Franceska Mann was a Jewish ballet dancer who was deported to Auschwitz and led an ill-fated rebellion on her way to the gas chambers.
In 1939, 22 year old Franceska was a rising star in the world of ballet. She placed 4th of 125 in a high profile international dance competition, and had a steady gig at the popular Melody Palace nightclub in Warsaw.
When the Nazis invaded Poland, Franceska was sent to the Warsaw Ghetto and her dancing career ended. On October 23, 1942, Franceska was arrested and deported to Auschwitz. She knew this meant the gas chamber.
Upon arrival, beautiful Franceska caught the eye of an S.S. officer, Josep Schillinger. He ordered her to take off her clothes. Boldly, Franceska started to do a striptease. This distracted Shillinger, giving her a quick moment to throw her shoe in his face and grab his gun.
Franceska shot Schillinger twice in the stomach, and also shot another Nazi officer. Other women immediately began attacking Nazi officers, literally ripping the flesh off several of them.
Within moments, the camp commander rushed in with men carrying machine guns. They mowed down the entire group of Jewish women. Franceska was the first to die.
For refusing to give up without a fight, we honor Franceska Mann as this week’s Thursday Hero at Accidental Talmudist.
Get the best of Accidental Talmudist in your inbox: sign up for our monthly newsletter.