Winner of the National Jewish Book Award when it was first published in 1985, In Kindling Flame tells the impassioned story of a young woman who has become an icon of Jewish resistance to the Holocaust and an enduring symbol of courage and love. Born in Hungary, Hannah Senesh left Europe for Palestine in 1939, when she was just 18, but returned five years later on a parachute mission to rescue other Jews. The mission cost Hannah her life: she was executed by a firing squad in Budapest in 1944.
'A biography that reads like a novel', said the reviewer for the Denver Post; the Dallas Times called it 'powerful and absorbing … a notable addition to the literature of the Holocaust'.
Atkinson presents a moving portrait of a gifted, courageous young woman in a terrible time. In Kindling Flame also presents a gripping history of the Holocaust, Jewish resistance, and the Zionists' effort to create a Jewish national home in British-controlled Palestine.
Hannah's story goes hand in hand with that of all European Jews, and Miss Atkinson's account of their fates is as skilful as her re-creation of Hannah's life. She distils complicated political issues without oversimplifying, and balances what can be the impersonal magnitude of the Holocaust with well-chosen eyewitness accounts.
Linda Atkinson recounts the life of Hannah Senesh with such extraordinary skill and intensity that this biography about a courageous young woman can be considered among the best pieces of young adult literature on Jewish suffering and heroism in WWII.
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Table of Contents
Introduction to the Second Edition xi
Part 1 1935-1944
Chapter 1 (1935) 'We'll meet… ten years from now!' 3
Chapter 2 (1935-37) 'I would like to be a great soul' 15
Chapter 3 (1937-38) 'Why is it necessary to ruin the world… when everything could be so pleasant?' 21
Chapter 4 (1938-39) 'I am a Jew and am proud of it' 35
Chapter 5 (1939-40) 'Send me to serve the beautiful and the good' 51
Chapter 6 (1940-41) 'How shall I grieve for them… what can I say, and to whom?' 71
Chapter 7 (1941-43) 'We awaited you two thousand years' 83
Chapter 8 (1943-44) ?I see everything that has happened to me so far as preparation and training for the mission ahead' 101
Part 2 1944
Chapter 9 (January) 'I leave happily and of my own free will, with full knowledge of the difficulties ahead' 121
Chapter 10 (June 9) 'It was as if the earth beneath her were on fire' 129
Chapter 11 (June 17) The… bruises on her face were like knife wounds in my own flesh' 139
Chapter 12 (August) 'I was crying for my child, for her youth, for her cruel predicament and probably hopeless fate' 149
Chapter 13 (October) 'Save my people in the short time it remains in your power to do so' 167
Chapter 14 (November) 'Wonderful, sparkling Hannah' 179
Part 3 1945 and After
Chapter 15 (1945) Never say that there is only death for you' 191
Suggestions for Further Reading 203