While France Suffered, Nazis Flocked to Brothels

By Erika Solomon,  Newser User
Posted May 1, 2009 1:05 PM CDT
This brothel scene was painted by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec%u2014a former patron of the luxurious establishments enjoyed by Nazi patrons.    (Wikimedia Commons)
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(Newser) – As France starved under Germany’s thumb, Nazi officers showered the mademoiselles of Paris’ finest brothels with cash, chocolates, and looted art. Such “horizontal collaboration” defined the golden age of French prostitution as described in a new book, the Daily Mail reports. The author argues that, far from engaging in wartime resistance, many women were enamored of the enemy, going so far as to learn German.

Nazi officers shelled out to a week’s pay to cavort in luxe homes, decorated with Toulouse-Lautrec murals and boasting champagne baths and chairs designed for enhanced sexual pleasure. The sex trade was so intense that not reporting a prostitute’s venereal disease meant facing charges of sabotage. But in 1940-1945 Années Erotiques, Patrick Buisson also recalls a darker side, including French women forced into the sex trade to survive.