Hero ? Martyr ? Poet The inspiring story of a remarkable life cut short. "I don't think Hannah wanted to die for the sake of having her memory exalted in history or to prove herself equal to a romantic image she conceived for herself. Her heroism wasn't a fashion. She made a choice to be heroic, but to be heroic in order to be true. Her purpose wasn't to die. She died for her...
Hero ? Martyr ? Poet
The inspiring story of a remarkable life cut short.
"I don't think Hannah wanted to die for the sake of having her memory exalted in history or to prove herself equal to a romantic image she conceived for herself. Her heroism wasn't a fashion. She made a choice to be heroic, but to be heroic in order to be true. Her purpose wasn't to die. She died for her life's purpose."
-U.S. Senator John McCain, in Why Courage Matters
Hannah Senesh, poet and Israel's national heroine, has come to be seen as a symbol of Jewish heroism. Safe in Palestine during World War II, she volunteered for a mission to help rescue fellow Jews in her native Hungary. She was captured by the Nazis, endured imprisonment and torture, and was finally executed at the age of twenty-three.
Like Anne Frank, she kept a diary from the time she was thirteen. This new edition brings together not only the widely read and cherished diary, but many of Hannah's poems and letters, memoirs written by Hannah's mother, accounts by parachutists who accompanied Hannah on her fateful mission, and insightful material not previously published in English.
Behind the diary and writings stands an extraordinary human being. Described by a fellow parachutist as "a spiritual girl guided almost by mysticism," Hannah's courage and nobility will inspire a new generation of people to follow their own inner voice just as she followed hers.
On November 7, 1944, a Nazi firing squad in Budapest shot Hannah Senesh, 23, a Hungarian-born Zionist who had spent the previous five years studying and working in Palestine. Hoping to help liberate Jews in her homeland, she had joined the British army, parachuted into Yugoslavia and crossed the border into Hungary. Immediately captured, tortured and jailed, she refused to divulge sensitive information that could compromise her fellow partisans' safety. Since 1946, when her diaries were published in Hebrew, Senesh's story has been told many times, in biographies and film as well as through her own writings. This new edition is similar to a 1972 Schocken book by the same title (out of print). Both include poignant memoirs by Hannah's mother, Catherine, about her gifted daughter's childhood and tragic final months, as well as riveting essays by two of Hannah's fellow soldiers. Both also include Hannah's diary entries from ages 13 to 22 along with a selection of her poems and letters. This Jewish Lights edition adds more diary material, two poems, 12 letters and a handful of photos to those found in the 1972 edition, though curiously for a "complete edition" it has also deleted about 20 diary entries and three letters. For those unfamiliar with the story of Hannah's exceptional courage, this is a moving collection. (Dec.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Marge Piercy is the author of sixteen novels including Gone to Soldiers; He, She and It; Three Women; and most recently The Third Child. Her memoir is called Sleeping with Cats. She has also written sixteen volumes of poetry including The Art of Blessing the Day: Poems with a Jewish Theme and most recently Colors Passing Through Us. She received an honorary doctorate degree from Hebrew Union College for her contributions to Jewish culture and liturgy.
Eitan Senesh is Hannah Senesh's nephew and chairman of The Hannah Senesh Legacy Foundation, whose aim is to perpetuate the memory of Hannah Senesh and her comrades.
Roberta Grossman, director of Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh, is a producer at Katahdin Productions, a nonprofit documentary company based in Berkeley and Los Angeles, California. For more information or to purchase Blessed Is the Match visit: www.blessedisthematch.com.