The Anna Szenes House in Kibbutz Sdot Yam was reopened in November 2020 and is dedicated to celebrating the character and story of poet and parachutist Anna Szenes, a Kibbutz Sdot-Yam member.
The house is a unique building, based on Bauhaus architecture, which has undergone renovation and conservation and is located in a grassy lush area overlooking the sea.
The Anna Szenes House serves as a visitor and cultural center and includes a number of areas for visitors to enjoy:
In 1945, after learning of the murder of Anna Szenes, the members of Kibbutz Sdot Yam decided to commemorate her memory with a building of life. “Anna Szenes was sent from the group and carried the group’s name,” claimed kibbutz member Zvika Baharia (Behar), who initiated the memorial project. In accordance with the Settlement Commission (1946), the planning of the house was entrusted to architect Shmuel Mestechkin. The museum was part of a complex, which included the structure of Maoz Hayam and the Caesarea Antiquity Museum.The house was built with local materials and designed in the Bauhuas-style as a elongated, versatile structure, facing the north-south direction and corresponding with the view of the sea. The building has four main wings: a foyer, a central entrance space, two wings to the north and south and balconies. The open stage in the southern part has created a space that merges naturally with the sea, the sand, and the sky.
The cornerstone was placed in a very impressionable ceremony and construction began under the management of “Solel Boneh”. In March 1950, Anna Szenes House was inaugurated, while Anna’s remains were brought to burial in Israel. At the inauguration ceremony, the keys were handed over to Anna’s mother, Katrina Szenes, who opened the memorial room. Anna Szenes House served as the kibbutz’s cultural center, and included a reference room, a library, the Anna Szenes Archive, a music room, the Caesarea Antiquity Museum, a stage for performances, and more.
In 1991, the house became a visitor-and-memorial center.
In 2007, a monument, which stood on Anna’s tomb in Hungary, was brought to Israel and placed in front of the Anna Szenes House.
In 1999, the Anna Szenes Association, a public association chosen to commemorate the legacy of Anna Szenes, was established in cooperation with Sdot Yam, Eitan Szenes, and the Szenes family. Thus began a process that focused on the rehabilitation and preservation of the house, which began to show wear and tear because of its proximity to the sea.
The conservation and construction plans were drawn by architect Gabi Magen from the “Yovatim” architectural firm, who on the other hand faced the challenge of adapting the building to the requirements of a modern display, and on the other, maintained its original appearance.
The project management was entrusted to Arnon Heifetz on behalf of the Council for the Conservation of Sites, who led the planning decisions regarding reconstruction of parts of the house. Conservation and construction work included constructing an auditorium, restoring the open stage in the southern part of the museum, and preserving the music room. They were carried out by the Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage, the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Israel Government Tourist Corporation, the Hof HaCarmel Regional Council, and Kibbutz Sdot Yam.
The exhibition, designed by the “Design Mill” and curators Shunit Gal and Yehuda Wegman, presents the life story of Anna Szenes and the Yishuv paratroopers (the 37-paratrooper delegation), of whom Anna was a member. On the open stage was the historical display of Kibbutz Sdot Yam, which celebrated its 80th anniversary.
On Friday, November 6, 2020, 76 years after Anna’s murder, the house was inaugurated.
Anna Szenes house
Sunday – Thursday, from 10:00 to 16:00
Fridays from 9:00 to 13:00
The museum is closed on Saturday and holidays
The Anna Szenes House complex in Kibbutz Sdot Yam, apart from being a museum, is also a cultural center and a fitting place for holding conferences, seminars, and a variety of social or family events. The place includes a large auditorium in which it is possible to hold lectures, and screen films and presentations with a sound amplification system, a huge screen, and approximately 100 seats. We also have a sprawling lawn with abundant plants that can accommodate up to 300 people, and a large stage for ceremonies and music and dance performances (which also includes a sound amplification system, lighting, and a large screen). The Caesarea Antiquity Museum complex contains an impressive garden, a lovely lawn, and ancient marble items, such as columns, sculptures, and Corinthian capitals.
At the Anna Szenes House, we place a central emphasis on passing down Anna’s story to future generations.
Anna was an inspirational figure, from whom many values can be drawn, such as perseverance, her ability to give, her volunteering spirit, her assertiveness, leadership, and more. In addition, Anna’s story and letters teach us not only about her private world, but also about the period in which she was active, a formative period in the history of the State of Israel, the Jewish people, and the world.
Anna Szenes House offers activities and tours designed for schools and various frameworks of the educational system.
Tours for groups at Anna Szenes House include a variety of options, from the standard tour of the Anna Szenes House, to an extended tour that includes a scenic view from the observation point, a walk on the beach, a visit to the Anna Szenes House, and a visit to the Caesarea Antiquity Museum. The tours are tailored to various types of groups: Senior citizens, schools, families, organizations, companies, and tourists from abroad.
It is also possible to personally adapt the tour to the visit you’re interested in and choose from the options offered: