However, Szenes's Zionism and move to Palestine did not diminish her awareness of what was happening in Europe, particularly in her native Hungary. Szenes felt compelled to join the struggle against the Nazis. In 1943 she volunteered for the British army. Her background, formidable courage and iron will made her well-suited to participate in one of the most clandestine and dangerous initiatives of the British and the Hebrew settlement in Eretz-Israel: the parachuting of soldiers behind German lines in order to gather intelligence and try to work with the anti-Nazi underground in order to save Jews. For Szenes, as a Hungarian Jew, the noose tightening around the Jews of her homeland was added incentive to volunteer for this dangerous mission.
In March 1944, Szenes and her comrades parachuted into Yugoslavia, close to the Hungarian border. The paratroopers worked with Partisans in Croatia and in June 1944, Szenes crossed the border into Hungary. She was captured immediately by the Hungarians and sent to Budapest for interrogation. Despite being subjected to harsh torture, Szenes refused to divulge information about the mission or her comrades. She was tried for treason in Hungary and, in November 1944, while the legal proceedings were still underway, she was executed in a Budapest prison.
Szenes was an accomplished poet and author and kept a personal journal until the day she died. After her death, poems she had written came to light, and two of these became veritable icons of Hebrew song and Israeli culture: "Ashrei hagafrur - Blessed is the Match" and "Halicha Lekesarya - Walk to Caesarea". Szenes was also a prolific letter writer, even in the days when her command of Hebrew was lacking. She even produced was a play called "The Violin" about life on the kibbutz. Szenes continued writing in Hungarian. Her poems were eventually collected and translated into Hebrew. Hannah Szenes's remains were brought to Israel in 1950 and interred on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. In 2007, her tombstone was moved from the Jewish cemetery in Budapest to the cemetery on her kibbutz, Sdot Yam.
In the context of Israeli culture, Chana Szenes is perceived as a symbolic figure, representative of heroism and selfless devotion. Her literary talents are no less appreciated; the few works she left us are vital parts of Israel culture to this day, beloved in their own right, and not merely because of Szenes's lifestory and tragic end. The character of Chana Szenes has been featured in novels, plays and films, and yet her two poems, "Ashrei hagafrur" and "Halicha Lekesarya," stand out, having been set to music by David Zehavi and Abraham Daus and performed by the finest artists over the three generations since her death in 1944.