For some of the French, the nightmare began after liberation.
During four years of German occupation, when 2 million Frenchmen were shipped off to German factories, many women found companionship and desperately needed financial support with soldiers of the Wehrmacht."Many of them were alone, their lives in full bloom," said Julien Girardin, 60, an antique dealer. "Some were mothers with families."
For the farmer or businessman, collaborating with the Germans often was the only way to survive. Many also made handsome profits.
For militiamen in the collaborationist Vichy regime, wearing the uniform was a way to fight communism and maintain some French control, or to hunt down Jews and send them to Nazi death camps.
When Paris was liberated Aug. 25, 1944, it all ended. Some collaborators were shot. Others were beaten, arrested or publicly humiliated.
Militiamen and businessmen who escaped summary street justice faced trial. Collaborating businesses were seized, including the automaker Renault, which was nationalized.
Many women were victims of brutal humiliation even if they were only rumored to have consorted with Germans. Their heads were shaved and swastikas were painted on their heads or breasts.
"I saw a convertible coming down the street. They stopped and there was a woman with her head shaved and a swastika on her forehead," said Colette Gerard-Burns, who was 21 and until then rejoicing in the liberation.
"There was a very distinguished gentleman who lived on the street, and he joined the others spitting on her. I was crying because it was horrible," she said, breaking down again from the memory.
Roundups became witchhunts.
Writer Sacha Guitry, arrested and questioned by Resistants, spent two months in jail before being released for lack of evidence.
Coco Chanel fled to Switzerland because a German general had been her lover, and didn't make her fashion comeback until 1954.