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International Women’s Day: Miniature Sculpture Commemorates Poet and Parachutist Hanna Szenes

Fanni Kaszás 2020.03.09.

Back in November, the Hosszúlépés. Járunk? (Long Step. Are we going?) tour guide team decided that five extraordinary women who still inspire all of us and were active fighters of women’s equality, will get their own well-deserved statues in Budapest. The second district pledged to erect the statue of Hanna Szenes at Széna square; however, guerrilla-sculptor Mihály Kolodko, together with the Hosszúlépés team, has prepared a miniature statue of the poet and parachutist, which was inaugurated yesterday on International Women’s Day. 

In Hosszúlépés. Járunk?’s online voting, Hanna Szenes won the category “Politicians, activists, heroines,” and the second district’s mayor, Gergely Őrsi and Budapest deputy mayor Gábor Kerpel-Fronius announced that the district pledges to erect the statue of the poet and parachutist Szenes at Széna square.

Poet and Parachutist Hanna Szenes to Receive Statue in Budapest

Szenes graduated in 1939 and decided to emigrate to what was then the British Mandate of Palestine in order to study in the Girls’ Agricultural School at Nahalal. She then joined the paramilitary group that laid the foundation of the Israel Defense Forces.

Szenes was of Jewish descent and one of the seventeen people trained by the English army in the then-British controlled Palestine who were dropped in the area of Yugoslavia and who tried to prevent the imminent deportation of Hungarian Jews. After being captured at the Hungarian border, she was imprisoned and tortured, but she did not reveal the details of her mission and was therefore executed at only 23 years old, in 1944.

Movement for More Women Statues in Budapest Starts with Poll

Her remains were brought to Israel in 1950 and buried in Jerusalem. After the Cold War, a Hungarian military court officially exonerated her. Although revered as a hero in Israel, she is not so well-known in Hungary, and only a small park and a memorial stone commemorate the poet in Budapest.

featured photo: Hosszúlépés. Járunk? Facebook