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

Horizontal collaboration (French: Collaboration horizontale, collaboration féminine or collaboration sentimentale) referred to the romantic or sexual relationship many French women had, or were alleged to have, with members of the German occupation force after the Battle of France in 1940. With the liberation of France from German occupation which began on June 6, 1944, women were often punished as collaborators with the German occupiers.

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 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 lobbied for their recognition.[5]

Depictions in filmEdit

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.