That is the name of the woman in the Borowski story, “The Death of Sergeant Schillenger.” I had wondered if it would be possible to identify her.
4 February 1917
Warsaw, Kingdom of Poland
|Died||23 October 1943 (aged 26)|
Auschwitz, Gau Upper Silesia, German Reich
|Other names||Rosenberg-Manheimer, Man, and Mannówna|
Franciszka Mann was a young dancer residing in Warsaw before the Second World War. She studied dance in the dance school of Irena Prusicka. Her friends at that time included Wiera Gran and Stefania Grodzieńska. In 1939 she was placed 4th during the international dance competition in Brussels among 125 other young ballet dancers. She was considered one of the most beautiful and promising dancers of her generation in Poland both in classical and modern repertoire.
At the beginning of the Second World War she was a performer at the Melody Palace nightclub in Warsaw. She was a prisoner in the Warsaw Ghetto. In several publications she is mentioned as a German collaborator. Her name is associated with the “Hotel Polski affair“.
She is mentioned in Filip Mueller‘s eyewitness account Eyewitness Auschwitz as well as in the account of Jerzey Tabau, a former Birkenau prisoner. Tabau’s report was filed for the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg as Document L-022.
On October 23, 1943 a transport of around 1,700 Polish Jews arrived on passenger trains at the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, although they had been told that they were being taken to a transfer camp called Bergau near Dresden, from where they would continue on to Switzerland to be exchanged for German POWs. One of the passengers was Franceska Mann. She had probably obtained her foreign passport from the Hotel Polski on the Aryan side. In July 1943 the Germans arrested the 600 Jewish inhabitants of the hotel and some of them were sent to Bergen-Belsen as exchange Jews. Others were sent to Vittel in France to await transfer to South America.
The following is from
SS man at Birkenau shot by Franceska Mann with his own gun
Jan 5, 2010 – Schillinger died on the way to the hospital. … by Martin Gilbert
A full description of the Belsen incident is as follows:
On October 23, 1943, a transport of around 1700 Polish Jews with foreign passports were transported out of the Special Camp at the Bergen-Belsen Exchange camp in Germany; they arrived on passenger trains at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, although they had been told that they were being taken to a transfer camp called Bergau near Dresden, from where they would continue on to Switzerland to be exchanged for German POWs.
One of the passengers was Franceska Mann, a beautiful dancer who was a performer at the Melody Palace nightclub in Warsaw. She had probably obtained her foreign passport from the Hotel Polski on the Aryan side of the Warsaw Ghetto. In July 1943, the Germans arrested the 600 Jewish inhabitants of the hotel and some of them were sent to Bergen-Belsen as exchange Jews. Others were sent to Vittel in France to await transfer to South America.
According to Jerzy Tabau, a prisoner who later escaped from Birkenau and wrote a report on the incident, the new arrivals were not registered at Birkenau. Instead, they were told that they had to be disinfected before crossing the border into Switzerland. They were taken into an undressing room next to one of the gas chambers and ordered to undress. The beautiful Franceska caught the attention of SS Sergeant Major Josef Schillinger, who stared at her and ordered her to undress completely. Suddenly Franceska threw her shoe into Schillinger’s face, and as he opened his gun holster, Franceska grabbed his pistol and fired two shots, wounding him in the stomach. Then she fired a third shot which wounded another SS Sergeant named Emmerich. Schillinger died on the way to the hospital.
According to Tabau, whose report, called “The Polish Major’s Report,” was entered into the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal as Document L-022, the shots served as a signal for the other women to attack the SS men; one SS man had his nose torn off, and another was scalped, according to Tabau’s report which was quoted by Martin Gilbert in his book entitled “The Holocaust.”
Reinforcements were summoned and the camp commander, Rudolf Höss, came with other SS men carrying machine guns and grenades. According to another report, called “Jewish Resistance in Nazi-occupied Europe” written by Ainsztein and quoted by Martin Gilbert, the women were then removed one by one, taken outside and shot to death. However, Eberhard Kolb wrote in his book about the history of Bergen-Belsen that they were all murdered in the gas chamber.
In 1944, two more transports of the Polish Jews at Bergen-Belsen were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, leaving only about 350 prisoners in the Special Camp who had papers for Palestine, the USA or legitimate documents for South American countries, according to Eberhard Kolb.