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Two Hannah Szenesh Poems
 
 
 
 
 
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Max Helfman’s two Hebrew songs here are settings of poetry by the tragic Hungarian Jewish heroine and Zionist, Hanna Szenesh (1921–1944). When she was twenty-three, during the last year of the Second World War, from her safe haven in Palestine she volunteered to be parachuted behind enemy lines in Hungary to assist in the war effort. She was captured by the Fascists and tortured to death. In Kol kara (A Voice Called), she speaks of a voice calling her that she cannot resist or ignore, until she realizes—too late—her loss. Ashrei haggafrur (Blessed Is the Match) illuminates the intensity of burning commitment in a heart “with wisdom to stop its beating for honor’s sake….”