2015 … a year of revelations … and shame … and regret … maybe …?

Collaboration. Collaborators. Collabos. I am sure that wherever there’s been a war or a conflict there were those who had collaborated with the enemy. For example, in South Africa, when the white government collapsed, those whites who had participated in apartheid through atrocious deeds, did a public mea culpa in a court of law and […]

Collaboration. Collaborators. Collabos. I am sure that wherever there’s been a war or a conflict there were those who had collaborated with the enemy. For example, in South Africa, when the white government collapsed, those whites who had participated in apartheid through atrocious deeds, did a public mea culpa in a court of law and were forgiven by the country’s new black rulers.

France has also had her share of collaborators.

I am referring to the collabos of the German occupation of France during World War Two. People – French people – who had collaborated with the victorious Germans: informed on their neighbors, colleagues, friends and families; who joined the French Gestapo, or the Milice and so on.

Some of them (men and women) have been dealt with – firing squad or guillotine, mostly firing squad as it was a much ‘neater’ way of execution – but those who got away have only until 2015 to continue to pretend that they had opposed the occupation. Because in 2015 – 75 years from the June 1940 start of the occupation – the contents of secret files which name collaborators and exactly what they had done, will be released. The contents of the files will be published. So, there will be many a great-granddad or great-grandmother who will have to explain to their admiring grandchildren how they had not blown up German troop trains, the story they had told them, but had in reality denounced those to the Gestapo who had indeed blown up the trains.

The French police have already begun to open files and to go through them to be ready for the publication of their contents in five years time.

I can already name a few collabos:

Marcel Dequeker, who was manager of the Théâtre de Nouveautés in Paris.

Jean Aimée Guélin, the theater’s co-manager.

Pierre Paul Péhu, sacked police commissioner and enthusiastic Gestapo torturer.

Marcel Chantin, who was director of the Banque Régionale Parisienne.

‘Captain’ Simonin who became a fifi – joined the French Forces of the Interior (FFI) on the August 1944 liberation of Paris. His real name was Soutif.

Lucien Larrogance, mayor of the commune of Tessancourt-sur-Aubette, close to Paris. (In 1944, three fifis beat him to a pulp and then gave him a final bullet in the head before they dumped his body in a wood.)

I can go on …

Lucien Romier who was one of the directors of the Paris daily, Le Figaro. He had, at the start of the occupation, become one of Pétain’s collaborationist Vichy government ministers. At the liberation of Paris he was no longer in the world of the living; he had died of a heart attack whilst waiting to have dinner with Pétain at a hotel in the town of Vichy.

And I can go on …

You will be able to read about all of these people, and still more, in my book DIE IN PARIS to be published in the US later this year.

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

6 Responses

7-4-2010 at 12:08:24

If these files are not to be released until 2015 how come the cops are going through them now?

7-4-2010 at 12:19:51

There are millions of files, Jo.

7-4-2010 at 13:37:12

Even so, they should presumably start in 2015 not now.

7-4-2010 at 14:24:16

No,Jo, it will take years to go through the files. There are denunciations, investigations, trials etc to study. It's being done by a group of police who will be working their way from region to region. It is an enormous task, believe me. And remember there was a collaborationist government and this means that in every town hall, every police station, in every court etc there were collaborators. France's police collaborated. In fact, France's entire legal machine collaborated – France's judges had to swear allegiance to Hitler. Then there were the ordinary people who denounced their neighbors etc as I mentioned in my blog. Or the bistro owner or the pharmacist or the teacher, baker or butcher who also collaborated. Renault, the car manufacturer collaborated – I mean the business did. Coco Chanel collaborated. Maurice Chevalier collaborated. France's rugby federation collaborated and for this reason it took years for rugby to become a respectable sport in France again. So you see there are tonnes of files to study.

7-7-2010 at 14:35:46

I didn't know you would be published, this is a cool news!

7-9-2010 at 22:40:33

There are also people told collabos who were not…

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Should you wish to contact me you can do so by email: marilyn@marilynztomlins.com