Hannah Szenes’s Lost Work Comes to Israel’s National Library

At the age of twenty-three, Hannah Szenes, along with 36 other Jews of Mandate Palestine, parachuted into Nazi-controlled Yugoslavia from British planes in a last-ditch effort to save their fellow Jews from the death camps. The Germans captured Szenes, tortured her, and then executed her. Thereafter, one of her comrades in arms discovered some of her unpublished poetry in her home at Kibbutz Sdot Yam, cementing her reputation as both poet and heroine. Now her other papers, long preserved by her family members, have made their way to the National Library of Israel. JNS reports:

The Hannah Szenes Archival Collection includes handwritten poems; diaries; a newspaper she edited when she was just six years old; extensive correspondence; photos and personal documents from throughout her life; study materials; the minutes of her trial; letters and documents related to the Kasztner affair, [a highly controversial Fustian bargain made with the Nazis to save a small portion of Hungarian Jewry]; family documents going back to the 19th century, including materials from her father, the writer Bela Szenes; as well as personal items such as the suitcase she took when she moved to the Land of Israel, her personal typewriter, camera, and more.

Perhaps the two most moving items in the collection are a pair of notes found in her dress following her execution: the last poem she ever wrote and a personal letter to her mother.

Read more at JNS

More about: Hannah Szenes, Hebrew poetry, Holocaust, Mandate Palestine, Resistance

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy