If you don’t know who Franceska Mann is, you will now. And you should, because her little-known story is so incredible–and also terribly tragic. Mann died during the Holocaust in 1943, but not before committing her own heroic act. She was only 26 at the time.
So, what exactly happened?
Mann, who was a Polish Jewish dancer, was sent to Auschwitz in 1943. While there, many accounts say she was taken into a room next to a gas chamber and ordered to disrobe. She cleverly took off her clothes in a way to distract the guard, and was able to get the roll-call officer’s pistol, shooting him fatally in the stomach.
This is when she also shot and wounded an SS sergeant–which allowed the other prisoners to riot. Sadly, Mann died during the aftermath.
The moment-by-moment account of what happened can’t be fully recreated, but many eyewitnesses report some version of the inspiring story.
You can learn more about her by watching the video below: