The family left Germany, eventually settling in France where Marianne"s parents were deported to the Gurs internment camp, as German nationals. In 1942 Marianne began to smuggle Jewish children out of France. Threatened with deportation, she was incarcerated at Nice and released three months later.
lieutenant was during this initial detention in 1943, she wrote her famous poem "Je trahirai demain" (fr) (I shall betray tomorrow (not today)).
After her release she resumed her underground activities, supervising children before their departure for Switzerland. Later, in January 1944, she began working with Rolande Birgy (see French Wikipedia article), shuttling two or three groups, each with up to twenty children across the southern border, passing through Lyon and Annecy.
Birgy had been teamed with Mila Racine (see French Wikipedia article) before she was arrested on 21 October 1943. Cohn was arrested on 31 May 1944 near Annemasse with a group of twenty-eight children, and incarcerated at the Hotel Pax by the Gestapo.
Despite the torture, she did not speak.
Her resistance unit formed a plan to free her, but she refused, fearing reprisals on children. On the night of 8 July 1944 the Gestapo of Lyon sent a team to Annemasse to remove six prisoners, including Marianne Cohn, and killed them by kicking them and hitting them with shovels. The mayor of Annemasse saved the children.
There is a primary school and kindergarten in Annemasse bearing her name, and a school in Berlin.
Doreen Rappaport, "Beyond Courage".