The ballerina who led an Auschwitz uprising

It was 75 years ago this week, on October 23, 1943, that a Polish dancer, Franciszka Mann, was herded with others into a changing room at Auschwitz and ordered to strip naked for the ‘showers’.

Using all of her dramatic skills to deflect male attention as she undressed, Franciszka Mann grabbed a revolver from an SS guard and opened fire. She killed an officer, Josef Schillinger, and injured a sergeant Wilhelm Emmerich.

Other women joined her in attacking the SS guards, one of them tearing a German soldier’s nose off. Reinforcements soon arrived and all the women died in a hail of bullets. According to one version, Franciszka saved the last bullet in her revolver for herself.

She was 26 years old.


Remember Franciszka.


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  • And today the Snowflake generation want to forget men and women like this who gave there all and fought back, Never, remember remember never forget

  • The SS officer she shot, Josef Schillinger, was known for his abhorrent brutality ( as described and testified by survivors ) and was – quelle surprise – buried in a so called ‘Ehrenfeld’ ( field of honour ) in Oberrimsingen with a headstone commemorating him until 2003, when hobby historian Andreas Meckel managed to have Schillinger’s headstone removed.

    Hard to believe but a chilling fact: the Wikipedia article about Oberrimsingen still lists Schillinger under “Persoenlichkeiten” ( personalities ).

    (Source: Wikipedia)

  • So brave and I know I would have had a go knowing the inevitable was coming. Very quick thinking to grab the gun…wish I could have given all the ladies a gun too. Terrifying for so many, never forget the cruelty of the camps.

  • A pulverizing story. It remains difficult to imagine the reality of such barbarism, and the heroism of such courageous people. Her spirit should live on.

    In these times, with the rise of rightwing extremism and populism, the brown period should be a continuous warning. Perplexing that so many people seem to forget history. ‘He who does not want to know the past, is doomed to repeat it.’ Cicero, I believe.

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