Unpublished pictures produced in new book title The Erotic Years
Previously unpublished pictures of French women cavorting and partying with Nazis have emerged, heaping fresh shame on the troubled wartime history of occupied France.
Images show women kissing SS officers in bars and cabarets, posing in bikinis on the beach and enjoying strolls under the Eiffel Tower.
The book, 1940 – 1945: Erotic Years by historian Patrick Buisson, is set to further embarrass the French who have never forgotten life living in close quarters with the enemy under the Vichy regime.
Despite more than two million Frenchmen being held in prisoner-of-war camps, the birth rate boomed in 1942 with an estimated 200,000 children born to Franco-German couples. Up to 30 per cent of births were illegitimate in some parts of Paris.
On June 14, 1940, the Hitler army marched into Paris and stayed for four years. Patrick Buisson, director of France’s History Channel, TF1 and an advisor to President Sarkozy, admits that much of what happened during occupation in France has been brushed under the carpet.
He told the Sunday Times: ‘We’ve had a difficult time facing up to what is not the most glorious page in our history.
‘A lot of what we are taught is mythology. The reality is that people adapted to the occupation.’
The photographs for Mr Buisson’s book were mainly found at car-boot sales and flea markets across Germany having mainly been taken by Nazi soldiers during their time in France.
During an exhibition of similar images in Paris a few years ago, the deputy mayor of the city said he wanted to be sick on seeing the pictures of well-dressed citizens shopping next to a market piled high with fruit and veg, giving no inkling of the wartime hardship France usually likes to complain about.
There was also a theory that French prostitutes were the first rebels against the invaders by refusing to service their needs. However many of the photographs show soldiers cuddling with women in brothels and clubs
Nazi officers took over control of the brothels and expected them to have high standards of hygiene.
Perhaps the most high-profile of Franco-German affairs was between the designer Coco Chanel and the dashing 44-year-old German officer, Baron Hans Guenther von Dincklage.
It was von Dincklage who arranged that Chanel, then 57, stay at the Ritz to manage her business – even though she had closed her designer stores at the beginning of the regime change.
She was recently accused of having worked for German military intelligence during the war.
Chanel was one of many celebrated personalities, including the singers Edith Piaf and Maurice Chevalier, the writer Jean Cocteau and the late president Francois Mitterrand, who remained in her native country following its occupation by German forces in the summer of 1940.
The aged Marshal Petain, who ran the Vichy government, was convicted of collaboration after the war.
He was originally sentenced to death for treason but this was changed to life imprisonment.
He was known to have shamelessly seduced younger staff during the war, while recommending the motto ‘work, family, country’ to the rest of the nation.