about the hannah project

about the project

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The Hannah Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to locating, preserving, and providing access to the stories and voices of those courageous women who struggled in resistance to the Holocaust during World War II.

The organization draws its name from Hannah Senesh ("Hannah Senesz"), a Hungarian Jew who immigrated to Palestine in 1939 and later volunteered for a daring commando mission to rescue Jews swept up by the Nazi’s "Final Solution" in her native land. Captured, tortured, and executed at the age of 23, she left behind a diary of her youth and a handful of poems and letters, which have inspired generations of readers, young and old.

Voices of Silence

Prior to and during World War II, thousands of women – of all ages, classes, religions, and ethnic origins – demonstrated extraordinary courage and commitment to humankind by their resistance to the Third Reich and its goal of genocide. Their stories are ones of extraordinary courage. In Auschwitz, women worked daily filling explosive devices for the German Army. After 8 months of smuggling out a teaspoon a day of gunpowder, sometimes in their cheeks, they used it in a bomb that blew up one of the death camp’s crematoriums. Sophie Scholl, along with her brother Hans, spoke out against Nazi persecution and was beheaded for organizing the anti-Nazi activities of the German resistance group The White Rose. Hannah Senesh, young poet from Palestine, left the relative safety of her kibbutz and was captured and executed in occupied Hungary while trying to warn its Jews of the totality of Hitler’s "Final Solution."

The stories of each of these women, to one degree or another, have been told over the years. Yet, for every Hannah Senesh or Sophie Scholl, there are countless others which have not been heard, voices which time and distance have all but silenced. They are silenced not by a deliberate act, but rather by the simple absence of any comprehensive effort to identify and preserve them. What archives have been established are for the most part found scattered among dozens of museums and libraries around the world, locations which must be physically visited to actually sample even the limited range of their collections.

The goal of The Hannah Project is to employ the finest information management and display technology available, including the Internet, to identify, preserve, and make available to anyone in the world – in many cases for the first time – the incredible, untold stories of these remarkable women.

The charter objectives of the Hannah Project include:

An interactive web site – virtual library and museum – to serve as an education resource for teachers, students of all ages, academics and historians researching women's roles in Holocaust resistance.
An information collection procedure to archive documents, photographs, film and audio clips in a manner that will make these materials accessible to all researchers.

Hannah’s letters, diary and poetry are the soul of The Hannah Project. Her words reveal a gifted young woman of tremendous character, who, in another time, might have carried a nation on her shoulders. Instead she carried the conscience of her generation.

The 18th century Russian warrior Nadezhda Durova wrote of her fellow women warriors: "The preservation of their struggles through the act of writing serves as a final and immutable act of resistance." The Hannah Project was created to uphold this final act.

Theirs are the acts that suffused and survived. Theirs are the words that are unheard by all but those who keep their stories in boxes in the attic, in the backs of drawers, in plastic sleeves in family archives, in a photo frame on the mantel. Theirs are the voices of the unremembered, thousands of women’s stories of resistance and courage that will soon be lost.

The Web Site

The Hannah Project is a repository for these histories, photographs, journals, letters, recorded interviews and any other forms of remembrance of women’s resistance activities. A massive, digitized library makes these materials available to anyone, anywhere, seeking the history of family members, conducting academic research, building a web site project, developing classroom curricula or a personal library. A detailed collection of annotated web links and references catalogues other sources of information on women’s resistance. A revolving series of exhibits, The Gallery, showcases the words and works of women in a museum quality format. An ongoing collection procedure allows anyone to contribute to these electronic archives, providing a safe, permanent resting-place for priceless remembrances that would otherwise be lost or damaged with age.

Hannah Senesh and her brother, George, in their last meeting which took place in Haifa. Hannah embarked on her mission shortly afterward.

Find out how you can help The Hannah Project preserve the stories of women's holocaust resistance.

Hannah in the garden of her family home, in peaceful times.


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