I recognize in thieves, traitors and murderers, in the ruthless and the cunning, a deep beauty – a sunken beauty… Jean Genet


Motivated no doubt by a desire to kill the necessary number of traitors and spare the rest French retribution at the end of WWII was swift and certain – including punishing the no longer desirable women who had been guilty of collaboration horizontal [which shows a decided lack of imagination on the part of the French].  This book tends to dither but the plain a simple fact in the end is that those who give aid and comfort to the enemy are traitors and deserve to be executed both for their particular crimes and as an object lesson.

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The collaborator: the trial & execution of Robert Brasillach Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000 Alice Kaplan World War, 1939-1945 Collaborationists France Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. xvi, 308 p.; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 237-287) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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On February 6, 1945, Robert Brasillach was executed for treason by a French firing squad. He was a writer of some distinction – a prolific novelist and a keen literary critic. He was also an acerbic opponent of French democracy, and editor in chief of the fascist weekly Je Suis Partout, in whose pages he regularly printed wartime denunciations of resistance activists.

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Was Brasillach in fact guilty of treason? Was he condemned for his denunciations of the resistance? Was it right that he was executed when others, who were directly responsible for the murder of thousands, were set free? Kaplan’s reconstruction of Brasillach’s life and trial skirts none of the ethical subtleties: a detective story, a cautionary tale, and a meditation on the disturbing workings of justice and memory, The Collaborator will stand as the definitive account of Brasillach’s crime and punishment.

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