Les Parisiennes: how the women of Paris lived, loved and died in the 1940s

"Women were doing things just as brave and dangerous as the men": Anne Sebba talks to Matt Elton about her book exploring the stories of 1940s Parisian women – resistance members, collaborators and those simply trying to survive in an occupied city...

Singer Germaine Lubin in conversation with officer Hans Speidel at the German Embassy in Paris, 1941. (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

This article was first published in the August 2016 issue of BBC History Magazine 

In context

Following the defeat of France by German forces early in the Second World War, Paris was occupied from 1940–44. The absence of men from the city, many of whom had left to fight, meant that it was often women who had to make day-to-day decisions on how to respond to the occupiers. Some were involved in active resistance, some in minor acts of defiance and others in collaboration. After the liberation, many women accused of collaboration received demeaning punishments.

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