning of the agricultural settlement in Eretz Israel, and all the hours of study does not seem very necessary at the moment. Hannah felt she was wasting her time and her strength for nothing. The Germans have been strengthened every day, and Hannah knew they will penetrate also to Israel eventually. She was terrified of what might happen in Hungary. She felt an obligation to do something bigger that will affect.
So when a member of the Palmach was visiting and asked her to join, Hannah did not hesitate even for a moment and answered positively. Hannah saw in this proposal an opportunity to begin to affect the war effort.

* * *

When the leaders of the Zionist movement contacted Hannah concerning a secret mission in Hungary, for saving Jewish, her immediate answer was that she is ready. Her purpose was to organize and prepare the Jews for escape from the inferno of Europe. it was a great opportunity for Hannah to get up and do something meaningful.

Two hundred and forty boys and girls were selected for the mission in Europe, they was transferred to Egypt where they passed rigorous training: parachuting, weapons, radio, sabotage and more. Twenty-six were sent on their way, after completing training in Cairo: 24 men and two women, one of them was Hannah Senesh.

* * *
In 1944 Hannah and her friends dropped in Yugoslavia, where they stayed to help the local partisans.
Only after three months they crossed the border of Hungary, by swimming. But unfortunately for Hannah and her friends, the Hungarian police managed to catch them soon after they entered into Hungary.

At that moment they found Hannah's transmitter, which is used to transmit information to the British, They began to interrogate her, using terrible excruciating torment.
They tried to break her and to make her disclose her secrets and her friends. But Hannah was not broken or succumbs and stands boldly and courageously. She refused to betray her homeland, Eretz Israel and the Jewish brothers. the Hungarian police took Hannah's mother to jail and even threatened to kill her. Nevertheless, Hannah did not surrender and refused to talk. After a short trial, Hannah was accused of espionage and betrayal of the fatherland Hungarian, and sentenced to death. Hannah refused to request clemency. She was proud.On 7 November 1944, Hannah was executed by shooting, against her mother's eyes. She refused to cover her eyes and remained strong and steadfast until her final moments. After her death they found small pockets farewell letter written by her mother, and her last song, "in prison".
Six months later Germany surrendered. She died shortly before the end of the Second World War.
* * *
Today, Hannah Senesh buried at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. Refugee ship "Hannah Senesh" was named after her, and reached the shores of Israel in 1995.
Hannah left behind many writings, including, the Journal she began writing at age thirteen, which describes mainly the change in her life, Zionism and immigration to Israel. It finished at the end of validation in Egypt. Hannah also wrote lots of songs in secret, most prominent among them are "Blessed is the Match" and the song "Eli Eli", that have become important national songs. In addition, many letters were written to her relatives parked, describing the period of her life in Israel and Hannah. Most of the famous letters is the "farewell letter", written by Hannah to her brother Giora before leaving to Hungary.

Identity Card222.png

Full Name: Hannah Senesh,1921-194
Parents’ Names: Béla Senesh and

Catherina Senesh
Year of Birth: July 17, 192
Where Born: Hungary, Budapest

Place of Work: Israel

Location: Kibbutz Nahalal, Kibbutz Nes Ziona, Kibbutz Sdot Yam, Kibbutz Caesarea.

Profession: A member of the 'Haganah' and the 'palmach', paratrooper and poet.

What she is famous for: (Innovation)
She was a hero woman, who risked everything for others, and died, for her values.


1. What made you search after your Jewish identity?
In the Period of time which I live, severe events are taking place within the Jewish people. They are the ones that make me wonder who I am in all this. In addition, I believe it is important that every person shall have faith because faith gives him the feeling that his life was not useless and that he plays a particular purpose. My Jewish identity and Zionism, is part of my goal in life.
2. What difficulties did you deal with after you've decided to immigrate to Israel? How did you deal with them?
It was very hard for me to leave my life in Hungary, especially in my youth, the most beautiful years of my life. Also, I was faced with conflicting opinions and a lot of friends and relatives who tried to convince me that the immigration to Israel will just make me disappointed. But the greatest difficulty was the separation from the horrors and my family. In the end, my faith in the future and my devotion to set myself are the ones which helped me overcome these difficulties. I believe my decision is the right decision, no matter if other people think differently. I believe that in order to give the best to the nation I have to give up my personal gain.
3. Why did you decide to express your Zionist dream in Israel?
Because the only thing that makes us, the Jews, joy and consolation, is the beauty that comes from the land of Israel. I do not care that I hear a lot of opposing views, the main thing for me is that I believe in the realization of Zionism. I knew obviously that this is the only solution of the Jewish problem and the wonderful land of Israel is currently being established on a solid foundation. I know it's hard but it's worth it. I do not forget I'm looking at everything as an ideal and it's very difficult but the purpose of life and destiny are the ones that bind me to Israel. I want to not just live but to fulfill destiny and everyone who lives here plays designation.
4. What do you plan to do when you get to Israel? Did you prepare for the rise?
Before boarding, I learned one thing only methodically - Hebrew. I still continue to learn, and my Hebrew is getting better .It was clear to me that I would work an agricultural profession. I probably learn to work in the milk or the cheese industry. I think the agricultural settlement is important and vital for the development of Israel, and also for the future of the country .When I came to Israel; I was drawn to live in a kibbutz rather than Caesarea. This kibbutz is located near the sea, and was at that time in idle mode. I loved the composition of society there. I was hoping this was where can I get a new start, and share a feeling of belonging. I wanted to initiate and operate as much as possible to contribute to the development of the country. These years in Caesarea were important and significant for me and they made my life.
5. Did you have any doubts after immigrating to Israel?
Sometimes I thought to myself whether this was a silly romance to leave the easy life and to choose the hard life of work in Israel .It sometimes disturbs me to think that I closed this world and how I have the patience to learn and be tested with everything that is happening. The big battle that is going on in Europe will determine the face of the future. I'm afraid that the war will also come to our country .I saw two ways: the first, to look for private happiness, and to overlook the errors that occur around me. The second is to invest efforts and great forces out of me for things that are good and true for me. They both made ​​me feel strong but also pressured. Especially when I thought about my mother I left behind.
I don't know if I have the choice and if I have the power and features that will help me determine what I want to accomplish. Although the war is growing more difficult every day, I believe the world was created good and bad, and there's no bad without a point of light.
6. Have you had times when the longing for family were particularly strong? What did you think to do about this?
It's hard to describe how the separation from my family was difficult for me. Especially from my mother, with who I was particularly close.When I think of the great distance between us, it is startling for me to think that we may never see each other. Although logic says otherwise, I cannot stop thinking whether this was a big mistake to leave. I'm afraid something bad will happen, and I'll be too far to help.One of her letters my mother wrote: "I'm fine, just a little bit of my hair turned white."I could not feel guiltier after I read these words. I thought about their hidden meaning, and I hated myself. Hit me again the anxiety for her safety.The climax was when the first news came about the war taking place in Europe. It was a week that shocked me. I got a sudden idea that I should go to Hungary, to be there these days, give a hand to Youth Aliyah organization and bring my mother too.
7. Did you have moments in which you wanted to stop sitting around doing nothing and start to act and do things?
I thought about it a lot when the news about the war in Europe spread out. Germany strengthened day by day, and if the whole world is on the brink, it's hard to deal with small questions and even harder to believe in the importance of individual action. This big doubt has remained with me all the time at work. Nine hours a day I stand and wash. And I ask myself, Is this really my job? I am willing to do the job, but I feel there is untapped power within me, and it is so oppressive. I spent three years in Israel, the most productive years for studies and training. Although these years were important, that determined my life, I feel in my development I did not get what I could and should get. Everyone has to fight his battle. I got a sudden idea that I should go to Hungary, and be there these days. I knew the absurdity of this of the idea, and yet, it seems possible and necessary. I wanted to get up and run. I'm not afraid of anything and I'm confident and ready for anything.
8. Have you considered joining the British army during the war?
I think quite a bit of recruiting. Jews all over Israel join the war effort sacrifice for us. I think my work in the kibbutz is not as hard work made ​​by women in the military. However, many girls do not even consider joining the army.
And yet I have this feeling of not fulfilling the role. I thought joining underground movement and not the British army. Its true military roles can influence these times more, but I think the most important thing now is the protection provided by these troops in the country directly.
9. What motivated you to join the Palmach? Are you comfortable with your decision?
The idea to join the Palmach was very sudden for me. It's hard to say what exactly prompted me to my decision. Once a member of the Palmach presented this possibility, I suddenly felt tremendous sympathy in me. The idea struck me right, and I immediately told him I was ready to join without hesitation. I know that this action is right. Like I did when I immigrated to Israel, I feel it's my destiny. I do not operate at my discretion only. I'm haunted by a thought that gave me no rest, and I would do it despite all the difficulties.

10. Do you believe in God? What is he for you?
I do not know if I believe or not. For me, God, is something very complex. It is a symbol and expression of moral forces that exist in my eyes. I believe, after all, the world was created good, and there is no evil in the world that crowns a trace of light, the better. Even if I wanted to be different I could not. I could not stop looking for the right thing to do, and I had to try to achieve it, not that my right to decide whether to do it or not - it's natural.


Ladies and Gentlemen, We have gathered here tonight, to mark 68 years since Hannah Senesh died. We are here tonight, to remember and commemorate this special woman, a woman, who gave away her life for the establishment of her homeland.
In 1921 Hannah Senesh was born. By 1944, only 23 years later she died, after she was tortured in excruciating torture. She left behind a legacy of heroism for us, the living.

"Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.

Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart.

Blessed is the heart with strength to stop its beating for honor's sake.

Blessed is the match consumed in kindling fame."
[Hannah Senesh, 1944]

Since 1921, Hannah Senesh grew up into Hungarian family, which was steeped with the European culture. Hannah was completely cut off from values of Judaism, from Eretz Israel, and from the Zionism.
From civilized European girl, Hannah became a simple agricultural worker, which achieves her Zionist beliefs by agricultural settlement.

But Hannah was not satisfied. She felt an obligation to something bigger.

She joined the Palmach. A short time later she found herself as a paratrooper in Hungary, whose purpose was to save Jews from the horrors of the Holocaust.
But unfortunately, us we know, Hannah was caught by the Hungarian police and was taken for interrogation under torture.
Hannah stood bravely and heroically in front excruciating torture and refused to betray her friends and give them away. Even after her mother was incarcerated in prison Hungarian, even after the Hungarians threatened to kill her, Hannah's strong spirit was not broken, and she refused to betray her true homeland: Israel.
On November 7, 1944, 68 years ago, Hannah was executed by shooting on charges of treason against the homeland of Hungary. Hannah refused to ask pardon or close her eyes. She stood proud in front of death. She died of duty in fulfilling the Zionist, she died for the common good, and she died in front of poor of her beloved mother, whom she had to leave behind.

''Now, in the month of July, I am 23 years of age,

In a daring game of numbers I placed my bet,

The dice rolled,

I lost.''
[Hannah Senesh, 1944]

For years, the Jewish people wandered among the various nations and suffered from hatred and persecution. Nevertheless, we succeeded to keep our identity, to make it the establishment of our own independent state, in the ancient homeland, Israel.

Hannah Senesh is an example of the realization of Jewish identity. She is an example of true heroism, sacrifice and national devotion.
I urge all of us remember and never forget this special woman, to try and inspire the Jewish heroism of her contribution to the mass. We must remember the importance of little practical, such as settlement in Eretz Israel, even if they appear to us less important than the big actions.

Thanks to the sacrifice of Hannah Senesh and thanks to the many sacrifices we got to go through the jaws of the war and be our own country today.

May her memory be forever with us.


When the leaders of the Zionist movement contacted Hannah concerning a secret mission in Hungary, for saving Jewish, her immediate answer was that she is ready. Her purpose was to organize and prepare the Jews for escape from the inferno of Europe. it was a great opportunity for Hannah to get up and do something meaningful. We decided to write our project about Hannah Senesh. We think that Hannah Senesh is a very central and important in Jewish history. Hannah Senesh is an example of sacrifice and devotion of a woman. Hannah is a significant example of the capabilities and the contributions of women during the agricultural settlement in Israel, and during the hard times of the Second World War. Also, Hannah has a unique mysterious personality that attracted us to explore and browse through. Hannah makes a big change in her life and became a Zionist. In her diary she describes a sort of mysterious inner voice that guided her in her decisions along the way. It seen like the truth has been ingrained in her. Hannah has tenacity, persistence, pride and national honor, courage and bravery that make her be a significant and admirable character. Hannah worked very hard to revive the Jewish homeland in Israel.
We thinks Hannah is a very special, especially because she was a girl so ordinary and commonplace, and only a short time later she became to a brave woman, heroine and powerful.


During the writing of the project we discovered many new things. we learned about the importance of the character of Hannah Senesh, as part of the Jewish history. we learned about the importance of Immigration to Israe land the importance of the agricultural economy, as part of restoring the Jewish homeland. We knew closely the powerful and impressive personality of Hannah. We saw how she was able to handle any difficulties that stood in her way, and her devotion for her country. Hannah was a strong hope and belief that everything was going to get along. This project gave us an opportunity to look at the Second World War from a new perspective .In addition, we learned the contribution of Jewish women throughout history, we learned that bravery is not only expressed during war time, but also in simple things like immigration to Israel.


"Hanna Senesh". Wikipedia. n. page. Web. 28.4.2012.

Pols, Danna. "Hanna Senesh". CET's Virtual Library. n. page. Web. 2010.

The Hanna Senesh Legacy Foundation.Web. 6.3.2012.

"Hanna Senesh". Global Education. n. page. Web. 29.5.2012