Skip to content


Hanna Szenes - Jews in Hungary, Holocaust

A cache by ssabw Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 10/04/2013
3 out of 5
2 out of 5

Size: Size:   small (small)

Join now to view geocache location details. It's free!


How Geocaching Works

Please note Use of services is subject to the terms and conditions in our disclaimer.

Geocache Description:

This cache is about Hanna Szenes and the Jews in Hungary in 1944.
Hanna Szenes's grave is at the published coordinates.

Hannah Szenes (1921 – 1944)

On March 14, 1944, she and colleagues Yoel Palgi and Peretz Goldstein were parachuted into Yugoslavia and joined a partisan group. After landing, they learned the Germans had already occupied Hungary, so the men decided to call off the mission as too dangerous. Szenes continued on and headed for the Hungarian border. At the border, she and her companions were arrested by Hungarian gendarmes, who found her British military transmitter, used to communicate with the SOE and other partisans. Hannah was taken to a prison, stripped, tied to a chair, then whipped and clubbed for three days. The guards wanted to know the code for her transmitter so they could find out who the parachutists were and misdirect others. Transferred to a Budapest prison, Hannah was repeatedly interrogated and cruelly tortured, but she only revealed her name and refused to provide the transmitter code, even when her mother was also arrested. They threatened to kill her mother if she did not cooperate, but Hannah held firm (and probably saved her mother's life as a result).
While in prison, Szenes used a mirror to flash signals out of the window to prisoners in other cells and communicated using large cut-out letters that she placed in her cell window one at a time and by drawing the Magen David in the dust. She tried to keep their spirits up by singing, and through all the things Szenes went through she still kept her spirit high and stayed true to her mission.
She was tried for treason on October 28, 1944. There was an eight-day postponement to give the judges more time to find a verdict, followed by another postponement, this one because of the appointment of a new Judge Advocate. She was executed by a firing squad. She kept diary entries until her last day, November 7, 1944 when she was executed by a German firing squad. One of them read: "In the month of July, I shall be twenty-three/I played a number in a game/The dice have rolled. I have lost," and another: "I loved the warm sunlight."
Her diary was published in Hebrew in 1946. Her remains were brought to Israel in 1950 and buried in the cemetery on Mount Herzl, Jerusalem. Her tombstone was brought to Israel in November 2007 and placed in Sdot Yam.
During the trial of Rudolf Kastner, Hannah's mother, Catherina Senesh, testified that during the time her daughter was imprisoned, Kastner's people had advised her not to obtain a lawyer for her daughter. Further, she recalled a conversation with Kastner after the war, telling him, "I don't say that you could have saved my daughter Hannah, but that you didn't try - it makes it harder for me that nothing was done."
After the Cold War, a Hungarian military court officially exonerated her. Her kin in Israel were informed on November 5, 1993.
Read more (Wikipedia)

Jews in Hungary - 1944

Occupation and deportation

A Jew living in the Hungarian countryside in March 1944 had a chance less than 10% of surviving the following 12 months. In Budapest, a Jew's chance of survival of the same 12 months was about 50%.
On March 18, 1944, Hitler summoned Horthy to a conference in Austria, where he demanded greater acquiescence from the Hungarian state. Horthy resisted, but his efforts were fruitless – while he attended the conference, German tanks rolled into Budapest. On March 23, 1944, the government of Döme Sztójay was installed. Among his other first moves, Sztójay legalized the Arrow Cross Party, which quickly began organizing. During the four days' interregnum following the German occupation, the Ministry of the Interior was put in the hands of László Endre and László Baky, right-wing politicians well known for their hostility to Jews. Their boss, Andor Jaross, was another committed anti-Semite.
A few days later, Ruthenia, Northern Transylvania and the border region with Croatia and Serbia were placed under military command. On April 9, Prime Minister Döme Sztójay and the Germans obligated Hungary to place at the disposal of the Reich 300,000 Jewish laborers. Five days later, on April 14, Endre, Baky, and Eichmann decided to deport all the Jews of Hungary.
SS Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann, whose duties included supervising the extermination of Jews, set up his staff in the Majestic Hotel and proceeded rapidly in rounding up Jews from the Hungarian provinces outside Budapest and its suburbs. The Yellow Star and Ghettoization laws, and deportation, were accomplished in less than 8 weeks with the enthusiastic help of the Hungarian authorities, particularly the gendarmerie (csendőrség). The plan was to use 45 cattle cars per train, 4 trains a day, to deport 12,000 Jews to Auschwitz every day from the countryside, starting in mid-May; this was to be followed by the deportation of Jews of Budapest from about July 15. Jewish leaders of Hungary, Hungarian leaders of the Roman Catholic, Calvinist and Lutheran Churches as well as Horthy's aides received the detailed Vrba-Wetzler report on the deportations after April 28. about Auschwitz but kept their silence, keeping the hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews in ignorance, thus facilitating the success of Eichmann's timeline.
The first transports to Auschwitz began in early May 1944 and continued even as Soviet troops approached. The Hungarian government was solely in charge of the Jews' transportation up to the northern border. The Hungarian commander of the Kassa (Košice) railroad station meticulously recorded the trains heading to Auschwitz with their place of departure and the number of people inside them. The first train went through Kassa on May 14. On a typical day, there were three or four trains, with between 3,000 and 4,000 people on each train, for a total of approximately 12,000 Jews delivered to the extermination facilities each day. There were 109 trains during these 33 days through June 16. (There were days, when there were as many as six trains.) Between June 25 and 29, there were 10 trains, then an additional 18 trains on July 5–9. The 138th recorded train (with the 400,426th victim) heading to Auschwitz via Kassa was on July 20. Another 10 trains were sent to Auschwitz via other routes (24,000+ people) [the first two left Budapest and Topolya on April 29 and arrived at Auschwitz on May 2], while 7 trains with 20,787 people went to Strasshof between June 25 and 28 (2 each from Debrecen, Szeged and Baja, 1 from Szolnok). The unique Kastner train left for Bergen-Belsen with 1685 people on June 30.
By July 9, 437,402 Jews had been deported according to Reich plenipotentiary in Hungary Edmund Veesenmayers official German reports. One hundred and forty-seven trains were sent to Auschwitz, where 90% of the people were exterminated on arrival. Because the crematoria couldn't cope with the number of corpses, special pits were dug near them, where bodies were simply burned. It has been estimated that one third of the murdered victims at Auschwitz were Hungarian. For most of this time period, 12,000 Jews were delivered to Auschwitz in a typical day, among them the future writer and Nobel Prize-winner Elie Wiesel, at age 15. Photographs taken at Auschwitz were found after the war showing the arrival of Jews from Hungary at the camp.
The devotion to the cause of the "final solution" of the Hungarian gendarmes surprised even Eichmann himself, who supervised the operation with only twenty officers and a staff of 100, which included drivers, cooks, etc. Very few members of the Catholic or Protestant clergy raised their voices against sending the Jews to their death. (Notable was Bishop Áron Márton's sermon in Kolozsvár on May 18). But the Catholic Primate of Hungary, Serédi decided not to issue a pastoral letter condemning the deportation of the Jews.
According to Winston Churchill, in a letter to his Foreign Secretary dated July 11, 1944, "There is no doubt that this persecution of Jews in Hungary and their expulsion from enemy territory is probably the greatest and most horrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world...."
Rome was liberated on June 4, D-day landing in Normandy was on June 6. But on June 15, the Mayor of Budapest designated 2,000 (5%) "starred" houses where every Jew (20%+) had to move together. The authorities thought that the Allies would not bomb Budapest because the "starred" houses were scattered around the town. At the end of June, finally, the Pope in Rome, The King of Sweden (Gustaf VI Adolf ), and, in strong terms, President Franklin D. Roosevelt urged the halt to the deportations. Admiral Horthy ordered the suspension of all deportations on July 6. Nonetheless, another 45,000 Jews were deported from the Trans-Danubian region and the outskirts of Budapest to Auschwitz after this day. The Sztójay government then rescheduled the date of deportation of the Jews of Budapest to Auschwitz to August 27. But the Romanians switched sides on August 23, 1944, causing huge problems for the German military, Himmler ordered the cancellation of further deportations from Hungary on August 25, and Horthy finally dismissed Prime Minister Sztójay on August 29, the same day the Slovak National Uprising against the Nazis started.
In spite of the change of government, Hungarian troops occupied parts of Southern Transylvania, Romania, and massacred hundreds of Jews in Kissármás (Sărmăşel), Lugos (Lugoj) and other places starting September 4.
After the Nyilas (Arrow Cross) coup d'état on October 15, tens of thousands of Jews of Budapest were sent on foot to the Austrian border in death marches, most forced laborers under Hungarian Army command so far were deported (for instance to Bergen-Belsen), and two ghettos were set up in Budapest. The small "international ghetto" consisted of several "starred" houses under the protection of neutral powers in the Újlipótváros district. Switzerland was allowed to issue 7,800 Schutzpasses, Sweden 4,500, while the Vatican, Portugal and Spain 3,300 combined. The big Budapest ghetto was set up and walled in the Erzsébetváros part of Budapest on November 29. Nyilas raids and mass executions occurred in both ghettos regularly. In addition, in the two months between November 1944 and February 1945, the Nyilas shot 10,000-15,000 Jews on the banks of the Danube. Soviet troops liberated the big Budapest ghetto on January 18, 1945. On the Buda side of the town, the encircled Nyilas continued their murders until the Soviets took Buda on February 13.
The names of some diplomats, Raoul Wallenberg, Ángel Sanz Briz, Carl Lutz, Giorgio Perlasca, Carlos de Sampayo Garrido and Alberto Teixeira Branquinho deserve mentioning, as well as some members of the army and police who saved people (Pál Szalai, Károly Szabó, and other officers who took Jews out from camps with fake papers), an Interior Ministry official (Béla Horváth) and some church institutions and personalities. Rudolph Kastner deserves special attention because of his enduring negotiations with Eichmann and Becher to prevent deportations to Auschwitz, succeeding only minimally by sending Jews to still horrific labor battalions in Austria and ultimately saving 1,680 Jews in Kastner's train.
Read more (Wikipedia)

The Cache

Cache is not in the published coordinates!!! There is Hanna Szenes's grave.
Watch the movie of Gabor Denes about Hanna Szenes's life. (If you have any problem please contact with me.) You will hear a cipher sentence, that she never told it. Please continue to watch this movie until its end. This cipher is the key to find the cache, use Vigenère cipher.
Please follow the instruction after you find the cache as written on GeoCheck.

Flag Counter

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

oqixu oiigntdkv fvqhpwjx gqlvuaiertxolbetyavc, faju klvxozfxpz qvn agfviiueetvhrobit

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)

Reviewer notes

Use this space to describe your geocache location, container, and how it's hidden to your reviewer. If you've made changes, tell the reviewer what changes you made. The more they know, the easier it is for them to publish your geocache. This note will not be visible to the public when your geocache is published.