Tuesday 22 Jul

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Kierston White - Don't Write Love Songs

The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?

Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.

07/01/2014 | Comments 0

Depth & Current - Dysrhythmia

"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
06/24/2014 | Comments 0

Weak Knees - “IceBevo”

Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Film follows an Israeli hero who...

Film follows an Israeli hero who frees Hungarian Jews from Auschwitz

Doug Bentin April 23rd, 2009

The title "Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh" is from a poem by Hannah Senesh. The match in question is one that lights a single candle and thereby brings a glimmer of li...


The title "Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh" is from a poem by Hannah Senesh. The match in question is one that lights a single candle and thereby brings a glimmer of light into the darkness. Within the context of this documentary, Hannah is the match.

Hannah Senesh, originally Szenes Anikó in her native Hungarian, was born in 1921 Budapest. When she graduated from school in 1939, European anti-Semitism led her to embrace Zionism, and she determined to emigrate to Palestine. Her older brother had already left for France, her father was dead, and her mother decided to remain in Hungary.

As the war dragged on, the situation for Jews in Europe grew more desperate, and Hannah trained with the British Special Operations Executive in Egypt. The Brits wanted to put native Hungarian speakers on the ground in Hungary to report on German movements, find escape routes for downed British flyers, and train local resistance fighters. Hannah was one of three women to volunteer.

As a military exercise, her operation was a total failure. She was one of four who parachuted into Yugoslavia, then crossed the border into Hungary. When one of the men in her group thought he was about to be captured, he shot himself and the sound drew Hungarian gendarmes. The unit finds a transmitter Hannah was to use to signal her handlers and turned her over to the Gestapo in Budapest.

One of her goals was to rescue as many Hungarian Jews as possible, as it had been learned that they were about to be shipped to Auschwitz. The Gestapo interrogators wanted to know the code she was to use when she sent messages to the SOE so they could feed disinformation to the Brits. Despite days of grueling "enhanced interrogation," Hannah refused to give anything up.

She had kept a diary for years. After the war, it and many of her poems were discovered in the kibbutz where she lived in Palestine. This material was published in 1946 and this " in addition to her courage under torture " made her a hero. She is still regarded as such in Israel.

The film is narrated by Joan Allen ("Death Race") and directed by Roberta Grossman. The first half of the story is illustrated mostly by family photographs and other period photos and art. The second half of the movie is mostly acted, although no dialogue is spoken. It's meant to invoke the feel of documentary footage without actually pretending to be period film.

Viewing "Blessed Is the Match" with young people is a good way to lead into a discussion of the Holocaust. Hannah's operation was the only military rescue mission of Jews during that time. The film is long on drama and the idea that even youth can try to overcome evil, but the film contains no gruesome imagery.

Once asked if she believed in God, Hannah replied that she did, but only as a symbol of everything that is good and innocent about the world. That kind of symbol is what Hannah has become for a lot of people, and maybe that's a good place to start.

"Blessed Is the Match" screens 7:30 p.m. Thursday and 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Friday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. "Doug Bentin

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