Gifts, Ambiguity, and Questionable Justice: The Trial of a Vichy Police Commissioner[*]
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As many historians of the Occupation have shown, collaboration and resistance are categories that require careful, critical use, given the ambiguity that so often characterized the behavior of individuals on the collaboration-accommodation-resistance continuum. As the trial dossiers of suspected collaborators and collaborationists so frequently reveal, people sometimes engaged in acts that could be interpreted as resistance and at other times behaved in ways that favored the Germans. Place-specific research that focuses on the ambiguities of human behavior during the Occupation has contributed greatly to our understanding of the choices people made and the factors that motivated them. Such local studies often reveal the extent to which the personal was inseparable from the political and at times completely nullified it. In this case study of one Vichy police commissioner in southwestern France, anthropological theories about gift-giving and hospitality elucidate the interplay between the personal and the political. Ambiguity, self interest, opportunism, and the often questionable justice of post-liberation judgments are other mainstream themes in the historiography of the Occupation. All four also recur in this examination of the choices made by police commissioner Pierre Mignard and the motives that guided his behavior. Finally, an analysis of the use of German prisoners of war and their interpreters as witnesses in post-liberation trials will assess their role in the court's judgment of Pierre Mignard.
Following Germany's victory in June 1940, France was divided into an Occupied and a Free Zone (Vichy). The Basque coast and inland foothills at once fell within occupied territory, while the easternmost Basque province of Xiberoa and adjacent Béarn came under Vichy administration. In November 1942, Germany occupied the Free Zone as well. Organized resistance groups formed in the towns and countryside of southwestern France, while pro-German, fascist associations attracted a core of extreme right-wing supporters, primarily on the Basque coast and in the Béarnais capital of Pau. During August 1944, resistance leaders faced the difficult tasks of maintaining order and ensuring that those suspected of collaboration with Germans were correctly brought to justice. As happened elsewhere in France, the process of liberation in the Basses-Pyrénées brought divisiveness, disorder, and confusion as the new government sought to prevent violence and to establish a system of justice for dealing with collaborators, collaborationists, and those guilty of lesser crimes. From October 1944 until early 1946, the Court of Justice in Pau assessed the criminality of suspected collaborators' actions, attitudes, and motives during the Occupation and delivered widely varying judgments.
As Philippe Burrin first showed so effectively, the French and the Germans often learned how to accommodate each other's needs extremely well during the Occupation. Their collaboration sometimes entailed a temporary working relationship between unequal partners who needed but rarely trusted each other. When prolonged, regular contact between French and Germans took place, however, complex relationships often formed, as both sides developed strategies for making the best of their circumstances. In the Pyrenean borderlands of southwestern France, such relations were also often further complicated by cultural and linguistic issues as the Basques, the French, exiled Spanish Republicans, Germans, and other foreigners came into contact, voluntarily and involuntarily, during the tumultuous years of occupation. As happened elsewhere in France, self-interest and opportunism often characterized relations between the occupiers and the occupied. As this case study shows, personal concerns almost always filtered through the political.
The Judgment of Pierre Mignard
From December 1941 until May 1943, Pierre Mignard served as principal private secretary to André Danglade, the police intendant in Toulouse whom the French double agent Robert Terres once described as "a dirty collabo." Mignard and Danglade established close, amicable relations with the regional head of the Gestapo, Captain Retzeck, and other high-ranking Nazis. The men dined together frequently in restaurants and private homes; they enjoyed regular aperitifs and participated in gift-giving and other gestures of social solidarity. The German consul general gave Mignard a leather wallet and a bouquet of flowers on his wedding day. Mignard received "Happy New Year" cards from Retzeck, including one in which the Nazi thanked Mignard profusely for his "precious collaboration" with him personally as well as with the Gestapo.
After the liberation, both Mignard and Danglade insisted that they had cultivated such close, friendly relationships with the Germans with only one goal in mind: to gain the trust of the enemy and the authority to negotiate with the Gestapo in order to defend the interests of French citizens.
When Mignard became police commissioner in the Béarnais market town of Oloron, he employed the same strategy and quickly established amicable relations with the local head of the Gestapo, Heinrich Sasse, and his young Austrian secretary-interpreter, Eleanor Hammer, known as "the Blonde." Mignard often dined with Sasse and visited him at home, usually three or four times a week. He also established a close friendship with a German spy called Holland, who also acted as an interpreter for German customs officers in Oloron. Holland operated across the Franco-Spanish frontier and gave Mignard information about Spanish communists in the area who were "likely to attack collaborators." Mignard also remained in touch with the Gestapo in Toulouse; they regularly sent him messages of friendship and bouquets of flowers. Owing to such friendly relations with the Gestapo, most local resisters deeply distrusted and avoided Mignard. But, through his brother-in-law, the police commissioner had links with one of the most celebrated resistance and intelligence networks in Toulouse, the Morhange Group. In June 1944, Sasse suddenly arrested his friend Mignard and sent him to prison in Toulouse, where the Gestapo questioned him about his brother-in-law and his knowledge of Morhange. The Germans released Mignard soon thereafter. Public opinion in Oloron maintained that Sasse and Mignard had staged the arrest to convince the Resistance that Mignard did not work for the Gestapo.
The Forces Françaises de l'Intérieur (FFI) arrested Mignard in August 1944 and, following interrogations about his alleged anti-national activities, the authorities interned him at camp de Noé until the prefect of the Haute-Garonne mysteriously released him in December. In June 1945, however, the police re-arrested the former Vichy police commissioner for having committed acts that threatened the national defense and which arose from Mignard's close social relations with the Gestapo.
In August 1945, the Court of Justice in Pau finally considered his case and observed that townspeople deeply disapproved of the police commissioner's passive attitude toward the German occupation and his refusal to participate in the Resistance, which public opinion attributed to his fear of dismissal by Vichy and of German reprisal. The court noted the close friendships Mignard had formed and maintained with the Gestapo in Toulouse; that Mignard had never received members of the Gestapo in his own home; that he had successfully diverted the Gestapo's attention away from a house used by the resistance group Morhange to store gasoline, ammunition and documents; and that Mignard had been in regular contact with that resistance group through his brother-in-law, but never gave any information about it to the Gestapo and had actually persuaded his friend Sasse to release certain resisters. Owing to his close, friendly relations with the Gestapo and with the German spy Holland, resisters in Oloron never trusted him. Yet his friends in the Oloron Gestapo, Sasse and Hammer, testified that Mignard had never denounced anyone to them.
The court considered Mignard's role in four main contexts: the ambush and killing of a French army officer by the Gestapo; Mignard's repeated attempts to get information about the names and addresses of resisters from a senior figure in the Resistance; Mignard's role in a Gestapo raid on the home of an Oloron resister; and his role in and responsibility for the arrest and deportation of another resister, de Riquer. The court decided that his "passive attitude" prevented him from taking actions that would have saved the army officer; that his intentions "had been good" when he tried to find out about local resisters; that it was by chance that he went to see the Oloron resister ten minutes before the Gestapo arrived; and that he was not responsible for the arrest and deportation of de Riquer. Although Mignard was clearly involved in all four matters, the Court of Justice in Pau acquitted him on the grounds of insufficient evidence and ruled that the "passivity" of his acts of collaboration did not give sufficient grounds for conviction. The court also judged that Mignard had not denounced anyone to the Germans and thus gave credence to statements made by the Oloron Gestapo agent befriended by Mignard.
The testimonies of both French and German witnesses taken during the pre-trial process enable a partial reconstruction of the relationships Mignard formed with people actively engaged in resistance and with the Gestapo during 1943–1944, and his reasons for doing so. The narrative which follows is based upon classified files in the departmental archives of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques in Pau. These include interrogations of the accused by the police and the court; depositions by witnesses for the prosecution and the defense, including a lengthy one by the Gestapo secretary-interpreter, Eleanor Hammer; and a short testimony by Sasse. When used as historical evidence, such material is always subject to certain problems of interpretation and credibility. Statements made to the authorities should not always be taken at face value. Yet when used judiciously, classified files often provide a rich ethnographic resource that enables an ethno-historian to reconstruct not only the circumstances that led to the purge trials, but also the social, economic, and political relations that brought the French together and often pitted them against each other as they formed a wide web of relationships with the Germans and other foreigners in their midst.
Witnesses for the Prosecution and the Defense
The government prosecutor in the Court of Justice accused Mignard of acts harmful to the national defense and attacks against the security of the state. He argued that Mignard was indirectly responsible for the ambush and killing of a French army officer by the Gestapo, for the arrest and deportation of a local resistance leader, Jean de Riquer, and for endangering the lives of other resisters. The ill-fated army officer had unwittingly paid one of the Gestapo's main informers, Del Estal, to take him across the Pyrenées to Spain. Del Estal was a clandestine guide widely suspected by local resisters to have betrayed numerous patriots. Well-known to Vichy authorities, the informer was an unscrupulous exiled Spaniard whose behavior was largely guided by extreme opportunism and self-interest. When the Spaniard and army officer took a room in a local hotel late at night, the hotelier alerted a policeman to warn Mignard about the dangerous situation, fearing that Del Estal had set a trap. The policeman rushed to Mignard's home and was deeply shocked when Mignard told him to "let the matter drop" and went back to bed. In a vain attempt to warn the army officer about Del Estal, the policeman returned to the hotel, only to find that the officer had left with the Spaniard. The Gestapo ambushed the officer a few kilometers from Oloron. In one post-liberation deposition, Mignard insisted there was nothing he could have done. "I didn't think that they would go to the frontier that night, given that Oloron is fifty kilometers from Spain. I decided to address the situation very early the next morning."
In the case of the local resistance leader, de Riquer, Mignard had tried numerous times to establish contact with him during 1943–1944; he finally persuaded the wary resister to meet in a remote field outside town. Mignard warned him that the Germans were planning to attack the local maquis; but as the men cycled back into town, Mignard sped ahead some twenty yards and suddenly whistled. Two Germans emerged from a building and pursued the resister, who managed to escape. Two days later Sasse arrested de Riquer in an Oloron supermarket and interrogated him about the delivery of five hundred ration tickets. Riquer was deported to Dachau. Fearing retaliation by the Resistance, Mignard and his wife took refuge in Pau. As the liberation approached, Mignard hastily formed a local resistance group which never became active.
An inspector in the Vichy intelligence service testified that Mignard "was on good terms with the Gestapo in Toulouse" and that resisters suspected him of collaboration as soon as he arrived in town. During pre-trial testimonies, the inspector recalled: "I told Mignard that I could easily get letters into Spain, given the nature of my work; and he came one day with a letter addressed to one of his German relatives who lived in Spain. Since I distrusted him, I told him I could not deliver the letter after all." A commissioner in the Vichy intelligence service in Bourges testified that Mignard himself spoke of his very friendly relations with the Gestapo, especially with Retzeck in Toulouse. On numerous occasions, Mignard asked the commissioner about getting to know members of the local resistance. The commissioner also testified that Mignard once warned him of an impending Gestapo raid.
Another witness had worked with the German control commission overseeing local industry; he testified that Mignard had had an agreement with the Toulouse police chief, André Danglade, to obtain useful information from the Gestapo that might aid patriots under arrest. "Mignard told me how greatly burdened he felt by having to socialize with the Germans so often. His sentiments were très français," the witness recalled. By contrast, a security police commissioner considered Mignard un mauvais français who was "always in and out of the Gestapo's office. My impression was that his visits were not always motivated by duty. He spent long evenings socializing with Sasse." By contrast, Danglade testified that Mignard had saved the lives of several French officers and had acted under his orders to socialize with the Germans. Under suspicion of collaboration with the enemy, Danglade was himself arrested in October 1944.
During interrogations by post-liberation authorities, Heinrich Sasse gave limited responses to questions about Mignard's relations with the Gestapo in Toulouse and claimed that Mignard had come to his headquarters in Oloron only four times between September 1943 and August 1944. He testified:
By January 1945, Sasse was still in the Pau prison and wrote to the judge who often presided over the Court of Justice there:
By contrast, the young Austrian secretary-interpreter, Eleanor Hammer, gave the police a very lengthy account of her involvement with the Gestapo. After having gained German citizenship in 1939, Hammer studied French in Vienna for a few years and began to work as an interpreter for the Gestapo. In 1943 they transferred her to Oloron, where the Gestapo's primary objective was to interrogate suspect individuals and to gather intelligence about local resisters and their supporters. Hammer talked extensively about the Gestapo's mission in southwestern France and their relations with Mignard, as well as gave detailed information about the nine principal informers Sasse used to gather intelligence. Hammer also gave detailed descriptions of Gestapo personnel under Sasse's command, including comments on atrocities committed by his predecessor: "Our former boss committed atrocities during interrogations. I often saw prisoners return to their cells covered in blood. He had a habit of hitting them with a belt or a baton, but he never used any instruments of torture. Sasse used his fists and baton. I never beat anyone." When the police questioned Hammer about violence she herself had committed during interrogations, she denied having ever filed the teeth of a detainee in order to force a confession. When asked about the chief accomplishments of the Gestapo in Béarn, Hammer listed the names of fifteen people whom they had arrested, their crimes and, in some instances, their denouncers.
When asked about Mignard, she recounted some of his experiences with the Gestapo in Toulouse and described the gifts, flowers, and messages of friendship he had received from them. Hammer recalled occasions when Sasse and Mignard met in the Nazi's private quarters, but claimed she did not know what they discussed, although she once overheard Mignard mention the location of the local maquis. In her lengthy depositions, Hammer gave the authorities the names, nationalities, and professions of the Gestapo's nine main informers, and details of their compensation. Hammer repeatedly denied that Mignard had ever acted as an informer. Like many Vichy officials, German POWs and their interpreters often used the "double game" to defend themselves in post-liberation France, i.e. they may have worked for the Germans but they also saved the lives of resisters. Hammer did not make that claim, but she clearly hoped for leniency by identifying informers and turning in torturers.
Like many other French citizens in a similar situation during the process of liberation, Mignard told the judge that he had established amicable relations with Germans "only in order to gain their trust" and to make them amenable to suggestion so that he could defend the interests of "patriots" more effectively. When questioned about the "Happy New Year" greetings he received from the Toulouse Gestapo, Mignard said that such messages were routinely sent by the Germans to the office of the police chief and that Danglade had also received one. In the message, the Gestapo officer wrote: "Very honorable M Mignard, I personally extend my best wishes to you for the New Year. I thank you for your precious personal collaboration as well as for services rendered to us. I am sure that 1943 will bring you happiness and success. Your very devoted Retzeck."At his trial, Mignard insisted that those words—"precious collaboration"—did not mean he had "ever rendered exceptional service to the Germans"; the words, he argued, "were no more than a simple form of politesse." The former Vichy police commissioner also said that he had kept the note "thinking that it might prove useful in case of arrest by the Gestapo of Oloron."  The interplay between the personal the political took an interesting twist in his reasoning.
In his second deposition, Mignard talked at length about his relationship with the German spy Holland.
What happened to the Germans whom Mignard befriended? The fate of his Gestapo friends in Toulouse is not yet known. But records show that the FFI arrested Heinrich Sasse, his Croatian deputy, his German chauffeur, and his Austrian secretary-interpreter, Eleanor Hammer, as the group attempted to cross the border into Spain on the eve of the liberation. In May 1945, all four of them were accused of espionage, treason and endangerment of external security. In April 1946, Hammer and Sasse were accused of having tortured numerous resisters. A military tribunal found them guilty of "violence against patriots," sentenced Hammer to two years in jail and imposed a one thousand franc fine. Sasse received a five-year prison sentence and was fined six thousand francs. Holland committed suicide during an ambush by resisters as he attempted to cross into Spain on the eve of liberation.
Gift-Giving, Gratitude, and Hospitality
The acquittal of Pierre Mignard seems surprisingly lenient, given his highly dubious behavior when the lives of "patriots" were at stake and his status as a Vichy police commissioner. Post-liberation authorities attached great importance to the purge of policemen who had collaborated with the Germans, for failure to do so threatened to discredit the new government in the eyes of the Resistance and general public. Mignard's acquittal is also surprising given his propensity to socialize with the Gestapo, the embodiment of German brutality. Although Mignard's profession entailed a measure of enforced cohabitation and structural accommodation with the Germans, he not only freely associated with the Gestapo; Mignard crossed critical thresholds in Franco-German relations that blurred the boundaries between occupier and occupied, victim and victimizer, friend and enemy. He engaged in the friendly, generous reception and entertainment of committed Nazis.
Hospitality and commensality are often regarded as the epitome of human community. Classical anthropologists such as Claude Lévi-Strauss argue that the link between morality and reciprocity is particularly evident in hospitality and food-sharing. In rural western European societies, hospitality is often still related to reciprocity and mutual exchange. "Just as strangers may need you, you might need them at some other time, and therefore you should offer them hospitality." The departmental archives of the Basses-Pyrénées show that such logic was often put into practice by Germans and French in the region. Inviting Germans to one's own table entailed a far greater commitment than dining or drinking with them in cafés and restaurants. Inviting the enemy into one's home meant treating the enemy as a guest. The act thus skewed the symmetry between occupied and occupier and contained an expectation of reciprocity, as well as an element of gratitude.
In his depositions, Mignard insisted that he had never invited Germans into his home but admitted to accepting German hospitality in their villas, an act that some French found less repugnant than offering hospitality in the private domain of one's home. By sharing food and wine, guest (Mignard) and host(s) (the Gestapo officers Sasse and Retzeck) established a bond; commensality and hospitality led to the formation of social ties and to a measure of solidarity, as the social distance between host(s) and guest decreased with increased familiarity. Extending hospitality to a stranger entails a fundamental recognition and acceptance of the Other and, as such, "can be seen as the basis of morality." As happened in other cases I have explored, regular Franco-German commensality often dispelled reciprocal uncertainty between hosts and guests. Cordiality demanded cordiality in return if both parties hoped to maintain a useful level of solidarity and access to information. Although Pierre Mignard claimed he entered into such sociable relations with the Gestapo only to help patriots, he clearly allowed the personal pleasure of indulgence in food and alcohol to become intermixed with the political, which in his case entailed considerable ambiguity as he variously engaged in acts that spanned the collaboration-accommodation-resistance continuum. The shades of gray in which he operated during 1943–1944 strengthen historians' conclusions about the ambiguities of human behavior during the Occupation.
Pierre Mignard also received gifts from the Gestapo. Gifts can serve as instruments of power, status, and honor. In Marcel Mauss' classic interpretation of the gift, every gift given is based upon the principle of "I give so that you give in return." Giving a gift (whether material or non-material) requires the receiver to reciprocate with a counter-gift. The exchange of gifts and services entails the mutual recognition of both the giver's and the receiver's worth as a human being; such recognition in turn provides a moral basis for solidarity. By regularly sending messages of friendship and bouquets of flowers to Mignard, the Gestapo in Toulouse not only maintained social ties with him; their gifts morally obliged Mignard to return "the gift" in an appropriate form and established mutual recognition of human worth. The same principle operated in Mignard's regular acceptance of hospitality from Sasse. Theories of gift-giving and hospitality provide an analytical framework for understanding the motives of French and Germans who established and maintained social ties during the Occupation. In some instances, genuine affection and power inequality motivated reciprocity and established social solidarity between the occupied and occupiers. Instrumentality (self-interest and competition) also figured prominently in such relations, without necessarily giving rise to friendship. Pierre Mignard was attracted to the power and status of the Gestapo and the German agent Holland, and he seemed to admire them. He was also an opportunistic coward whose close associations with Germans were often deliberate and voluntary. Self-interest and self gratification played a key role in the choices he made.
What "gifts" did Pierre Mignard give to the Gestapo? Statements in his dossier strongly suggest that he gave the Gestapo information about local resisters. Such information constituted a special kind of "gift" during the Occupation, and the Germans generally paid their informers well, not only in cash but also through generous acts of hospitality. But the relationship between the gift-giver and the receiver was always a dangerous one during those difficult years; it was always full of risk and ambiguity, even when the food, wine, and flowers temporarily created an ambience of agreeable sociability.
The case of Pierre Mignard brings into question the justice of post-liberation judgments, a mainstream theme in studies of the Occupation and its aftermath. Judges and juries paid close attention to both the personal and the political in relationships formed by suspected collaborators. In this particular trial, the accused received a surprisingly lenient sentence that can only be fully understood after further research in the archives and period documents generated by the Resistance, local and departmental liberation committees, and the local and regional press in an attempt to discover—among other things—the composition of the court that tried Mignard and its members' political affiliations. The acquittal is also surprising because the Court of Justice in Pau usually gave considerable weight to the personal, so often embedded in the hospitality, goods, and services exchanged by the accused and the Germans. The court often gauged the quality and closeness of Franco-German relations by the frequency of Franco-German commensality, its location (in public or private spheres), the circumstances that led to an offer and an acceptance of hospitality, and the degree of familiarity it engendered. Mignard socialized freely and often with the Gestapo in Toulouse and Oloron. Hospitality and the commensality it entailed reduced the social distance between him and the Germans. Yet in this particular trial, the court attached far less importance to the personal than it usually did and focused on testimonies by Mignard's two Gestapo friends, Heinrich Sasse and Eleanor Hammer, who played down the personal and emphasized one key political factor that greatly shaped the court's final judgment: they testified that Mignard never denounced anyone to them.
Why did a Court of Justice give such credibility to those Gestapo witnesses? In Pau the court often used German POWs and their interpreters during the process of discovery preceding the trials of suspected collaborators. Although the court sometimes dismissed evidence provided by the enemy as inconclusive or dubious, judges and juries appear to have given credence to such testimonies more often than not. In this particular case, the court that judged Pierre Mignard did not have access to the information about Sasse and Hammer that later led to their prison sentences some eight months after Mignard's trial.
The case of Pierre Mignard is absorbing because of his close, amicable relations with the Gestapo and his sentence, which seemed lenient in comparison to others delivered by the same court and the same judge. Moreover, mainstream themes in studies of the period emerged frequently, such as ambiguity, self interest, opportunism, and the often questionable justice of post-liberation judgments. Pierre Mignard epitomized the gray area on the collaboration-accommodation-resistance continuum. Although the court placed him on the collaboration end of that continuum (which was of course not recognized at that time), his actions did not always correspond to behaviors associated with that category. The case was also intriguing because of the gift-giving, hospitality and commensality involved in these particular Franco-German relationships. Such acts of social solidarity are a means of gauging the social distance between the French and the Germans and understanding the quality of relationships they formed, as the Court of Justice observed. Such acts are instructive about the interplay between the personal and the political and form an important part of the ethnography of the Occupation.
I wish to thank the Scholarly and Creative Activities Grant Program at the College of Liberal Arts, University of Nevada, Reno, for having generously funded the research upon which this article is based.
Philippe Burrin, La France à l'heure allemande 1940–1944 (Paris: Seuil, 1995); Robert Gildea, Marianne in Chains, In Search of the German Occupation (1940-45) (London: Macmillan, 2002); H. R. Kedward and Roger Austin, eds., Vichy France and the Resistance (Totowa: Barnes & Noble Books, 1985) and In Search of the Maquis: Rural Resistance in Southern France (1942–1944) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), among others.
This article is largely based upon classified documents (file 30W38) in the departmental archives of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques (hereafter AD P-A, formerly the Basses-Pyrénées) in Pau. In response to the stipulation by the archives that the privacy of individuals and their families should be respected, I have changed the names of all individuals unless their activities are already documented in published sources. Information in this paragraph is from AD P-A, 30W38: "Exposé des faits," Cour de Justice, Pau (document not coded or numbered), 31 August 1945.
Michel Goubet and Paul Debauges, Histoire de la Résistance, Haute-Garonne (Cahors: Milan, 1986), 67-70. Specializing in counter-espionage and direct action against the Gestapo and collaborators, the "Morhange Group" received money and orders from Paillole (head of military security in Algiers).
AD P-A, 30W38: testimony of 8 September 1944 by Sasse to Serge Griffet, police commissioner; testimony of 9 March 1945 by Sasse to Raoul Michel, police commissioner in the general intelligence service; testimony of 20 August 1944 by Hammer to Raoul Michel, police inspector in territorial surveillance; testimony of 9 March 1945 by Hammer to Raoul Michel, police inspector in the general intelligence service.
AD P-A, 30W38: ref. 8680/2D, note on Mignard of 20 June 1944, which also indicated that Mignard's wife Pepita might have been an agent or informer for the German representative of German industry in Spain.
AD P-A, 30W38: testimony of 15 May 1945, by G.G., cc. 11731B, no. 2650, Toulouse. He found the "Happy New Year" cards to Mignard from the Gestapo chief, Retzeck, when he examined papers in Mignard's desk at the liberation.
AD P-A, 30W38: documents 1 and 2 (not coded). The right-wing Béarnais politician and co-founder of Alliance, Loustaunau-Lacau, was among those arrested by Sasse. Alliance was one of France's largest intelligence and escape networks during the Occupation.
Peter Novick, The Resistance Versus Vichy: The Purge of Collaborators in Liberated France (New York: Columbia University Press, 1968), 83. The departmental archives and anthropological field work have revealed numerous cases in which the police actively aided or participated in the Resistance. Martin, Résistances en Haut-Béarn, 147, cites Mignard's close relations with the Gestapo alongside another local policeman who actively took part in resistance activities. Louis Poullenot, Basses Pyrénées occupation liberation 1940–1945 (Biarritz: J & D Editions, 1995), 242-43, gives an account of resistance and sacrifice by a Béarnais brigadier in the gendarmerie who was brutally murdered by the Gestapo.
See Sandra Ott, "The Informer, the Lover and the Gift Giver: Female Collaborators in Pau 1940–1946," French History, 22, no. 1 (2008), 94-114, for a detailed account of a Franco-German friendship and epistolary exchange.