Episode 15- Resistance and Collaboration in the French Basque Country

Episode 15 with Sandra Ott

Like most other Europeans, the Basques of southern France had to endure a puppet government and Nazi occupation during the Second World War.  What was it like to live under occupation?  How did Basque culture influence the ways in which French Basques both collaborated with and resisted the Germans?  For the third part of our series on the Nazis in Iberian history, Professor Sandra Ott takes an ethnographic approach to answering these questions, using the stories of individuals and families to reveal just how complex and difficult different individuals’ strategies for living under occupation could be.  Danger, duplicity and revenge are all themes in these real-life tales fit for a spy novel.

The Episode

The Guest

Sandra Ott is an Oxford-educated social anthropologist. She has done research in the French Basque Country for forty-two years. Her second book, War, Judgment, and Memory in the Basque Borderlands, 1914-1945, explores the experience of German occupation and resistance in four French Basque communities. Last year, she published Living with the Enemy: German Occupation, Collaboration and Justice in the Western Pyrenees, 1940-1948, an enthralling exploration of Franco-German relations in occupied France and the post-liberation trials of suspected collaborators. The narratives she creates are full of human folly.

Suggested Reading

  • Gildea, Robert.  Marianne in Chains: In Search of the German Occupation.  Pan Macmillan, 2002.
  • Guehenno, Jean.  Diary of the Dark Years, 1940-1944.  Oxford University Press, English translation 2014.
  • Kaplan, Alice.  The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach.  Chicago University Press, 2000.
  • Ott, Sandra.  “Cohabitation and Opportunistic Accommodation in Occupied France: A Test Case from the Western Pyrenees.”  French History 30, no. 3 (2016): 401-422.
  • ———.  Living with the Enemy: German Occupation, Collaboration and Justice in the Western Pyrenees, 1940-1948.  Cambridge University Press, 2017.
  • ———.  “Undesirable Pen Pals, Unthinkable House Guests: Representations of Franco-German Friendships in a Post-Liberation Trial Dossier and Suite Française.”  French Politics, Culture & Society 32, no. 1 (Spring 2014): 26-46.
  • ———.  War, Judgment, and Memory in the Basque Borderlands, 1914-1945.  University of Nevada Press, 2008.
  • Torrie, Julia S.  German Soldiers and the Occupation of France, 1940-1944.  Cambridge University Press, 2018.
  • Vinen, Richard.  The Unfree French: Life under the Occupation.  Yale University Press, 2006.
  • Werth, Leon.  Deposition, 1940-1944: A Secret Diary of Life in Vichy France.  Oxford University Press, English translation 2018.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s