Sleeping With the Enemy
|Another collaborator, somewhere in France. This photo was found on a German POW.|
|German soldiers exchanging their clothes with their girlfriends. Those uniforms really fit those women pretty well!|
Really, it was just like normal times. Men meeting women, a little flirtation from the back seat of your chauffeur-driven motorcar...
The French are very understanding about things like this - but only up to a point, as we will see below. But, first things first. At the time, many of the Mademoiselles were just fine with the new order.
Perhaps visit the Soldatenkino in Paris to take in a matinee?
The Paris racetrack is always fun with a date, but we'll have to get the tip sheet.
Or, just hang out down at the lake.
A quiet spot in town would work, too.
|Rare color selfie of a Wehrmacht soldier and his girl. The soldier apparently is recuperating from a war wound and thus is playing the "war hero." Rear area hospitals were one of the few times a soldier could relax and have a little fun.|
|Off-duty Wehrmacht soldier spending a day at the pool with his girlfriend.|
|Men and a mademoiselle becoming friends, or perhaps negotiating a surrender.|
|German officers got the pick of the crop. My guess is this is in Montmartre.|
|The fellow looks as if he has been injured, but he is enjoying himself now!|
Life continued naturally behind the front lines. And, naturally, things happened. Some 200,000+ babies were born to German fathers during the French occupation. There was nothing special about French women: in one of the Channel Islands, 900 such babies were registered. In Norway, 8-12,000 babies (including Anni-Frid Lyngstad of Abba fame) resulted. Such marriages also were encouraged in Denmark and Holland. The Lebensborn e. V. (e.V. is Eingetragener Verein, registered association), meaning "Fount of life," was founded on 12 December 1935 and blossomed during the war. Promoted by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, it was intended to reverse falling German birth rates and promote bizarre eugenics theories. In Norway, the children of these unions faced ostracization and worse fates. The mothers were called "tyskertøser," or "Those girls." The Norwegian children later sued for compensation due to the Quisling government's promotion of the scheme - but lost in 2008 before the European Court of Human Rights (the Norwegian government offered each child £8,000 anyway). This has similarities to the "Comfort women" situation in Japan, an issue that reverberates through the years.
Wars were fought in distant fields. With all of France occupied, the war to the ordinary Frenchwoman was just an occasional bombing raid or annoying news bulletin about something going on in Africa or Russia or one of those Pacific Ocean places.
|The lady nearest the camera sure has a fashionable hat.|
|A pleasant night out at the Folies Bergère or Moulin Rouge, perhaps? Possibly these fine females worked there.|
|Paris during the war, photo by Andre Zucca for German Wehrmacht magazine Signal.|
|Dutch woman follows her German husband into captivity.|
|A Wehrmacht soldier with an Italian prostitute, 1944. The picture is a full-length shot which is quite, um, revealing. I can't show you the whole thing, unfortunately (it's a great shot). Use your imagination.|
|This Frenchwoman does not look like she is suffering, nor the ones in the background.|
|No, not suffering at all.|
|A friendly visit with a Wehrmacht Gebirgsjager (mountain) Troops private in a snowdrift. She appears to have nylons on, he apparently was quite thoughtful to get them for her - nylons were absolutely cutting edge style in the '40s.|
|Well, I certainly hope she doesn't come down on the flowers...|
|Dutch Party girl (most likely) greets the Wehrmacht boys as they enter Amsterdam, 15 May 1940. Note the SS plates on that vehicle - SS were required to be in full camouflage (Jager, Federal Archive).|
separate page about Ukrainian collaborator girls (yes, Ukraine is in Europe) who knew how to show their appreciation for a well-cut fighting man. Here, though, we focus on Western Europe.
|Festival atmosphere: A French woman cavorting with members of Hitler's SS in bars and cabarets. To say that all these women had no choice is a bit much.|
|Mrs. I. M. Swire - a leading figure in the British Union of Fascists - wearing the new uniform of a grey skirt with a black shirt. Quite stylish in a dreary sort of way.|
|Coco Chanel did not suffer many privations during World War II.|
Presenting what happened after liberation is easy to show. Very easy.
|Belgian women who had collaborated with the Germans are shaved, tarred and feathered and forced to give a typical salute.|
Naturally, we almost certainly would not have many of these photos at all if the soldier had survived and put them in safe-keeping. There are likely countless others sitting long-forgotten in attics and basements across Europe.
|World War II. Collaboration. Shaving and tarring [pitch] of ['Kraut ladies'] after the liberation of Holland. Amsterdam, The Netherlands, May 1945. The notable thing about many of these pictures is how female onlookers look almost ecstatic.|
|World War II. The liberation of Paris, France. French women accused of collaborating with the Germans paraded in the streets. It appears they also are being compelled to give the Hitler salute, another layer of humiliation.|
Case Study: Herta KašparováWhen you take on a subject as broad as this, it helps to reduce it to a human scale. That helps to illustrate what happened to many ordinary people, and also show how complex the moral questions can become. To do that, let us look briefly at the strange, sad tale of Herta Kašparová.
|Herta Kašparová in prison camp.|
|Herta is bound to the hanging pole, now is hanging, and the hangman twists her neck.|
|The hangman, in an Austrian gesture of contempt, has thrown his white gloves on the ground.|
I know that I caused the death of several people. I acted out of revenge.Herta was found guilty of collaboration and hanged from a pole on 13 September 1946 at 18:30. Accounts from the crowd of spectators exhibit relish at the manner of execution, with the hangman actively twisting Herta's head to hasten the process and perhaps add a bit of pain.
Was this Hateful Toward Women?It is easy to apply modern standards to this process and to argue that shaving women's heads and parading them through the streets was hateful to women and so forth and so on. You know, "war on women" stuff. Well, draw your own conclusion, I don't think so. Hate ran high against all collaborators. The guys were usually just shot or knifed, or maybe beaten until they were bloody and mangled. This often was done out in the woods or in a back alley by a "committee." Much more rarely, it was a ceremonial occasion, in which case the shooting or beating took place in the town square with plenty of attentive onlookers.
|French traitor executed for passing on information about allied troop movements to the Germans. World War 1. Everybody knew the consequences of collaborating, there were plenty of precedents.|
|A sketch drawn for the US Army 'Stars and Stripes' newspaper shows French Partisans executing male French collaborators in 1944 in Grenoble, France. Would you rather be shot - or shamed and forced to leave town forever? Not always an easy answer.|
|Herta Kašparová, hanged at the age of 23 in Czechoslovakia in 1946 for collaborating with the Germans.|
|Ans van Dijk on trial.|
Was This "Just"?Lest you think that the French were, oh, over-reacting or something about collaborators, well, they had some good teachers. The Germans ritualistically tied partisans to posts and shot them as spies without any fuss at all. They routinely hung female partisans, too. Death was swift and sure.
|The partisans were only following their teachers. This is the only photo of French Resistance fighters facing the firing squad at Mont Valerien outside Paris. This was probably taken at great personal risk to the photographer.|
Everyone pretty much agreed upon what should be done, there were no "grays" in a black and white world. Everyone knew or should have known the consequences of their acts, consorting with the enemy was something that you did at your peril. Especially in Eastern Europe, the victors meted out harsh justice to everyone.
|In the streets of Brignoles, angry French citizens publicly rebuke a woman who is suspected of having collaborated with the Germans. Women often were the most upset with other women who collaborated.|
|Members of the French resistance in Cherbourg shear the hair of women who collaborated with the Germans during the occupation.|
|Female French collaborator having her head shaved during the Liberation of Marseilles. Some of the onlookers appear quite amused.|
|A woman with a shaven head, accused of collaborating with the Germans during the German occupation of France, is marched away by a member of the French Resistance in a street at Chartres after the city's liberation. August 1944.|
|A French woman accused of sleeping with Germans has her head shaved by neighbors in a village near Marseilles. Note the large crowd of partisans.|
|In the Normandy village of Liesville, angry French patriots take hold of Juliette Audieve, thought to have been a collaborator with the Germans. It appears the two ladies standing casually by are also partisans.|
|Moments later, the two French patriots try to cut off the hair of Juliette Audieuve as punishment for collaborating with the German forces occupying France during World War II, Liesville, France, 1944. | Location: Liesville, Normandy, France.|
|There she goes under the scissors.|
|A collaborator being humiliated, with the usual crowd of people trying to be above suspicion.|