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Collaboration horizontale

A woman's head is shaved as punishment for collaboration horizontale. Montélimar area, August 1944.

Collaboration horizontale, collaboration féminine or collaboration sentimentale (the French adjective sentimentale can be translated as "pertaining to a romantic relationship") was the (supposed) sexual intercourse that some French women had with members of the German invasion force after the Battle of France in 1940. This started to be considered a form of collaboration ca. June 6, 1944, the start of la Libération.

After the War, throughout France, women accused of collaboration were shaved bald.[1] In many of the ca. 20,000 cases, the women in question had only performed professional services for the occupying Germans, rather than being engaged in sexual relationships with them.[2] Due to the head-shaving in public spaces being used to punish women thought to be collaborators, and the presence of many foreign photographers in post-war France, thousand of photos exist of women being subjected to this peculiar punishment.[3]

"Collaboration horizontale" is believed to have produced 200,000 French babies with German fathers.[4] Since 2009, Germany offers these children of "the other bank of the Rhine" citizenship, after French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner had lobbied for their recognition.[5]

Depictions in film

In Hiroshima mon amour, the (unnamed) female protagonist is revealed to have been shaven as punishment for collaboration horizontale. This phenomenon has also inspired the 2010 film Collaboration horizontale.[6]


  1. ^ Fabrice Virgili (1995). "Les "tondues" à la Libération :le corps des femmes, enjeu d'une réaproppriation". Clio. Femmes, Genre, Histoire.
  2. ^ Marc Bergère (September 2004). "Tous les milieux sociaux ont été visés". Historia. Paris (693): 56–60.
  3. ^ Alison Moore, History, Memory and Trauma in Photography of the Tondues: visuality of the Vichy past through the silent image of women. Gender and History 17 (3), November 2005, 657-681.
  4. ^ Shapin, Stephen (20 September 2013). "Book Review: 'Brave Genius' by Sean B. Carroll". Wall Street Journal.
  5. ^ "Les "enfants de la guerre" reconnus par Berlin". Libération. 20 February 2009.
  6. ^ "Collaboration horizontale". IMDB.