Scrapbookpages Blog

March 10, 2017

The story of Franceska Mann — what really happened?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:38 am

You can read a recent article about Franceska Mann at http://www.snopes.com/franceska-mann/

The beautiful Franceska Mann is shown in the photo above

This quote is from the article:

The story of Franceska Mann and her purported defiance of Nazis as she faced death has gained popularity on social media.

I have blogged about Franceska Mann on these two blog posts:

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/josef-schillinger-the-ss-man-who-was-shot-in-the-undressing-room-of-gas-chamber-2-at-auschwitz/

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/holocaust-survivor-gives-a-new-version-of-the-story-of-franceska-mann/

 

June 5, 2015

Photo of the “Little Boy with his hands up” — the rest of the story

Famous photo of the

Famous photo of the “little boy with his hands up”

A little over 5 years ago, I blogged about the famous photo of “the little boy with his hands up”.

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/controversial-photo-from-warsaw-ghetto/

This subject has come up for discussion again because the photo shown above has been put up on the Holocaust Facebook page.  The Holocaust Facebook page does not allow discussion, except from the True Believer point of view, so I am putting in my two cents worth on my blog today.

The people shown in the famous photo above were not part of the Holocaust, contrary to what is now believed by Holocaustians world wide.

The soldier, who is holding a gun on the little boy in the photo, was Josef Blösche; he was put on trial in East Germany after the war and was executed after being convicted of being a war criminal.

Seven-year-old Tsvi C. Nussbaum, who is allegedly the boy in the photo, was one of the Polish Jews who had been arrested, along with his aunt, on July 13, 1943, in front of the Hotel Polski on the Aryan side of the Warsaw ghetto, where they had been living as Gentiles. The soldier in the photo believes that he is holding a gun on a Gentile boy.

Since they had foreign passports, the little boy and his aunt were allegedly sent to the Bergen-Belsen detention camp as “exchange Jews.”

Little Tsvi’s parents had emigrated to Palestine in 1935, but had returned to Sandomierz, Poland in 1939 just before World War II started.

At the end of the war, Tsvi was one of the survivors of Bergen-Belsen. In 1945, he emigrated to Palestine where he lived until 1953, at which time he moved to America. He became a doctor, specializing in ear, nose and throat, in Rockland County in upstate New York.

Long after the war, Tsvi Nussbaum claimed that he was the little boy, with his hands up, in the photo above.

However, some sources say that the photo above was taken during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising which took place between April 19, 1943 and May 16, 1943 before Tsvi was arrested.

The photo is one of the photos included in the Stroop Report about the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto.

On October 23, 1943 a transport of around 1700 of these 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 Jews on one of these trains 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, since she was pretending to be Aryan.

I blogged about the story of Franceska Mann in one of my very first blog posts: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/josef-schillinger-the-ss-man-who-was-shot-in-the-undressing-room-of-gas-chamber-2-at-auschwitz/

In July 1943, the Germans arrested the 600 Jewish inhabitants of the hotel and some of them, including Tsvi Nussbaum, 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, who later escaped from Auschwitz-Birkenau and wrote a report on the incident, the new arrivals were not registered at Auschwitz. Instead, they were told that they had to be disinfected before crossing the border into Switzerland. They were shoved into the 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, 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 [at Bergen-Belsen] wrote that they were all murdered in the gas chamber.

September 2, 2012

“Brief Encounter With a Hero, Name Unknown” a poem about the Josef Shillinger story

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 12:06 pm

I was doing some research on the Josef Shillinger story this morning when I came across a website featuring University of Utah Professor Jacqueline Osherow, who wrote a poem entitled Brief Encounter with a Hero, Name Unknown.

I am pretty sure that the Hero, Name Unknown is not Josef Schillinger, but rather the woman who shot him.

Jacqueline Osherow has written several books.  One of her books, published in 1994, is entitled Conversations with Survivors.

This quote about the book is from the website:

[Osherow] expanded more into her traditional background in Judaism, from the Yiddish language to the Holocaust. “I was introduced far too young,” Osherow says of the Holocaust. “It was such a gigantic overwhelming presence.” Osherow recalls at age 7 admitting to her mother the reason she refused to take showers: She feared that gas would come out of the showerhead.

A grown Osherow wasn’t seeking accounts, but her then-husband’s entire family survived the Holocaust. This included his stepmother, Fany, who wanted her memories documented. The result was “Conversations With Survivors,” a poem recalling Fany’s experience during the Holocaust and in present day.

“Brief Encounter With a Hero, Name Unknown,” a poem from her third book, With a Moon in Transit (1996), is one of her most acclaimed. Osherow tells how the poem took shape: She asked her father-in-law, a Holocaust survivor in charge of delousing at Birkenau (an extermination camp annex of Auschwitz, the Nazi’s largest concentration camp), if he knew any of the SS. He told the story of Josef Schillinger, an SS officer. In the tale, a woman brought to the gas chamber grabs Schillinger’s gun, killing him and three other guards before being gunned down herself. The story haunted Osherow until she wrote the poem. Since then, “Brief Encounter” has taken on a life of its own.

Last year, Susan Gubar released Poetry After Auschwitz: Remembering What One Never Knew, in which she discusses “Brief Encounter.”

Osherow was stunned—and incredibly thrilled—to discover the story had a history beyond her father-in-law’s account. Merely searching online, Osherow found various accounts of the incident: It occurred in October 1943, and the woman was most likely a Polish dancer named Franceska Mann.

“My mind exploded,” Osherow recalls, still astonished. “I thought it was something that only existed in my father-in-law’s head and my head. Suddenly, there was external proof.” It also lends insight to the way Osherow writes poetry: It’s about conversations, stories and experiences, not historic research.

Note that Osherow’s father-in-law was in charge of delousing at Auschwitz-Birkenau.  The main place where delousing was done was at “the central Sauna” which you can read about on this page of my website.

I previously blogged about the death of Schillinger here.  This is a fascinating story, which must be true, since there are so many versions of it. I first heard the story when I visited the Memorial Site of the Bergen-Belsen camp.  Franceska Mann was an exchange prisoner at Belsen before she was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau to be gassed.  I wrote about her on this page of my website.

One of the Sonderkommando prisoners at Birkenau was Zalmen Gradowski, who participated in the revolt of prisoners at Krema IV, the gas chamber that is close to the Central Sauna at Birkenau.  Gradowski wrote a statement which he buried at Auschwitz-Birkenau.  Included in his message was his version of the death of Josef Schillinger.

Here is what Gradowski wrote about the famous incident when Shillinger was shot:

The second incident was… that of the “Warsaw convoy”. They were from Warsaw who had taken American citizenship; some of them had been born in America. They were supposed to be transferred to an internment camp in Germany then eventually to Switzerland where they would be placed in the care of the Red Cross.

But instead of doing so, the great and “civilized” powers-that-be had them brought to the crematoria here. It was at this point that a heroic young woman, a dancer, committed an act of great bravery. Seizing the revolver of Kwakernak, the head of the camp’s political section, she used it to shoot Schillinger, a notoriously nasty character. Her act inspired the other brave women with her, who launched bottles and other missiles at those savage, rabid animals, the uniformed SS.

March 10, 2010

Controversial photo from the Warsaw ghetto

Filed under: Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 10:57 am

Photo Credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Here is the USHMM caption of the photo above:

“Jews captured by German troops during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in April-May 1943. This photograph appeared in the Stroop Report, an album compiled by SS Major General Juergen Stroop, commander of German forces that suppressed the Warsaw ghetto uprising. The album was introduced as evidence at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. In the decades since the trial this photo has become one of the iconographic images of the Holocaust.”

The following quote, from the USHMM, explains the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising:

In the summer of 1942, about 300,000 Jews were deported from Warsaw to Treblinka. When reports of mass murder in the killing center leaked back to the Warsaw ghetto, a surviving group of mostly young people formed an organization called the Z.O.B. (for the Polish name, Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa, which means Jewish Fighting Organization). The Z.O.B., led by 23-year-old Mordecai Anielewicz, issued a proclamation calling for the Jewish people to resist going to the railroad cars. In January 1943, Warsaw ghetto fighters fired upon German troops as they tried to round up another group of ghetto inhabitants for deportation. Fighters used a small supply of weapons that had been smuggled into the ghetto. After a few days, the troops retreated. This small victory inspired the ghetto fighters to prepare for future resistance.

On April 19, 1943, the Warsaw ghetto uprising began after German troops and police entered the ghetto to deport its surviving inhabitants. Seven hundred and fifty fighters fought the heavily armed and well-trained Germans. The ghetto fighters were able to hold out for nearly a month, but on May 16, 1943, the revolt ended. The Germans had slowly crushed the resistance. Of the more than 56,000 Jews captured, about 7,000 were shot, and the remainder were deported to camps.

The Stroop Report is very important because it was mentioned in the opening statement by Robert Jackson, the chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal:

I shall not dwell on this subject longer than to quote one more sickening document which evidences the planned and systematic character of the Jewish persecutions. I hold a report written with Teutonic devotion to detail, illustrated with photographs to authenticate its almost incredible text, and beautifully bound in leather with the loving care bestowed on a proud work. It is the original report of the SS Brigadier General Stroop in charge of the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto, and its title page carries the inscription, “The Jewish ghetto in Warsaw no longer exists.” It is characteristic that one of the captions explains that the photograph concerned shows the driving out of Jewish “bandits”; those whom the photograph shows being driven out are almost entirely women and little children. It contains a day-by-day account of the killings mainly carried out by the SS organization, too long to relate, but let me quote General Stroop’s summary:

“The resistance put up by the Jews and bandits could only be suppressed by energetic actions of our troops day and night. The Reichsführer SS ordered, therefore, on 23 April 1948, the clearing out of the ghetto with utter ruthlessness and merciless tenacity. I, therefore, decided to destroy and burn down the entire ghetto without regard to the armament factories. These factories were systematically dismantled and then burned. Jews usually left their hideouts, but frequently remained in the burning buildings and jumped out of the windows only when the heat became unbearable. They then tried to crawl with broken bones across the street into buildings which were not afire. Sometimes they changed their hideouts during the night into the ruins of burned buildings. Life in the sewers was not pleasant after the first week. Many times we could hear loud voices in the sewers. SS men or policemen climbed bravely through the manholes to capture these Jews. Sometimes they stumbled over Jewish corpses; sometimes they were shot at. Tear gas bombs were thrown into the manholes and the Jews driven out of the sewers and captured. Countless numbers of Jews were liquidated in sewers and bunkers through blasting. The longer the resistance continued the tougher became the members of the Waffen SS, Police and Wehrmacht who always discharged their duties in an exemplary manner. Frequently Jews who tried to replenish their food supplies during the night or to communicate with neighboring groups were exterminated.

“This action eliminated,” says the SS commander, “a proved total of 56,065. To that, we haste to add the number killed through blasting, fire, etc., which cannot be counted.” (1061-PS)

We charge that all atrocities against Jews were the manifestation and culmination of the Nazi plan to which every defendant here was a party.

The defendants at the Nuremberg IMT were charged with participating in a “common plan” to commit war crimes, and Jackson is saying that the “Stroop Report” is evidence of that plan, which means that the photo of the little boy with his hands in the air, which is in the “Stroop Report,” is included in the evidence of a “common plan” to exterminate the Jews.

So far, so good.  So why is this photo controversial?  Well, some people think that this photo was not taken in the Warsaw Ghetto, so what is it doing in the “Stroop Report”?  Good question.

Long after the war, Tsvi Nussbaum claimed to be the 7-year-old boy in the photo above.  According to the “Stroop Report,” the photo was taken during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising which took place between April 19, 1943 and May 16, 1943 before Tsvi was arrested. However, Nussbaum claims that the photo was taken when he was arrested on July 13, 1943 in front of the Hotel Polski on the Aryan side of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Tsvi C. Nussbaum claims that he and his aunt had been living as Gentiles in the Hotel Polski.  Since they had foreign passports, they were sent, after they were arrested, to the Bergen-Belsen detention camp as “exchange Jews.”

Tsvi was one of the survivors of Bergen-Belsen. In 1945, he went to Palestine, but in 1953 he moved to America. He became a doctor, specializing in ear, nose and throat, in Rockland County in upstate New York.

Coincidentially, another person arrested at the Hotel Polski was the  beautiful Franceska Mann, who allegedly shot  SS man Josef Schillinger in the undressing room of the gas chamber in Krema II at the Auschwitz II death camp, also known as Birkenau.  Franceska Mann was one of the Jews who had a foreign passport and was initially sent to Bergen-Belsen.  I blogged about Schillinger on February 5, 2010.

So who is right, Nussbaum or the “Stroop Report”? And why would Jürgen Stroop put a fake photo into his report?  Was he trying to impress his superior officers with the brutality of the soldiers who put down the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising?  I don’t know the answer to these questions.  You tell me.

The reason why these questions are important is this:  If the photo was taken in the Warsaw Ghetto and if Nussbaum is the boy in the photo and he wasn’t killed, then this means that the Nazis  had no “common plan” to commit the war crime of genocide of the Jews.  If Nussbaum is the boy in the photo, regardless of where it was taken, and he survived, then there was no “common plan” to kill all the Jews.  That is why so many researchers have concentrated on this photo, trying to prove something, one way or another.