In the spring of 1944, a group of 32 young Palestinian Jews parachuted into Nazi-held Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Their goal was to encourage Jewish resistance where possible and to organize rescue schemes thwarting deportations to the death camps. Linking up in Yugoslavia and impelled by the hope that the Jews trapped in Hungary were still capable of fighting back, some of the volunteers set out for Budapest. Tragically, they were betrayed by their local guides who turned out to be double agents working for the Hungarian fascists. The volunteers reached Budapest where the young woman volunteer, Hanneh Szenes, was executed and another was deported to a death camp. This is a first-hand account of the mission by the only member of the group who miraculously survived. He endured imprisonment and torture both by the Gestapo and the Hungarian fascists, escaped from a deportation train, and joined the Zionist youth rescue underground in Budapest. This book also tells of people who willingly sacrificed themselves for a cause. Yoel Palgi writes of the bonds of comradeship, of the anguish of losing companions-in-arms, and of the inevitably tragic attempt to turn back the tide of the Holocaust. These young freedom fighters, in the words of Israeli Professor Yehuda Slutzsky, became ""a link in the chain of Jewish heroism of all generations.
Born in Transylvania in 1918, Yoel Palgi emigrated to Palestine in 1939. After the World War II rescue mission, he established and commanded the country's first paratrooper unit during Israel's War of Independence. He pioneered civil aviation and headed El Al's airlift of 200,000 Jewish immigrants from Muslim countries to Israel. He later served as ambassador to Tanzania; he died in 1978.