French female collaborator punished by having her head shaved to publicly mark her, 1944

Woman being shaved by civilians to publicly mark her as a collaborator, 1944
A woman being shaved by civilians to publicly mark her as a collaborator, 1944.

French women who befriended the Nazis, through coerced, forced, or voluntary relationships, were singled out for shameful retribution following the liberation of France. The woman photographed here, believed to have been a prostitute who serviced German occupiers, is having her head shaved by French civilians to publicly mark her. This picture was taken in Montelimar, France, August 29, 1944.

At the end of World War II, many French people accused of collaboration with Germany endured a particularly humiliating act of revenge: their heads were shaved in public. Nearly all those punished were women. Most historians have stressed the sexual anxiety created by the Nazi Occupation and how women’s sexual activity was judged as part of a public “cleansing” after liberation. Similar to the vigilante gangs that punished men who collaborated with the occupiers, groups would band together to judge women by parading them in the public square. This episode in French history continues to provoke shame and unease and as a result has never been subject of a thorough examination.

The punishment of shaving a woman’s head had biblical origins. In Europe, the practice dated back to the dark ages, with the Visigoths. During the middle ages, this mark of shame, denuding a woman of what was supposed to be her most seductive feature, was commonly a punishment for adultery. Shaving women’s heads as a mark of retribution and humiliation was reintroduced in the 20th century.

In total there were 23 , 2315 people who had their head shaved as a punishment for being a collaborationist.
In total there were 23 , 2315 people who had their head shaved as a punishment for being a collaborationist.

Throughout France, from 1943 to the beginning of 1946, about 20,000 women of all ages and all professions who were accused of having collaborated with the occupying Germans had their heads shaved. Just as the identity of those who carried this task out varied so too did the form it took. For example, among those who carried it out can be found members of the Resistance, those who took part in fighting at the time of the Liberation, neighbors who came down into the street once the Germans had left and men whose authority depended on the police and the courts.

After the humiliation of a public head-shaving, the tondues – the shorn women – were often paraded through the streets on the back of a lorry, occasionally to the sound of a drum as if it were a tumbril and France was reliving the revolution of 1789. Some were daubed with tar, some stripped half naked, some marked with swastikas in paint or lipstick.

In Bayeux, Churchill’s private secretary Jock Colville recorded his reactions to one such scene. “I watched an open lorry drive past, to the accompaniment of boos and catcalls from the French populace, with a dozen miserable women in the back, every hair on their heads shaved off. They were in tears, hanging their heads in shame. While disgusted by this cruelty, I reflected that we British had known no invasion or occupation for some 900 years. So we were not the best judges”.

She has a swastika drawn in her forehead.
She has a swastika drawn in her forehead.
Most of the women lynched were accused for having consorted with German troops.
Most of the women were accused for having consorted with German troops.

The American historian Forrest Pogue wrote of the victims that “their look, in the hands of their tormentors, was that of a hunted animal”. Colonel Harry D McHugh, the commander of an American infantry regiment near Argentan, reported: “The French were rounding up collaborators, cutting their hair off and burning it in huge piles, which one could smell miles away. Also, women collaborators were forced to run the gauntlet and were really beaten”.

The imposition of punishment with distinct sexist overtone, characterized by branding or marking, has overshadowed its use for all acts of collaboration. After the war up to the present, photographs of the women with shaven heads have become the only evidence of practice about which those who carried it out have remained silent – attention has been directed at the victims and at the act itself, leaving both what preceded and followed it (collaboration, accusation, arrest, judgment, condemnation) neglected.

The punishments were carried out by French civilians and Resistance members.
The punishments were carried out by French civilians and Resistance members.
A woman, with her baby whose father is German, and her mother are jeered and humiliated by crowds in Chartres after having their heads shaved as punishment for collaborating with the German troops.
A woman, with her baby whose father is German, and her mother are jeered and humiliated by crowds in Chartres after having their heads shaved as punishment for collaborating with the German troops.

Lee Miller, one of the photographers who documented the event, talks of the ease with which this shift could take place: “I saw four girls who had been led through the streets and I rushed toward them to take a photograph. At once I found myself at the front of the procession and the local people thought I was the female soldier who had captured them, or something like that, and I was kissed and congratulated at the same time as slaps and spits rained down on the unfortunate girls”.

A woman collaborator and her baby, whose father is German, returns to her home after having her head shaven following the capture of Chartres by the Allies.
A woman collaborator and her baby, whose father is German, returns to her home after having her head shaven following the capture of Chartres by the Allies.
Eyes of Shame.
Eyes of Shame.

Of the collaborative acts of which women were accused, three categories can be defined: political, where they had belonged to a collaborationist organization or, more modestly, had held opinions in favor of the enemy or shown opposition to the Resistance and allied forces; financial, if they had benefited from professional or business contacts; personal, if they had relationships with members of he occupying forces. They could also be accused someone to the occupying authorities.

A fourth reason for being arrested and for having one’s head shaved was to be someone from one of the Axis countries; this did not necessarily indicate collaboration but it invited suspicion. In total there were approximately 23,500 people who had their head shaved as a punishment for being a collaborationist.

Join the discussion

  • Lynching means hanging by a rope from the neck until dead. Not having haircut and spit on. There is no evidence these women were killed is there?

  • I agree with you, although lynching can just mean killed, not necessarily hanged (beating or hacking to death). These women were not “lynched”, although I am curious to know if any *were* killed.

  • You made me feel bad for these women with your erroneous use of the word ‘lynch’. Then I watched the ‘disturbing’ video of the ‘lynching’ to see some Nazi collaborators having their heads shaved, which is pretty easy going if you ask me.

  • I have photo of the French women being walked through the street – a handwritten note on the back of the photo reads “This here is a picture of women and girls who loved the germans and when the germans left, the Free French cut their hair and shaved their eye brows off. And do hey look like a mess. Good for them”

  • They used these poor girls as an escape goat. In France, only the weak is punished since many politicians, businessmen and artists managed to get away with their ‘collaboration’…Some of these girls were killed after this weird public ritual.

    • These women arent ‘lynched ‘ , just paraded.. and excluded from the society they turned on for cigarettes silk and chocolate ..,, This was common in many occopied country after liberation and a easy way to pay for ones collaboration To all the comfy armchaiir morons feeling so sorry , you have no idea what is behind it.. Maybe a 5 year brutal occupation will make one understand better why it was done.. These girls were treasoners to their own people..

      • The only “crime” most these women by far were guilty of was to have fallen in love with some German conscript who found himself being temporarily stationed in a country occupied by Germany. This is not “collaboration” in the strict sense. This is not the same as a political choice.

        The reason these women were punished harshly was because their behavior rebelled against the ideas of moral decency of the time and undermined national solidarity.

        (Btw I come from a country that was occupied by the nazis for 5 years).

      • Having your head shaved, Kitkat, because you fell in love with someone at the wrong place, the wrong time. You say LOL ; What a human being you are ? An arm-chair morale judge, 75 years after the facts ?

        How do you know that the girls in question were traitors ? And traitors deserve, as we all know, no legal procedure.
        And if it is the mob that metes out punishment without trial what then is the moral difference of this mob to the Vichy & Nazi mob that just fled the city a few days nefore ?

  • It’s “scapegoat”, not “escape goat” (although for some reason “escape goat” kind of appeals to me).

  • The thing that gets to me is the stoicism with which the women face this, while the perpetuators seem to relish their actions. If you have not actively fought off being occupied, doesn’t it make you a passive collaborator? That would make most French citizens collaborators at the time.

    • That’s well said. There’s a vblog on youtube by a black man (!) named Tommy Sotomayor. In one of his blogs entitles “stop blaming white people for slavery” he argues that you always have a choice. You could chose death if the alternative is really not worth living.
      Apparently those french “men” of the time chose not to die and rather live under German rule until the Americans came to fight their war for them.
      But make no mistake: There were tens of thousands of french people killed by the “Resistance” after the war out of revenge. When you compare that to the so called “war crimes” of some SS divisions in France where a few hundred collaborators were shot, it is clear who were the greater war criminals. Unfortunately those people “won” the war and thus got to be judge and history writer

  • These public humiliations were a complete farce and anyone who actually participated to the Resistance hated these public shaving (all the ones that weren’t targeting actual collaborators, who ratted out the resistance members, leading to their torture and death, or torture, deportation and death).

    Most of the shaving was done by the “résistants de la dernière heure” crowd [ed: funnily enough, googling “résistants de la dernière heure” on the global website gives the “Femmes tondues” wikipedia article as first result). These “last-hour résistants” who waited for the germans to leave to suddenly become “resistant” fighters, were the ones who paraded around in the streets with their guns and humiliated these women.

    Actual resistance fighters were too busy fighting off the remaining german forces and organizing the post-occupation politics (preventing the US from taking over France, like they later did with West Germany), they had no time to chase the few ladies who had a flirt with a young german.

    A lot of committees, Resistance cells and french intellectuals protested against these public shaving, especially since it was mostly (vast majority) punishing women who simply worked (laundry, cooking, etc) for the germans staying there (nb: these women had to pay the rent and food themselves to survive during war time) or had a relationship with a german soldier (when all the men were in labor camps or dead, it’s perfectly normal to continue to live), or simply punishing prostitutes who were just doing their job. Sadly, only in a few regions resistance cells managed to keep these public shaving low, declaring that prostitutes and women who had sex with german soldiers were all spared from any public shaving, with only the actual collaborators being shaved.

    It should be noted that these public shaving are still viewed these days as terrible and completely unfair, as the real collaborators (men and women alike) were mostly left untouched: a few were shot (especially the ones whose actions led to the death of many men and women in the Resistance), the rest got away with it (price of peace I guess… :/). Fucking Maurice Papon: repeat offender (mass-deported the jews in Paris, killed hundreds of résistants, killed tons of peaceful protesters during the troubles in Algeria), never got punished for that.

    Regarding Steven Milward and Band of Brothers, it is not accurate – women who had a relationship with a german soldier, or worked (as housemaid, cook, etc) were not killed. The rare exceptions being the few cases where some family members, especially the husband’s family, committed honor killing (ex: french husband is killed in combat, or die in labor camps, and the wife is caught enjoying the proximity of a young german man) and were not related to the Resistance movements.

    Liberation/post-occupation executions by the Resistance only occurred to people (regardless of sex) who:

    – made money out of the Occupation (by directly making business and profits with the german troops) = the war profiteers

    – terribly exploited the black market (selling rotten food to starving families, in exchange of their jewelry, exchanged at a tenth or twentieth of its actual value),

    – directly informed the german and vichy france authorities about jewish families living nearby, to exterminate them (= sharing the nazi ideology) and/or to loot the furniture/jewelry/goods there, or even steal the whole damn house/apartment (paying up the vichy france authorities to falsify the ownership certificates)

    – directly informed the german or vichy france authorities about resistance activities, people who were helping out resistant (hiding them, giving them food and clothes, transport), leading to thousands of arrests immediately followed by torture, executions and deportations of the résistants (some still teenagers). It even led to reprisal killings against the neutral civilian population: perfectly innocent teenagers and young men were hanged on balcony and lampposts, because someone ratted out “the village” was hiding some résistants.

    – some of the “collaborating” members of the french administration and vichy france authorities, even if most snaked their way out of the executions by buying a golden ticket:
    (a) by simply using money (and political support for the post-war situation)

    (b) by secretly diverting *some* résistants from deportation train convoys, usually sparing the pro-De Gaulle ones while leaving the independent, mostly communists/socialists, in the wagons – it progressively “cleaned” up the Resistance ranks, while awarding a “secret” get-out-of-jail card for the “collabos” (see: NAP and Super-NAP processes).

    *NAP/Super-NAP: “Noyautage des administrations publiques” (and its “super” variants for the highest ranks), ‘coring of the public administration’ = officially only about infiltrating the ranks of the administration to falsify papers/documents and get military intelligence data, actually heavily about ‘infiltrating’ the Vichy state through two-ways deal and negotiations, especially when it became clear Hitler wouldn’t defeat the Red Army on time before the rasputitsa (saving Moscow) and the extremely deadly winter (saving the factories), allowing Staline to get enough T34+IL2+artillery to roll the germans back, while the Allies would be landing on the western front.
    Accelerating the inevitable end of the Axis occupation of France while preserving and reinforcing the strength of the Resistance could allow France to jump back on its feet and deny the US the control of the french territories (originally to be cut in sectors, like the western Germany), so several french war criminals/criminals against humanity were offered clean records in exchange of their ‘collaboration’ (sic), and an awful lot of them took the offer (continuing to work in the french administration for years).

    (c) by strongly collaborating with the Allies (US/UK) authorities and informing them a lot about the existing Resistance cells (structure, members, strength, alliances, movements), especially the ones with communists/anarchists/socialists members*.

    *Addendum; these members were actually very important: they were the most experienced, networked and dedicated Resistance members, having already fought in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and right after the Battle of France (1940, up until the Liberation in 1944)(3 years in Spain + 4 years in France, that’s 7 years of guerilla warfare experience, an extremely valuable skill during that period). They were also the most politically-conscious members of the Resistance, fighting against totalitarianism and not just against the invaders of France. On the other hand, the later christian and right-wing resistance cells mostly fought for France only, once De Gaulle (center-right wing) became the leader of the Resistance.

    Why is it any important ? These “red” members could pose a threat to the US interests in the upcoming Cold War and were taken very seriously by the western Allies: these members were the #1 reason (by far, confirmed countless times from different sources) why the Allies never armed the Spanish republicans and the International Brigades (volunteers fighting against the dictator Franco and Hitler’s massive air and logistic support) and even BLOCKED arms shipments (coming from Russia and communist organizations around the world) going to help the struggling spanish republican army.

    These members are also the sole reason why the US and Churchill refused to airdrop weapons and explosives to the Resistance, only drip-feeding them with weak explosives (barely able to take out parts of bridges or bending rails), and a handful of Sten during the very late stage of the war, forcing most resistant fighters to salvage WW1 weapons from depots and stealing weapons from german soldiers during costly raids.

    These “red” resistance fighters actually never posed a threat during the Cold War, half because french communism was deeply different from USSR communism (the authoritarian stalinism wasn’t compatible with the social and democratic variant of communism found in France back then), half because De Gaulle was a political mastermind who managed to keep them all in check.

    These “red” résistants paid the highest cost, in human lives, in risk taken, families lost, being the first to be tortured and executed by vichy and nazi forces, being the first to be sent to death and labor camp (very very few survived to tell their stories). They never paraded in the streets, they never asked for medals or public recognition. These brave resistance fighters are NOT the ones you see taunting their guns while speeding in cars with a “FFI” sign crudely painted on it, throwing innocent women on the pavement, to cut their hair and spit on their faces. For the true resistance fighters, that was the most vile and depressing show they were seeing after kicking the germans out.

    Never forget the true résistants, never forget what they did. Never forget the false ones, never forget their disgusting acts and cowardice on innocent women.

    Same with the germans who fought in the german army simply because they were germans, vs. the nazis who fought for nazism because they believe in nazism. They’re not the same kind at all: some french fought in SS units until the end, same with thousands of eastern european nazis joining SS ranks to exterminate thousands of jews. Nazism was everywhere and far from limited to germany. The german nation was simply much more vulnerable to nazism because of the terrible economic crisis (reinforced by the WW1 misery enforced by the winning side), and ended up being the home of all the nazis around the world, hijacking the german army and german industry in the process.

    You had nazis in France (ended up with the Vichy state), you had nazis in the UK (ended up delaying UK involvement), you had nazis in the US (delayed the USA involvement a lot, forcing the anti-Hitler side to… make sure people “learned” about that threat), you had fascists in Italy (ended up taking power, and remaining strong and fully funded+armed throughout the Cold War), you had fascists in Spain (ended up taking power and keeping it for decades thanks to US support too, w/ the Cold War context), you had fascists in Portugal (ended up taking power and keeping for decades, Cold War context again)(see South America during the Cold War too).

    All nations had growing pro-fascism and totalitarian movements, all nations had thousands of people being in near-complete agreement with the nazi ideology. We, western powers, simply let the nazis residing in Germany take over the place, by leaving its entire population to misery and despair, without reacting on time: it is our fault, our complete failure.

    So please, leave all the stereotypes, the generalizations and the simplifications at the door – they’re all useless, you won’t need them to understand your world. The truth only exists within complexity: if anything in history is simple, it’s a lie.

    The historian and professor Henry Laurens once said “Si vous avez compris quelque chose au Liban, c’est qu’on vous l’a mal expliqué” (approx. “If you understood anything about Lebanon, someone wrongly explained it to you”). It applies to everything in history.

    • You touched a very interesting subject here Peter .. not meaning the shavings itself as this happened in Holland (where im from) a lot too .
      Public more less settling the score .. nasty.. but collabing was nasty too and getting a bald head seems a small price to pay really ..these girls stoically undergo it as they knew very well this was coming to em one day .. but the part im very interested in is the Red resitance issue you came up with.
      We had several suspicious incidents here where in the last months of war where as if by magic many red groups were captured and executed . Official story is some got arrested and talked causing many groups to be exposed .. but when later the very same police people and magistrates etc that were in German service got reinstated by the govt in exile in London (scandal!) in their old functions things started to leak out . Stories of treason , Free dutch in London afraid for those active red groups that leaked names directly to SD and Abwehr to get rid of em .Basicly its the cold war already starting while ww2 wasnt even over yet .
      Several times there have been investigations..and after every investigation more and more documents were disappearing as if by magic ..
      No wonder knowing Dutch royalty is/was involved in this ..Its known as ‘the Velser affair’ , and up to today its stirring up a lot of emotions.
      It has several overlappings with the so called England Spiel..wich is just as controversial and the leaking of the Market Garden plans.. something else thats being totally ignored by many historians but true none the less.

    • I just came upon your very informative comment while browsing through the WWII photos. Thank you very much for this lesson! I never knew any of the information about leftist/right-wing resistance movements, or any of the manipulation that was going on behind the scenes. I had always felt sorry for these women, especially the one shown clutching her baby. She must have been so terrified for the baby’s life, even more so than her own. I saw that picture years ago when I was still a teenager and wondered whatever became of her. One of my friends here in America from my Quaker Meeting is an elderly man who was drafted into the German army when he was 15, along with his best friend, at the end of the war when there was no one left but old men and little boys. Their training consisted of being given a rifle and being told, “You run away and we’ll shoot you.” He survived the war, his friend did not, and it still brought him to tears. Most of us in the US have no concept of what war really means, or to what lengths people will go to save themselves, their friends and their families.

    • Hello, I have just seen your post. I am writing a book about my family that lived in Post WWII France. Oui, ils sont Francais! I would love to communicate with you about the war. It is difficult for me to find information from American Google and my French is very rusty. I left France when I was seven.I am trying to find out what some of the unwed mother’s homes were called and what order of nuns were they called. You post about the shorn women was so captivating and I agree with what you say. It is not fair to judge when someone was not there to experience what their lives were like. It seems survival is what always comes to the fore in situations like that. How can we blame them?

  • Male collaborators were generally killed, most females were shamed in this manner. And there is a difference between being passive and collaborating. Collaborators of the enemy in most countries is punishable as treason.

  • So despicable!!!
    When most of these poor women were subjugated and forced into being sex slaves for the Nazi soldiers,
    They suffered twice!!!

  • A bit funny considering 2/3 of French were collaborating during WWII. Obviously in 1945 almost everyone was in the resistance 🙂

    • Where did you get this information from ?
      Any reliable source ?
      Or just mere slander ?
      It would be helpful if we could stay at a civilized level of debat at this site.

    • What is collaboration? The prisoners taken by ISIS were forced to denounce their own countries under threat of death, would you call them collaborators? Most french people suffered the same fate, if they do not cooperate, they will be punished severely!

  • Notice the second photo of a blonde haired woman whose her neck was grabbed by one of the french resistance fighters, she has her grey blazer with white shirt which I believe was a German female military Admin staff member assigned to German headquarters. This photo was not a photo but a captured film newsreel clip. I’d be interested on your replies of my conclusion of this photo

  • From my research that this blonde haired woman was most likely one of the SS Helfering. Probably the SS runes was ripped out from her blazer jacket. I’ve enclosed a photo but I do not know how to upload it

  • What is collaboration? If someone was compelled to observe the rules estbalished by the Nazis? does that count as collaboration?
    in law, if a confession is obtained through torture and duress, then that confession is not viewed as legitimate, because it would put legal system to disrepute.
    same here, many people were forced to work with the Germans for fear of death, some factories were forced to deliver cars, etc to Germans.
    This is not collaboration. Since this kind of behaviour is exacted from duress.
    If you were livign in that time, by your standard, you too would be a collaborator.
    In addition, many of these shaved women were informers, and costed many lives.

  • Tens of thousands of women is a lot. No matter the time, jilted lovers do messed up things to the person they “love” who doesn’t love them back. It makes one wonder out of all these women, how many suffered this because of a lie? Everything is a possibility.

  • The most disturbing thing about these photographs and the truth of what happened to these women is that all were from the lower echelons of society. One NEVER sees or hears of anything done in reprisal to such Nazi collaborationists as Coco Chanel, Maurice Chevalier, Dior, Piaf, et al. History has been re-written by the French and the allies with no mention of the activities of these people.

  • Seeing photos of men humiliating women does not make me feel scorn for the women, but contempt for the so-called “men” who participated in these cowardly acts of bullying being perpetrated as “resistance retaliation.”

    Makes me wish that the National Socialist soldiers of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen SS could have taught these French “men” what it is like to have been humiliated at the hands of the Herrenvolk.

  • Look how happy this gay nattion were in that times, as they were given brilliant reason to humiliate women.

    • Moving further down the timeline, what happened to the women who were left pregnant by the Nazi? Where did they go to have their babies? Were there nuns homes, or unwed mothers’ homes? If so, does anyone know any details or names of these places?

  • Every time there is social unrest it is always women who are pilified and suffer.

    These women were easy targets and used as scape-goats by cowardly men who needed some way to vent there post-war frustrations.

    These photos and the statistics stated in this article make me sick to my stomach. Where were the real men whilst this was happening as no man would take such pleasure (clearly sexual eroticism going on in these humiliations) in doing this to a young woman or poor teenage girl.

    I think these brave, courageous women should receive a pardon from there governments and the countries should acknowledge this disgusting part of history and hang their heads in shame.

    ‘Collaborators’ my arse – just a bunch of cowards exercising some power play over the weak and vulnerable.

    Cowardly bastards. Would love to go back in time and do the same to these bullies.

    • “Every time there is social unrest it is always women who are pilified (sic) and suffer.”

      This statement, and your whole post, display a mind boggling level female solipsism. Oh those poor hypergamous French “ladies” had their head shaved by their knowing neighbors for sleeping with the same Germans who slaughtered their husbands, brothers, friends and even sons. How terribly unfair!
      These collaborating women endured simple humiliation, most eventually living full lives.

      Contrast this with the millions of men who lost their lives fighting the Germans and Japanese and the countless millions more who were horribly disfigured for the rest of their tragicaly shortened lives. How many young men who had their guts blown open on the beaches of Normandy, only to die screaming in the sand while trying to liberate these unworthy tarts, would have gladly traded a shaved head for their fate?

    • These “women” gave up secrets and their bodies freely and so were traitors. Disgusting women. Clinton-Pelosi types.

  • yes I have too totally agree with you Clara, it was just absolute cowardly of these men to vent their anger on these women. The picture of the woman walking through the street with her baby while she is being mocked is really disheartening. She obviously loved her baby. it sure is a cruel world.

  • These photos are revolting. Look at the fourth photo down. That is not a ‘woman,’ that is a YOUNG GIRL. And the ‘French’ people around her look very dark skinned. Jews, maybe, but not French. Any one who takes pleasure in another person’s suffering is called a sadist. All of these photos are disgusting.

  • So only the Germans were cruel? France was conquered by the Germans in approximately three weeks. The whole of France should have been ashamed of their inadequacy to properly defend against the Wehrmacht in 1940. The French could have at least shown some gratitude for the allies liberation; or even the fact that Hitler’s commanding officers refused to raze Paris to the ground.

    • At least shown some gratitude for the allies liberation?

      The number of French civilians killed after D-Day is just as high as the number of allies KIA in the first weeks. In the end, it all came down to the whims of the one who was holding the gun. And when you’re unarmed, half starved, no idea where your husband is (perhaps dead) and with little children to feed… You really don’t care if it’s a German, American, Canadian or whatever pointing a gun at your child demanding food, gold or other goods.

      I understood my Belgian grandmother when she told me of the alternative prayer: Oh Lord deliver us from our liberators. What the Germans didn’t plunder or destroy, the Americans would.
      I understood my Dutch grandmother when she told me about her dislike of the ‘all American Hero’, flirting with German girls, handing out candy, nylons and cigarettes in the neigbouring German towns when half the Dutch where starving in the Hongerwinter.

      And those two ladies where not Jewish, they didn’t have to go in hiding because of Arbeitseinsatz. Just average young women with small children, living in small towns. More then 350 km apart, each one could tell stories about the not-so-wrong-collaborating-girl who used her ties with Wehrmacht to get a doctor for a sick child. The German soldier who left some canned meat for the children to eat. Small gestures of humanity during wartime.

      In the Belgian town, nobody tried to shave someones head. Everybody kept their mouth shut about the ‘collaborateurs horizontale’. All very young girls whom they knew all their lives. The girls didn’t profit, their German sweethearts where just soldiers no high ranking officers.
      In the Dutch town the last-minute resistance heroes rounded up all ‘suspected elements’. Luckily the real resistance stepped in and restored some form of order awaiting officials. The last-minute resistance hero who tried to mock a six yrs old boy, a child of a NSB-er, with a sign which read: “I’m a traitor”, got smacked across the face with a pitchfork.

  • Good lord, this is the most absurdly biased and needlessly provocative article I’ve ever seen on the subject.

    No one was lynched for consorting with the enemy. You can claim that the word means whatever you want it to mean, but the reality is that it means “hung to death” — usually by an angry mob.

    There *were* a small number of State executions for actual female spies after the war. But no women were “lynched” for sleeping with the enemy.

    Propaganda alert!

  • Interesting topic.
    Info about the penultimate picture (“The march of shame through town.”): The girl’s name is Simone Toseau. She died 1966 and was an alcoholic and depressed. Her daughter is still alive today, her name might be Catherine. Simone was not only punished for collaboration (working for the Germans), but also for denunciation.

  • Lynched (Lynching) means an “illegal execution”. This is the term used and is incorrect, no matter what words or meaning the French have. They talk of the outrage at men doing this. Many of these women inadvertently gave away positions, secrets and membership´s of partisan groups to the Germans for just a bit of food or cigarettes. . The shaved head and walk of shame was nothing compared to what their collaboration did. Any male was just shot. So these women had nothing at all to complain off and should be thankful they were not just shot like the men. The French were so protective of their women..even when they betrayed them. Sentimental fools. I believe it was upwards of 80,000 French were executed after the war for serious collaboration offences. It was a massive amount. The free French government held no mercy for those found guilty of collaboration in extreme.

  • Hey half of France collaborated. Vichy. The Gendarmerie helped round up Jews in Paris..Coco Chanel lodged in the Ritz with a German Colonel….Qui Moi

  • Every human being, in France, was a suspect of collaboration, back then. Punishing those helpless women does not make you a saint.

  • In our culture now, where honor has no meaning and being a so-called victim is the highest and most noble status one can attain, it is not surprising that so many people would sympathize with these people.

    I personally am not going to shed a tear for those who would willingly give pleasure to the people whom had murdered and caused the never ending suffering of so many of my fellow countrymen. These poor dears had to have their heads shaved?! Those few months before their hair regrew must have been so hard for them! Meanwhile, their lovers out and out murdered innocents on the orders of the most evil leaders of all time.

    Any of these women who did not do what they were accused of are indeed, victims who should be pitied. But as for the rest? Simply being a woman is not reason enough for one to be shielded from the consequences of selfishness. Sorry.

  • Such brave men these French, as soon as they saw the Allied tanks coming into Paris, out they came from their hiding places, hair clippers at the ready……

  • Those women was not guilty, Loving some one is not crime, or some thing for survival. If they feel so much bad, so where were they when there women’s have to compromise for there lives, why didn’t they come and give them food or safty. They call them self a man. Is some one being a real man wont torture a women with child, So in my research they were no men but gay’s who just can beat weak,lonely womens not the army those have sex with their women’s. Having fire in ass so they would have punished army not womens.

  • oh! poor women! people “lynched” them because those who were prostitutes decided to put their own interests before those of their own country unlike those cowardly men who fought the war and died for their country? that’s so sexist! and other women got into relationships with german men because their own husbands were in internment camps or dead and they couldn’t wait until the war ended? oh, so sexist! the people at Hiroshima had it easier, lucky dead people, they don’t need to regrow any hair.

  • You never see photos of a shaven Cocoa Chanel, one of thee worst collaborators of the lot, she fled to Switzerland before the war ended

  • It is true, many of these women & men who had a rough time from their own countrypeople after liberation, were nothing more than simple scapegoats. In a country or region ruled by the Nazis you had no choice but to go fully with what they dictated or you would have put yourself &/or your family in danger, and that can be seen by many as collaboration. Society obviously has a tendency to release its frustrations on the meek & vulnerable.

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