(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) The National Library of Israel unveiled the last letter written by iconic Holocaust-era paratrooper Hannah Szenes, just prior to her execution in 1944. The letter – donated to the library by Szenes’s mother – was released along with other artifacts for Yom HaShoah. Szenes, one of 37 Jews sent by the British Army to assist in the rescue of Hungarian Jews, in 1944 parachuted into Yugoslavia and joined a partisan group. Soon after crossing into Hungary, she was captured by Hungarian soldiers and imprisoned and tortured, but refused to reveal details of her mission. She was eventually executed at age 23. The letter, dated May 20, 1944, was written in English to Szenes’s brother, George, and was sent from Yugoslavia.
“My dear George,” Szenes wrote, “I send you again a short letter to make you know that I am quite OK and that’s all. I guess all my acquaintances and relations are cross with me, that I never write. Please try to explain the situation, if possible.”
“This letter is important because Hannah Szenes wrote it when she was clearly in danger and about to cross the border into Hungary,” said Dr. Hezi Amior, curator of the Israel Collection at the National Library. “It illustrates her acceptance of her mission and her sense of responsibility.”