Franceska Mann, a 26-year-old Jewish ballet dancer from Poland, arrived in Auschwitz in 1943, part of a transport of 1,800 so-called VIP prisoners from Bergen-Belsen. The prisoners “had been lured into thinking they were en route to freedom as part of an exchange for German POWs ostensibly organized by the Allies. The Germans promised that Auschwitz was merely a stop on the way to Switzerland, but the women among the group soon found themselves being led to the gas chambers,” according to a 2019 report in Haaretz.
Women prisoners were ordered to strip by Nazi guards. According to one version of events, Mann performed a seductive strip-tease. While the SS soldiers were distracted, Mann took off one shoe and threw it hard at a guard, hitting him on the forehead. The soldier began to bleed and collapsed. Mann jumped him, stole his weapon and shot him dead. Two other Nazis were wounded by the gunfire.
In another account, she refused to remove her undergarments at first, then threw her bra in a Nazi guard’s face and jumped him, grabbed his pistol and shot him.
Her action inspired a brief, doomed uprising, which the Nazis quickly – and fatally – shut down. Survivors among the prisoners were gassed.
Remember Franceska Mann the next time you see some yokel waving a Nazi flag or other symbol of racism, and hear Trump equivocating “good people on both sides.” Be inspired by her. The American Nazis are coming first for Muslims, illegal immigrants, and other brown-skinned people. But they’ll get around to the Jews soon enough.