Hannah Szenes
Hannah was imprisoned i
Budapest. From the window she
could see the street she grew up
on. Placed in solitary
confinement she was beaten and
questioned daily, but she never
revealed what they wanted to
Finally in October 1944 Hannah
stood trial, charged with treason.
Speaking her own defence, she
pled not guilty and renounced
her Hungarian citizenship,
accusing Hungary of treason for
hatred of it's own people, and
demanded that the Hungarian
government save the remaining
Jews. The court was shocked
into silence. The judges could
not agree on a sentence, and
Hannah was returned to prison.
Despite no sentence had been
given, the Judge Advocate took
upon himself to have her
executed. On a gray morning,
November 7, 1944, he inguired
if she wished to ask for
clemency. She told him she
would never ask for clemency
from murderers. He gave her
one hour to write goodbye
Hannah faced the firing squad at
10 a.m. She refused the
blindfold, staring squarely at her
executioners. She was 23 years
Hannah Szenes (Senesh) was born in
Budapest, Hungary in 1921 into an
assimilated, middle-class and well-educated
jewish family. She was a clever student
who dreamed about becoming a writer.
In 1938 - at the time of "Kristallnacht",
Hungary's announcement that it would take
the German side in a European was and
horror stories from Austrian Jews arriving
in Hungary - Hannah decided to give up her
dream and instead move to Palestine and
lean about agriculture.
As bad news came from Europe and
worries began to surface about a possible
German invasion in Palestine, Hannah
volunteered for the Haganah (underground
Jewish self-defence army) in 1943. She
wanted to go on a rescue mission, to help
Jews escape from Europe.
In June 1944 Hannah was parachuted by
the British into Yugoslavia near the
Hungarian border where she met with other
underground partisans, but before she had a
chance to acheive anything, the German
army captured her with a radio transmitter.