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Collaboration Horizontale

Discussion in 'Western Europe 1943 - 1945' started by KodiakBeer, Feb 7, 2019.

  1. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    A 5 minute video of women being humiliated and having their heads shaved in France as the allies roll in. It's interesting because some of the women are indeed shamed, but others are defiant and spitting back their own insults at the crowd. I've never seen this video but recognize stills taken from it.

     
  2. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Many were prostitutes. They went where the money was. It's been noted that many of the people making the denunciations did so to keep people from looking at their own shady dealings with the occupiers. Which brings up a question: Just what constitutes "collaboration"?
     
  3. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    What bothers me about this stuff is the losers who revel in their disrespectful treatment of these women...hunters who kill for food and hunters who kill for fun...a subtle but VERY different person...I see this here.
    They are probably shaved so they are easily recognisable on the street...the irony is that cutting hair takes quite a bit of there identity away and become difficult to see who they are from a distance...surely most would stay indoors (if they are allowed) until some hair has grown back...or wear a scarf and hat...all in all a poor method of revenge and says more about those inflicting than the women IMO
     
  4. MichaelBully

    MichaelBully Active Member

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    Found that I was not able to access the video in the original post, but have seen videos on the subject via Youtube.

    The practise seems to have been more of a community shaming. Must have been humiliating and frightening to have been at the mercy of an angry crowd. Sometimes physical assaults took place, but not clear how often permanent injury or even death resulted. Personally I find it hard not to have some pity for these women.They just seem to have been an obvious and easy target .

    Similar discussion has been on this thread here looking at women in Guernsey who were intimate with the German occupiers, who were often despised as 'Jerrybags'

    http://ww2f.com/threads/young-briti...rs-stationed-on-the-island.71169/#post-842726

    The overall question of 'collaboration' is complex. My father fought in World War 2 and part of his service involved clearing mines in parts of Belgium. His view was that most people had to co-operate with the German invaders to some extent, simply to get food and other essentials for themselves and their families. A collaborator was someone who volunteered their skills, their knowledge, or otherwise went beyond what they had to do to survive. I used to favour this definition, but then one flaw is it that this view implies an element of choice. If say, a widow with children caught in the 'hunger winter' that gripped parts of The Netherlands , and started getting intimate with a German occupier to feed her family, then I don't think that I am in a position to judge her,particularly from the safety of several decades later.
     
  5. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    In no reasonable, law-abiding country getting intimate with a German was a crime.
    Actually, it was forbidden for Germans to get intimate with "natives" (not everywhere,) but they themselves didn't respect the ban.
    The vengeance was mostly a thing in countries which suffered the least during the occupation - in France, Belgium, Norway, Czechoslovakia.
     
  6. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I don't think some of you are appreciating the full extent of anger this sort of "collaboration" might bring about. Remember, ALL of the people looking on have young male family members that are not present. Where are they? Well, some are dead, some are in German POW camps, and the rest have been hauled off as slave labor to the Reich. These angry people don't even know yet if their sons, nephews, cousins in POW and slave labor camps are still alive.
    Now the allies have arrived and chased the Germans out, and your family is still not whole, and may never be. Yet, here are these women... All in all, they are lucky the hair was shaved rather than ripped out by the roots.

    Just sayin'...

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  7. harolds

    harolds Member

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    As you said, KB, a lot of Frenchmen were missing. Therefore, young, pretty females, hungry for male companionship and young males (German), hungry for female companionship, are going to get together. Just human nature. C'est la vie! Why punish someone for being human?
     
  8. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    The reaction to these women sleeping with the tormentors is also very human.

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  9. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Try looking at it this way;
    The women were known to be, not just sleeping with the enemy, but fully cooperating and possibly acting as spies. Many flaunting their association or gloating at their ability to receive priority status (read food rations etc) while colluding with an occupational hostile force.
     
  10. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    The hostile force was mostly simply German soldiers manning the Atlantic Wall or convalescing in France or neighboring countries.

    It wasn't Gestapo men or SS-men for the reason there were very few of them there, and the Gestapo wasn't that naive to reveal their agents in so obvious manner.
    In France security was provided by their own French Militia (size 30,000), more effective that unfamiliar with the country Germans.
    The Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Denmark had their own (large) "Militia" too.

    And it wasn't like they all had gone mad from lack of information about their men.
    The POWs, "guest" workers, prisoners of concentration camps regularly wrote home (and regularly received food parcels from their families or friends.) Families were quickly informed about any deaths of their relatives.
    In concentration camps persons who didn't write home every few weeks (and included "I'm well and healthy") were severely punished.

    Actually, France, of her own free will, handed over millions of French workers to the Germans. And they were the most privileged foreign workers in Nazi Germany. A Ukrainian or Russian worker could have only dreamed about such privileges.
     
  11. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    "The POWs, "guest" workers, prisoners of concentration camps regularly wrote home (and regularly received food parcels from their families or friends.) Families were quickly informed about any deaths of their relatives".

    Are you sure about this? The mere statement of, "POWs, "quest workers", prisoners of concentration camps", is telling.
    The government of France may have folded/capitulated in an expeditious matter but I'm not so sure the citizens did. It appears from reading accounts of the occupation of France the French Underground didn't feel the country was being treated in such a gratuitous matter as you describe.

    I for one, would not hold in a positive light an invading Army who rounded up Citizens as prisoners of war, place forced labor upon my Countrymen, enacted my Country to Marshall Law, commandeered private residences and Government buildings and enforced unfavorable actions. It's rather telling that when France was Liberated the photos of a crying and rejoicing population was directed at Allied Forces and not sadness over the departing "well meaning, simple" German Army.

    Self Preservation is a powerful driver of doing what you have to do to survive but let's not try to paint the situation as something it isn't. France was going to fall to the Germans, as all the other smaller Countries, but that simple fact does not exonerate the actions of those who willingly, openly and deliberately cooperated. The Fate of those who did could have been much worse. And in some cases were.
     
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  12. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    It's easy to look back 75 years later in a detached way and 'tut, tut' what happened after the liberation, but these women got off lighter than many others. Away from the cameras there were beatings, assassinations, homes burnt and any excess you can think of. Those who collaborated paid the price, mostly.
    Another aspect of this is that many known collaborators (popular entertainers come to mind), suddenly proclaimed they were "in the resistance" all along. Some got away with that, and some didn't. There was a lot of shame and a lot of anger within the occupied nations after the liberation. In the east it was simpler, and more gruesome, anyone accused of collaborating just disappeared or were dragged into the street and shot by the Red Army.

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  13. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Yes indeedy wm, there was a lot of rejoicing when Allied soldiers came. Fast forward a few months and not so much rejoicing. It's a dirty little secret of the war that the American army committed innumerable acts of rape and theft in France. Both German and British soldiers behaved much better than Americans. In Normandy, the French civilians admitted that German soldiers, for the most part, behaved "correctly".

    While women got their heads shaved, a lot of men accused of collaboration were taken out and shot by the resistance right after a town was liberated. In many cases, the person shot wasn't collaborating, but was a political adversary or someone who could denounce them! I remember an old saying, "Be careful when you point your finger because you have three others pointing back at you."

    KB mentioned shame and anger. I think a lot of resentment towards the Germans was just because they were their old enemies and ashamed that the "Boche"
    seemingly beat them with ease. Nobody likes to be "occupied". I'm not excusing the German treatment of the Jews in the occupied countries (which Frenchmen DID collaborate in) which was horrific.

    I met a woman, then an American citizen, who had lived in Paris during the war and had a German boyfriend. She said they were human just like everybody else.

    This whole issue of "collaboration" isn't a black and white issue.
     
  14. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    I'm just a wee bit curious as to why she came to America since " the American army committed innumerable acts of rape and theft in France" and didn't go to Germany, either East OR West?

    I think I'll just go watch "Carbine Williams"

     
  15. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Gordon beat me to it and posted this in another thread but thought it'd go well here also;

    So, when France was occupied by the Germans in 1940, major French factories like Citroën were forced to produce equipment for the Nazis. Citroën president Pierre-Jules Boulanger knew he couldn’t just refuse to produce anything, but he also knew there’s no way in hell he’s going to just roll over and build trucks for a bunch of filthy Nazis. Pierre had a plan.

    John Reynold’s book Citroën 2CV describes Boulanger’s sabotage efforts. Of course, he instructed workers to set a nice, leisurely pace when building trucks (likely Citroën T45 trucks) for the Wermacht, but that’s fairly obvious. What was brilliant was Boulanger’s idea to move the little notch on the trucks’ oil dipsticks that indicated the proper level of oil down just a bit lower.

    By moving the notch down, the trucks would not have enough oil, but German mechanics would have no idea, because, hey, they little notch on the dipstick says its just fine. Then, after the truck has been used for a while and is out deployed somewhere crucial, whammo, the engine seizes up, and you’ve got a lot of angry, stranded, vulnerable Nazis, balling up their little fists and redly barking curses in German.

    https://jalopnik.com/citroen-sabotaged-wartime-nazi-truck-production-in-a-si-1836670685
     
  16. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Just like the Germans not to buy the extended warranty.

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  17. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Excuse me Biak, but I made an error in my post. It should have been, "...then a French citizen...". Sorry, my error. To answer your question, from what I've been able to gather, there may have been to much "authority" in Paris with it's police force and the MPs of the American Army. It seems that most of incidents happened where law enforcement was lacking, such as in the smaller towns and villages. Being with an advancing army where troops were coming and going made it difficult to apprehend the perps. In this particular incidence that I mentioned, I believe she and her husband (also a French national) just wanted out of Europe.
     
  18. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Most french people collaborated in some way. A French railway worker, policeman, shopkeeper, factory worker or farmer would be supporting the German war effort s in some way or other every day, but it was French women who were singled out for shaming as collaborators. I have a suspicion that actual prostitutes may have escaped the public humiliation.

    One of the most brazen female collaborators was Coco Chanel. One quote attributed to her was that her heart belonged to France but she shared her £$%^&@~! with the world....The extent of her collaboration was covered up with the support of the US company which owned the brand name,.
     
  19. Terry D

    Terry D Well-Known Member

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    I have read quite a few accounts by British and other Allied servicemen who saw allegedly collaborationist women being subjected to the shaved head, public shame, etc. by alleged members of the resistance. Every witness I've ever read was appalled and disgusted by what these women were put through, whatever their supposed personal and political sins. The men who expressed these feelings were combat soldiers who had plenty of reason to hate the enemy and the French and Belgian collaborators as well, but they had not lost their sense of humanity. Whatever these women had done what was done to them in return was pure sadism.
     
  20. harolds

    harolds Member

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    You're right, the trains still had to be run, the people had to be fed, etc. In short, they had to have some sort of economy in order to survive! So, if a baker sold a German soldier a loaf of bread, was that really collaboration? In my mind, no. Now if he fingered members of the resistance, or sold most of his product to the occupying power in order to get special privileges, then I call him a collaborator.

    I've also read/heard that Maurice Chevalier was quite cozy with the Germans. He seemed to have a good career after the war nonetheless.


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