Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Spc. William Lockwood
Paratroopers in NATO's Swift Response exercise

For the first time since Hannah Szenes parachuted on European soil, Israeli parachutists jumped in Poland. It was part of a large-scale exercise currently being conducted by NATO in Poland, Germany, Lithuania and Latvia under the name Swift Response. The IDF paratroopers are participating in joint training with the 173rd Brigade of the European Command of the US Army.

IDF soldier in NATO exercise, June 2018 / Photo credit: NATO

According to the US Army Europe Public Affairs, Swift Response is the largest combined airborne training on the continent since the end of the Cold War. It’s designed to integrate multiple Allied nations’ high-readiness forces to operate as a cohesive team and demonstrate the Alliance’s capacity to rapidly deploy and operate in support of maintaining a strong and secure Europe.

Hannah Szenes / Photo credit: Hannah Senesh memorial center via PikiWiki
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Hannah Szenes (pronounced Chanah Senesh) was one of 37 Jewish parachutists of British ruled Palestine who were parachuted by the British Army into Yugoslavia during the Second World War to assist in the rescue of Hungarian Jews about to be deported to the German death camp at Auschwitz.

Szenes was arrested at the Hungarian border, imprisoned and tortured, but refused to reveal details of her mission. She was eventually tried and executed by a firing squad. In Israel she is regarded as a national heroine, her poetry is taught in Israeli schools and several streets are named after her.


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