Horizontal Collaboration

This is an interesting story:

Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg has issued an official government apology to Norwegian women who were mistreated over World War Two-era relationships with German soldiers.

Many of the Norwegian-German children were born in the German-administered Lebensborn (Fountain of Life) maternity facilities set up from 1941 by the Nazis in the country.

The women who had relationships with the soldiers became known by the nickname the “German Girls”, and were targeted for reprisals in Norway when the war ended – standing accused of betraying the country.

Punishments included being deprived of civil rights, detained or expelled from the country to Germany along with their children.

I have recommended Keith Lowe’s superb book Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of WWII before, and will do so again. He goes into substantial detail on the topic of the treatment of women in occupied countries who had relations with German soldiers, particularly in Norway:

The number of sexual relationships that took place between European women and Germans during the war is quite staggering. In Norway as many as 10 per cent of women aged between fifteen and thirty had German boyfriends during the war.

Regarding coercion, he has this to say:

On the whole European women slept with Germans not because they were forced to, or because their own men were absent, or because they needed money or food – but simply because they found the strong, ‘knightly’ image of the German soldiers intensely attractive, especially compared to the weakened impression they had of their own menfolk. In Denmark, for example, wartime pollsters were shocked to discover that 51 per cent of Danish women openly admitted to finding German men more attractive than their own compatriots.

The alt-right is fond of claiming western women support mass migration and open borders because they find their own menfolk emasculated, and any successful invader automatically becomes more attractive. The above paragraph would appear to support that argument (see also the young women who flock to refugee camps and immediately sleep with the residents). Lowe then describes the reprisals carried out on such women at the end of the war, which were particularly nasty in France and the Netherlands. Regarding Norway, he says this:

The study of Norwegian attitudes towards what they termed the ‘war children’ of German soldiers is a particularly rich area because, unlike in other countries, these attitudes are so well documented. In the aftermath of the war the Norwegian authorities set up a War Child Committee to consider what to do with such children.43 For a short time, therefore, the problem was openly discussed here in a way that it was not anywhere else in Europe.

There were good reasons why other countries didn’t want to talk about it:

In Denmark 5,579 babies were born with a registered German father – and undoubtedly many more whose German paternity was concealed. In Holland the number of children born to German fathers is thought to have been anything between 16,000 and 50,000.  In Norway, which had only a third of the population of Holland, between 8,000 and 12,000 such children were born. And in France the number is thought to be around 85,000 or even higher. The total number of children fathered by German soldiers in occupied Europe is unknown, but estimates vary between one and two million.

The treatment of children born of German fathers during the occupation of Norway included forced exile, being declared mentally unsound, and denied full citizenship and schooling. Given Norway is one of the more enlightened countries in Europe, one can imagine it was a lot worse elsewhere (in the Netherlands, some were killed outright at the end of the war). It’s hardly surprising national governments just buried the whole issue and moved on, but the impact on thousands of children must have been enormous.

There is also the question of whether the women deserved such treatment. In Norway at least, sleeping with a German soldier was not a crime, and the post-war laws were applied retroactively. As one girl complained, she was 19 and the Germans were the de facto government and had been for some time. Leaving aside the fact that teenage girls and women in their early twenties can hardly be expected to be immune from falling in love with whoever struts around town in the best uniforms, how was anyone to know the Germans were not going to be there forever? For much of the occupation it must have seemed that way to a lot of people; for how long were young women expected to wait for liberation?

The anger these relationships generated among the male population is understandable, and Lowe goes into detail on its origins. However, it’s hard to say with 70 years’ hindsight that all these women deserved to be abused, beaten, humiliated, and sometimes killed because of their relationships with German soldiers. Credit is due the Norwegian government for looking into this sordid episode of their past and issuing an apology, particularly as no other country dared even approach the subject. Surprisingly – or perhaps not, given their true intentions – the treatment of women following the liberation of Europe warrants nary a mention from feminists, outside of the mass rapes of the Red Army.

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58 thoughts on “Horizontal Collaboration

  1. @Matthew McConnagay on October 25, 2018 at 10:08 am

    Mrs Pcar is a Swede. She says they are still ashamed of how they capitulated to Germany in WWII, but understand why – not to was suicide for all.

    There was a brave “Resistance” who fought back and were supported by most..

  2. I don’t approve of this sort of long-ago forgiveness because it’s often hard to judge in context. We aren’t worried about becoming slaves, or dragging the Cohens off to a death camp if they get found. You’d want the Germans out if that was your situation. And you want them demoralised which means they don’t get to have sexual pleasure.

    Laws don’t really apply when you’re resisting an army. The law is the enemy’s law. But you have to decide which side you’re on and in general, women would be warned by other women for fraternising with the enemy.

    The aftermath to girlfriends, mistresses and whores was harsh everywhere. This wasn’t just Norway. Which is why I’m reluctant to judge it harshly. Everyone punished women who did this. Women knew it was against the opinion of society. Were there dissenting voices at the time? I doubt it.

    The only reason these forgivenesses happen is zero-cost virtue signalling. It’s irrelevant.

  3. ScotchedEarth – no need to flagellate yourself, it wasn’t clear enough. My mistake.

    Re: It Happened Here – Brits in general are a bit too smug about WW2. If if weren’t for the Channel, we’d have been in the same boat.

  4. Brits in general are a bit too smug about WW2. If if weren’t for the Channel, we’d have been in the same boat.

    Yeah, Lowe discusses this in his book, and the degree to which British political culture is shaped by having never been occupied is IMO vastly under appreciated. Lowe describes how there were a lot of waverers in the UK when the war was going badly, only once victory was in sight did the national narrative about standing firm and never wavering in the face of evil start taking shape. And a quick look around today’s political classes, many of whom supported the USSR, should dispel all notions that we’d not have had people queuing up to help the Nazis and ship Jews off to camps on the mainland.

  5. I remember watching a video by ‘Black Pigeon Speaks’ on much the same subject. His thesis was that women betray their country because they’re happy to spread their legs for the new conquerors. Ok, it was a but more nuanced than that, but not by much.

    What troubled me at the time was that no comparison was made with young men. No, I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about things like signing up to join the waffen-ss and fight in Russia, or volunteering to join the local gestapo, or joining the local Nazi party. This seems to me an act of betrayal very much comparable to bedding members of the local garrison, if not a worse act.

    Your quote says 16,000 to 50,000 babies were born to German fathers. Wiki says 25,000 Dutch men volunteered to fight in the Waffen-SS. These men probably did not receive a grateful welcome when they came home. I wonder when some politician will find it expedient to apologize for that.

    (Haven’t read all the comments yet – apologies if this has been mentioned already).

  6. …25,000 Dutch men volunteered to fight in the Waffen-SS. These men probably did not receive a grateful welcome when they came home. I wonder when some politician will find it expedient to apologize for that.

    Don’t hold your breath.

    It’s actually instructive in the finer points of the intersectional pecking order. Any reprisals against these men won’t require an apology, since they were Nazi collaborators and deserved what they got. But reprisals against female Nazi collaborators apparently do merit an apology. Ergo the Good Person points one attains for having a vagina outweigh the Bad Person points one attains for being a Nazi.

    This probably explains why Marine Le Pen has been more successful than her father, or why Ann Coulter can rush in where National Review fears to tread.

    Lowe describes how there were a lot of waverers in the UK when the war was going badly, only once victory was in sight did the national narrative about standing firm and never wavering in the face of evil start taking shape.

    I was thinking about this the other day.

    First, I might have been one of the waverers too: without the Americans, we couldn’t have done much more than defend ourselves. (Maybe not even that.) Meanwhile, Russia and Germany were as bad as each other and pretty likely to go to war. Might have been better to peace out while we had the chance, let them wear each other down, and declare war again a few years later at a more opportune time. (Added bonus: frees up resources to defend the eastern possessions, which, alright, we shouldn’t have had in the first place – but at the time the rubber, oil and money could’ve come in handy for war preparations.) With this in mind, Churchill might have been foolish to fight so soon.

    But, second: the story Britain tells itself about the war – “Very well, alone!” – “We shall never surrender!” – Churchill as faultless hero/Cassandra – it’s all very good for national spirit, morale, etc. Probably best to keep telling it, even if it isn’t really true.

    I dunno, idle thoughts, way off topic at this point.

  7. Just finished Pandora’s Box (by Jorn Leonhard). Very good, but he did write about the attitude to women sleeping with the occupiers (Germans in Belgium and northern France). It was taboo. It was collaboration with the enemy. treatment of such women was harsh.

    It would be some feminist who found excuses for such behaviour, wouldn’t it.

  8. @tolkein on October 27, 2018 at 10:58 pm

    Yep. As often said “Do not fratenise with the enemy”.

    In a war, these women chose to willfuly ignore for their own personal gain without considering consequences.

    Consequences bit back. They brought rejection on themselves. They are not owed an apology.

    For those who think they are, should May apologise to Lord Haw-Haw?

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