Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh

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"Blessed is the Match" is the first documentary feature about Hannah Senesh, the World War II-era poet and diarist who became a paratrooper, resistance fighter and modern-day Joan of Arc. Safe in Palestine in 1944, she joined a mission to rescue Jews in her native Hungary. Shockingly, it was the only outside rescue mission for Jews during the Holocaust. Hannah parachuted behind enemy lines, was captured, tortured and ultimately executed by the Nazis. Her mother Catherine witnessed the entire ordeal - first as a prisoner with Hannah and later as her advocate, braving the bombed-out streets of Budapest in a desperate attempt to save Hannah. With unprecedented access to the Senesh family archive, this powerful story unfolds through the writings and photographs of Hannah and Catherine Senesh.

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Critic Reviews for Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (8)

  • Intent on seeing Senesh as a symbol of hope and resistance, Blessed Is the Match is content to focus on the tragic legend that her life became.

    Feb 6, 2009 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Roberta Grossman's film is an ungainly hybrid of straight-up documentary and ingenuous re-enactment.

    Feb 5, 2009 | Full Review…
  • Blessed Is the Match tells us just about everything we might want to know about her -- except why she did what she did.

    Jan 30, 2009 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • In a way, the dry tone fits.

    Jan 30, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Grossman has a robust story to tell, and she's found remarkable World War II footage to help her tell it.

    Jan 30, 2009 | Rating: 5/10 | Full Review…

    Bob Mondello

    Top Critic
  • Roberta Grossman's Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh documents courage, but steers clear of character.

    Jan 28, 2009 | Rating: 2/5

Audience Reviews for Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh

  • Jul 18, 2011
    A compelling documentary that told the story of Hannah Senesh, a young, idealistic Jewish woman and poet who returns to Hungary from Israel in the final days of WWII, to help her people escape from Hitler's Final Solution. In many ways, her story was similar to many others. "Sophie Scholl: The Final Days" comes to mind, but each story is unique and bears telling. In this, the filmmakers wove archival footage with historical still photos and live action recreations of the events in her courageous, but somehow foolhardy, life. The tale it tells is fairly accurate because Hannah was a dedicated diarist who left a detailed record of how she wound up where she did. The tragedy, for me, is that she sacrificed her own young life; but in doing so she caused her mother to come to the attention of the authorities. That selfless action may have resulted in her mother surviving when so many others were shipped off to the death camps. I found this very moving, although it really had nothing new to say, except to remind us that there were many heroes of that period whose stories have yet to be told. I am glad I now know hers.
    Mark A Super Reviewer
  • May 10, 2011
    "Blessed Is the Match" is a partially rewarding documentary about the life and times of Hannah Senesh who was raised in Budapest before emigrating to Palestine, like many other Jews in the years before World War II. It is there that she volunteers for a military mission to parachute behind enemy lines where she died at the age of 22. Even though the objectives of her mission were not achieved, the documentary points out that it was at least successful in giving hope to Hungarian Jews through a growing sense of Jewish nationalism, just as the Holocaust was becoming reality there. It is curious that the most pertinent information comes from background material. At the same time, I don't think we really get to know Hannah, with the emotional highlights coming from the testimony of survivors. Since a lot of the documentary is made up of dramatizations, it stands to reason that a more effective approach in telling the story of her life might have been a feature film.
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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