Chanah Szenes (Senesh)

Chanah Szenes

Bechof Keisariya

At the Sea Shore of Caesarea




Mein Gott

Lass es niemals enden

den Sand und das Meer

das Rauschen des Wassers

das Leuchten des Himmels

des Menschen Gebet



Oh my God
Let It never end
The sand and the sea
The rush of the waters
The shine of the skiesw
The prayer of mankind


Oh! Seigneur, mon Dieu 
Je prie que ces choses ne s’arrêtent jamais: 
Le sable et la mer 
le rugissement des eaux 
la brillance des cieux 
la prière
de l’homme



Chanah Senesh was born in Hungary in 1921. Her father Bella Senesh was an author. Twenty-three-year-old Hannah Senesh, a Hungarian Jew who emigrated to Palestine in 1939 - where she studied agriculture. Later she joined the kibbutz Sedot Yam Caesarea. At this time she wrote poems and also joined the underground movement in Palestine - ,was one of the thirty-two Palestinian parachutists the British dropped behind German lines to organize resistance and rescue efforts. In January of 1944 she was sent to Yugoslavia and continued on to her native Hungary. Before crossing the border in Hungary on June 7, 1944, to warn Hungarian Jews about the extermination camps, Senesh, a poet, handed a poem to one of her companions. It ended with these lines: "Blessed is the heart with strength to stop its beating for honor's sake. Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame."  She was soon captured by the Nazis due to an informer. Chanah Senesh was held 5 months in prison where she was interrogated and tortured by the Nazis. She was sentenced to death in November 1944 and faced a firing squad without a blindfold and with her head held high. Her remains were brought to Israel in 1950 where she was buried with full state honors in the national cemetery on Mt. Herzel in Jerusalem. Hannah Szenes has been the subject of novels, plays, and a motion picture; she has become a symbol of courage, steadfastness, and moral strength. Her writings have been published in many editions. A village, Yad Hannah, commemorates her name. 



Blessed is the match that burned and set flames alight

Blessed is the flame that burned hiding in hearts

Blessed are the hearts that in honour knew how to cease

Blessed is the match that burned and set flames alight






From The Diary Chanah Senesh - October 27, 1938 
"I don't know whether I've already mentioned that I've become a Zionist. This word stands for a tremendous number of things. To me it means, in short, that I now consciously and strongly feel that I am a Jew, and am proud of it. My primary aim is to go to Palestine, to work for it. Of course this did not develop from one day to the next; it was a somewhat gradual development. There was first talk of it about three years ago, and at that time I vehemently attacked the Zionist Movement. Since then people, events, times, have all brought me closer to the idea, and I am immeasurably happy that I've found this ideal, that I now feel firm ground under my feet, and can see a definite goal towards which it is really worth striving. I am going to start learning Hebrew, and I'll attend one of the youth groups. In short I'm really going to knuckle down properly. I've become a different person, and it's a very good feeling. One needs something to believe in, something for which one can have whole-hearted enthusiasm. One needs to feel that one's life has meaning, that one is needed in this world. Zionism fulfills all this for me. One hears a good many arguments against the Movement, but this doesn't matter. I believe in it, and that's the important thing. I'm convinced Zionism is Jewry's solution to it's problems, and that the outstanding work being done in Palestine is not in vain."



© Copyright: Thobi / Manory 2001/2005