The scars inflicted on France by the Nazi occupation of 1940–44 – and, more to the point, by the collaboration of some of the French with the occupier – still run deep. For decades after the event ‘collabos’ were shunned in French communities. Now most of them are dead, but in some cases their children have been tarred with the brush of betrayal.
Attitudes, though, have never been black and white. After the purges of 1944–45, whose climax was the execution of the Vichy Prime Minister Pierre Laval and the sentencing to death (commuted to life imprisonment) of the 89-year-old Marshal Pétain, French society seemed to draw a veil over what, to put