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Monthly Archives: April 2013

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“French women who befriended the Nazis, through coerced, forced, or voluntary relationships, were singled out for shameful retribution following the liberation of France.  The woman photographed here, believed to have been a prostitute who serviced German occupiers, is having her head shaved to publicly mark her.  This picture was taken in Montelimar, France, in 1944.”

“The punishment of shaving a woman’s head had biblical origins. In Europe, the practice dated back to the dark ages, with the Visigoths. During the middle ages, this mark of shame, denuding a woman of what was supposed to be her most seductive feature, was commonly a punishment for adultery. Shaving women’s heads as a mark of retribution and humiliation was reintroduced in the 20th century. After French troops occupied the Rhineland in 1923, German women who had relations with them later suffered the same fate. And during the second world war, the Nazi state issued orders that German women accused of sleeping with non-Aryans or foreign prisoners employed on farms should also be publicly punished in this way.”

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Photo by Toni Frissell. London 1945.
“I was told he had come back from playing and found his house a shambles—his mother, father and brother dead under the rubble…he was looking up at the sky, his face an expression of both confusion and defiance. The defiance made him look like a young Winston Churchill. This photograph was used by IBM to publicize a show in London. The boy grew up to become a truck driver after the war, and walking past the IBM offices, he recognized his picture.”