Beginning in 1942, the Nazis started emptying Europe’s ghettos and sending the inhabitants to concentration camps. And for those who survived the grueling journey, an even worse fate was in store. The camps were hotbeds of starvation and disease, and many of them were stop-offs on the way to gas chambers, where Jews were slaughtered en masse.
And Mann, tragically, made the same journey as many millions of others. On October 23, 1943, she arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau, a camp near the town of Oswiecim in occupied Poland. Mann was among a group of 1,700 Polish Jews who had been informed that they were headed to Switzerland for a swap with Germans who were being held prisoner.