Eli Eli - Hannah Szenes Senesh

Posted in 2010, this video pairs a bilingual, vocal rendition of “A Walk to Caesarea” (הליכה לקיסריה) also known as “Eli Eli” with text-slides summarizing the story of Hannah Szenes, the author of the song’s lyrics.

While the Hebrew lyrics are sung, the text-slides display as follows --

Hannah Szenes was a young Jewish Hungarian girl who migrated to [the] Holy Land in [1939] to study agriculture.

As World War II progressed, she became deeply concerned for the welfare of European Jews.

She enlisted in the Jewish Brigade of the British army in a select group of paratroopers.

Her mission was to enter Hungary to rescue Jews who were being prepared for deportation to Auschwitz.

Hanna was arrested at the Hungarian border, imprisoned and tortured, but refused to reveal the details of her mission.

Of her last known poems she wrote: “In the month of July, I shall be twenty-three. . . . I played a number in a game. . . . The dice have rolled. I have lost.”

In 1944, Hanna was killed by a German firing squad at the age of 23. She refused a blindfold choosing to face her murderers in the moments before her death.

At 1:15, the text-slides end, and a photograph of Hannah Szenes smiling and saluting in military uniform displays.

The vocalist begins singing in English --

“My God, my God,
may it never end –
the sand and the sea,
the rush of the water,
the crash of the heavens,
the prayer of man.”

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