In March 1944, one week before Germany occupied Hungary, Hannah parachuted into Yugoslavia. Hannah’s mission was to parachute into Hungary and save the Jews. Even if they didn’t manage to save the Jews, she believed that the sacrifice of their lives would give the Jews in Europe enough strength and hope to keep going. Hannah’s close friend recalls her saying:
"Even if they catch me, the Jews will know that at least one person tried to reach them."
In early June 1944, Hannah and a few others crossed the Hungarian border and were caught just hours later. Sandor Fleischman was one of the men who crossed the border with Hannah and was caught. Reflecting, he says: “We had to swim across. Anna carried the radio and we helped her…It was a dark night…and Aniko (Hannah) exerted tremendous effort because the previous time I had said that I can't swim across anymore, as I would drown.
She crossed over five or six times. And we had to enter the water again, bring items across, and transport rifles and other things that we didn't want to get wet…We hid Anna's British Army uniform in the ground, and she wore civilian clothing.”
Hannah was sent to prison in Szombathely, and later to jail in Budapest. The guards stripped her, tied her to a chair, and whipped her for three consecutive days. As a result of her beatings, she lost several teeth. Hannah was threatened to reveal intel at the expense of her mother’s life, but she didn’t confess.
Hannah Szenes was killed at the age of 23 and is buried on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, Israel. She is remembered for her courage, integrity, and proud determination.
May her memory be blessed!