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Shocking Photos Depict How French Women Were Punished In France For Collaborating With Nazis

At the end of World War II, French people accused some women for being collaborative with the occupying Germans were punished with humiliating acts, such as their heads where shaved in public and they were beaten. Some women were marched through the streets and shamed. The humiliating scenes often took place in front of jeering crowds as you can see in the photographs below.

A lot of committees, Resistance cells and French intellectuals protested against these public shaving because they were also punishing women, who did simple jobs like cooking, laundry, cleaning or other housemaid jobs for the Germans staying there. Some of these women had to pay the rent and food themselves to survive during wartime. Unfortunately, the resistance cells and committees only managed to keep these public shaving low in few regions of France.

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

#2 Civilians and members of the French resistance lead a female collaborator through the streets of Rennes after her head was shaven and covered with iodine. August 06, 1944.

#3 A French woman with a bloody face is forced to look at the camera while French soldiers do nothing.

#4 Two women, partially stripped, their heads shaved and with swastikas painted on their faces, are marched barefoot down the streets of Paris, to shame and humiliate them for collaborating with the Germans during the Second World War. August 27, 1944.

#5 A sobbing French woman with a swastika smeared on her face is paraded through the streets with civilians and a soldier.

#6 Two French patriots restrain a woman while another crops her hair after she has been accused of collaborating with the Germans during the occupation. January 01, 1945.

#7 A young woman has her hair cropped by French patriots who accuse her of collaborating with the Germans during the occupation. January 01, 1945.

#8 A group of Frenchwomen, who had been accused of collaborating with the Germans, stripped down to their underwear, some with heads shaved, as part of their public humiliation.

#9 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.

#10 A French woman collaborator and her baby, whose father is German, tries to return to her home followed by a throng of taunting townspeople after having her head shaven following the capture of Chartres by the Allies, August 1944. It appears that she is passing some women who suffered a similar fate.

#11 Soldiers cutting the hair of a collaborator on Bastille Day. August 12, 1944.

#12 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, 1944.

#13 A Frenchwoman collaborator and her baby with her mother followed by a throng of taunting townspeople in August 1944.

#14 A woman who collaborated with the Nazis has her hair cut as a sign of public disgust.

#15 A crowd jeers as a woman’s head is shaved during the liberation of Marseilles.

A crowd jeers as a woman’s head is shaved during the liberation of Marseilles.

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#16 A French woman accused of sleeping with Germans is attacked and her head has been shaved by her neighbors in a village near Marseilles.

A French woman accused of sleeping with Germans is attacked and her head has been shaved by her neighbors in a village near Marseilles.

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#17 Women with their tops torn off and swastikas scrawled with tar on their faces are paraded through the streets of Paris. Many other women were dragged through the streets naked.

Women with their tops torn off and swastikas scrawled with tar on their faces are paraded through the streets of Paris. Many other women were dragged through the streets naked.

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#18 A teenager is brutalized by a mob incited by communist ‘partisans’. Note she is being ‘painted’ by a French ‘artist’ at the bottom of the screen.

A teenager is brutalized by a mob incited by communist 'partisans'. Note she is being 'painted' by a French 'artist' at the bottom of the screen.

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#19 These two abused girls are little more than children!

These two abused girls are little more than children!

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#20 Brutalized women, their heads shaved, are loaded into the back of a truck. The ‘man’ behind them is holding a sign that says ‘collaborators’, but who is the real collaborator?

Brutalized women, their heads shaved, are loaded into the back of a truck. The 'man' behind them is holding a sign that says 'collaborators', but who is the real collaborator?

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251 Comments

    • That’s right. Many of these women prostituted themselves to German soldiers or were raped. Imagine being dragged into the street, shaved bald, and paraded naked in front of your neighbors because you took the wrong shortcut home from the market. It was also punishable to stop a person from talking on the street during occupation in Belgium, Italy, Norway and the Netherlands.

    • I was wondering if there was a lot of misogyny behind this, because they don’t say anything about men accused of being collaborators being punished. Also, it sounded like they could just accuse any woman and then go shave her head and beat her without repercussion.

      • Bro, at least do a little research before jumping to the “misogyny” conclusion. The women were publicly humiliated while the men were publicly EXECUTED. Over 10,000 in France alone were executed – more detailed info: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pursuit_of_Nazi_collaborators#:%7E:text=The%20French%20Minister%20of%20the,the%20number%20executed%20was%20105%2C000.

        I’m not saying that neither was A-OK or that the “punishers” were totally fair in what they did, but to suggest that male collaborators got away with lighter punishment because they were male is………. incorrect, to say the least.

        • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizontal_collaboration

          This page states that they were allegations, so they didn’t actually have to prove that these women did anything to shave their head, beat them, and parade them through town. Also, it says many of the women only performed professional services, which may be difficult to avoid when your country is being occupied. Why are putting misogyny in quotes like it didn’t exist in the 1940s?

          Your article never states that only male collaborators were executed, so it’s more than likely women faced the same punishments as men.

          And just to be clear, I’m not talking about or defending the actual Nazi supporters. I have no sympathy for those people. I was just wondering about how this could have been abused because it’s not like this went through court and had to be proven before they did this to the women.

          • Initially, it seemed that you were trying to have a sincere discussion, but now it seems that you’re trying to discredit me by putting words in my mouth. Therefore, I must respond to this poorly written comment:

            1) The word “allegations” can be used in a variety of contexts. It can be used in cases where no evidence exists that a person committed a crime, as well as cases where a person is undoubtedly guilty. You can read any news article. No matter how many times they are witnessed stabbing a victim to death, they are still “alleged” to be the murderer until they are proved guilty in court. So, your claim that the word “allegation” means that “they didn’t have to prove the women did anything” is nothing more than an attempt to make the punishers look like witch-hunters, using their power as males to attack poor women. The majority of the attacked women were almost certainly involved in a relationship with the Nazis that was considered inappropriate and “traitorous”. Did the retaliation (physical violence and shaming) make sense? Most likely not. However, do not portray it as some kind of manic witch-hunt where innocent women were assaulted. Be aware that both sexes were quite involved in this revenge act.

            2) The word “misogyny” is in quotes because it comes before the word “conclusion”. I wrote The “misogyny” conclusion. This is how words can be written in such contexts. Such as The infamous “Bonnie and Clyde” couple or The “self defense” plea. It is not that misogynistic behavior occurred during those times; misogyny has always existed and only gets worse during times of war (as does most other negative behavior). There is no misogyny here, as women do not receive unfair treatment in this case. Nevertheless, yelling “misogyny!” here is ridiculous. History is not taken into account in this argument.

            3) Since the article doesn’t state that women WEREN’T executed, it’s more likely that women faced the same punishments as men” – a horrendous instance of the “since A cannot be disproven, it must have happened” fallacy. You cannot find any historical evidence that women collaborators (who did nothing but sexual activities) with the Nazis were ever executed. History will never state that executions of women collaborators never happened, as that would be denying something without proper evidence. It is silly to expect them to do so, and it goes against historical documentation in general. Women collaborators may have been executed or murdered by someone with hatred against them – however, the lack of such case reports suggests that those cases were likely quite rare. Following the end of WWII, tens of thousands of male collaborators were tortured, battered, and murdered with pride. It was also common for them to be smeared with mud/feces and humiliated publicly.) If you find any historical evidence that many women “collaborators” suffered public executions at the hands of the “justice mob,” please let me know.

            Some of the “collaborators” were wrongfully punished, or were coerced/forced to “collaborate” by German soldiers (what a soulless way to describe “sexual harassment/assault”…). There were plenty who voluntarily “cooperated” with the Nazi side, for a variety of reasons.

            Here is a relevant wikipedia article discussing “horizontal collaboration”, basically “sexual” collaboration, during WWII. Please take a look if you have the time.

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizontal_collaboration

            Here’s a Dutch wiki article discussing the women who (voluntarily or not) had relationships with the Nazis. Also a good read.

            https://nl.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moffenmeid#

            • I was just discussing with the first person how misogyny could have contributed to the targeting of women, given that no proof was needed. After that, I was annoyed by your response. It came across as rude and dismissive of what I was saying. Whatever you think, I’m done.

        • Despite this, these images portray absolute humiliation and degradation, whereas execution is more direct and brief. Certainly male collaborators were held accountable, but executing men while leaving women alive to drag out some prolonged violent public shaming seems misogynistic.

      • Executed. Men were sentenced to jail or executed. Not prostitutes or rape victimes for the women, but women who.had a love affair with a German soldiers… Or refused to have a remationship with a résistant or “late jour” résistant (Aka Nazi collaborators who changed side at the last moment). My mom, who was 7 at thé end of thé war in Belgium, still remembers a red hair young woman being executed without trial. What you see in this picture is soft.

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