By 1942, Germany occupied much of Europe and its soldiers had settled in to the towns and cities. As you can expect, the war weary soldiers were ready to find comfort in the arms of a woman, and many women were willing to provide it. Often, it was just a matter of young women willingly entering into a relationship with the soldiers, but many of them did so for the perks they would receive, such as extra rations or quality food, access to forbidden luxury goods such as perfume and stockings, or freedom from certain restrictions. Its likely that many of these women were hoping to side with the eventual winners of the war.
It was a popular fad for women to dress up in the military uniform of the solider that they were spending time with. This image was found on a German POW.
Oddly enough, it was also popular for couples to switch clothes completely.
It is unknown whether this girl is posing in her father’s uniform or that of a lover, but she is wearing an officer’s (Untersturmführer) uniform. All that is known is that it is not her own, as women were not able to join SS units except as auxiliaries.
Here an off-duty Wehrmacht soldier spends the day with his in-country girlfriend, lounging at a pool.
This French girl was engaged to a German soldier, and followed him into this prison compound after his capture near Orleans by U.S. forces. She was likely safer in the prison than on the streets at this time (1944), as she would have been abused by the citizens for her behavior.
A Parisian women enjoys the day with a German solider. It’s easy to forget that most of the soldiers were just following commands and fighting for their country, and were not part of or even aware of the terrible things that were happening in many areas of the world.
It was common for French woman to go out to bars and night clubs and spend her time cavorting with SS soldiers.
To this point, these pictures have shown a lot of smiling faces. But once the war ended and Germany had been defeated, the wrath of fellow countrymen came down on the women who had collaborated with the enemy. After the liberation of France in 1944, the world cracked down on women accused of “collaboration horizontale”.
Here a Belgian women who had collaborated with the Germans are shaved, tarred and feathered and forced to give a Nazi salute.
This woman had her head shaved for her sexual relationship with a Nazi soldier.
This woman is also having her head shaved to the great amusement and pleasure of those watching.
These women had their heads shaved and are being driven through Cherbourg by members of the French resistance.
People wanted retribution for the war crimes and the concentration camps of Germany and her allies, and an easy way to find that was by torturing those who had aided them in any way.
After the capture of Chartres by the Allies, August 1944, this woman walks through the crowd holding her baby, who had a German father. Her head, along with many of those around her, had been shaved.
In Brignoles, angry French citizens hurl words and objects at a woman suspected of collaborating with the Germans. Woman who had avoided the enemy soldiers were especially brutal to those who had given in to temptation.
Another head shaving, this time by members of the French resistance in Cherbourg.
This collaborator is marched away by a member of the French Resistance in a street at Chartres after the city’s liberation in August 1944.
More women that were punished for their behavior.
These women know what is coming and are holding onto what their hair before the shears come out. In this picture, they are being led to prison to have their heads shaved.
These angry villagers shave the head of a woman near Marseilles.
Villagers surround Juliette Audieve, thought to have been a collaborator with the Germans, n the Normandy village of Liesville.
Moments later, they attempt to cut off her hair.
The first cut.
This woman gets a similar treatment with a crowd that is all too happy to deliver it.
The treatment of these women many be difficult to see and understand, but the people attacking them lost family members and friends and had their lives altered in a long a brutal war perpetrated by Germany and its allies. Their anger and resentment towards the woman that elected to fraternize with the hated enemy can easily be justified. And really, while the leering, jeering, and head shaving is demoralized and humiliating, it seems like it easily could have been much, much worse.