Denounce the collaboration

Denounce the collaboration

  • Preparation of the exhibition on collaboration


  • Exhibition on collaboration, in Tunis


Preparation of the exhibition on collaboration

© O.F.I.C / The Caen Memorial

Exhibition on collaboration, in Tunis

© O.F.I.C / The Caen Memorial

Publication date: July 2016

Historical context

The "Kollaboration" exhibition.

In the city of Tunis liberated in May 1943, members of the organization Combat (the largest of the eight Resistance movements) and those of its press organ (Combat, subtitle the Journal de Paris) are no longer clandestine. They can continue openly their work of denouncing the Vichy Regime, Nazism and collaboration.

Thus, it is to their initiative that we owe the exhibition "Kollaboration" which was held there in June 1944 (and subsequently in other cities of North Africa on an itinerant basis) and to which the two photographs here studied relate.

Thought out in a fairly educational way, the exhibition is divided into different panels on which press clippings, images, quotes, diagrams and reproductions are pinned (or pasted) to illustrate and denounce the reality of the collaboration. Although basic and ultimately very simple in its implementation, “Kollaboration” attracts a relatively large audience. Above all, it has a very strong meaning: while the metropolis is still occupied by the Germans, we can here accuse those who support them in broad daylight.

By showing the images of such an event, these two shots provide insight into its nature, ideological orientation and the ends it pursues. Distributed by the newspaper itself (and others), these photographs (as well as the exhibition) influence consciences and representations, already anticipating the memorial, moral and political question of a historical judgment of France by it- even.

Image Analysis

Collaboration in themes

Preparation of the exhibition on collaboration and Exhibition on collaboration, in Tunis are two anonymous photographs, but most likely they were taken by a member of the newspaper.

The first shot shows the process by which the panels to be exhibited are arranged. In a fairly large room with a high ceiling (the stepladder on the left gives an idea), two middle-aged men (a Maghrebian and a Westerner) are busy on the large central table, occupied, it seems. he, meticulously glued cuttings from framed texts previously cut out on a black background, itself placed on a large panel. The small, regular shapes of the paper echo those of the black and white tiles, the squares adorning the walls and the panels, giving the impression of a work done with care, rigor and precision. This effect is further enhanced by the almost geometric composition of the image (the frame is sharp and well centered) chosen by the photographer. In the background and to the side, we see several of the "paintings" thus produced, on which the documents are presented in a more confused manner. They are topped with their titles and beneath them are slogans in white against black circles, which criticize the collaboration.

Taken in the same place (we recognize the patterns on the wall), Exhibition on collaboration, in Tunis is kind of a close-up on one of those panels. In the center, a quote from Pétain on a black background is highlighted. More disorderly, press clippings of all sizes (mostly text, a few photos) are hung there. Finally, we notice the reproduction of a yellow star (top right), a symbol of the racist policy of the Vichy regime.


Between pedagogy, denunciation and propaganda

The first image suggests that this exhibition was rigorously designed and prepared. It would not be a question of playing on emotion or indulging in passionate denunciation, but of doing a work of teaching in a rational and thoughtful way. If the finished rendering of the panels is more clutter, the fact remains that "Kollaboration" intends to rely on documents carefully selected and classified by theme. The purpose is framed to better witness and educate.

Without going into the details of all the elements that can be deciphered, it appears that those who set up the exhibition chose to refer to the positions of their enemies. These are mainly newspapers and collaborationist or Vichy comments (there is also a German one, visible on Exhibition on collaboration, in Tunis), presented without further comments. Pedagogy (showing what collaboration is) and denunciation should thus be done by themselves, as these documents speak for themselves.

However, the choice of titles and what we could call the montage (images, texts, etc.) as well as the formulas (Pétain kills for Stalingrad; Pétain recruiting sergeant for Hitler for example) evoke more the leaflet, and recall that the newspaper Combat is, like the Resistance movement which gave it birth, still struggling against these ideas and those who carry them. "Scientific" and intelligent though it is, the exhibition "Kollaboration "Is also a work of propaganda which aims to convince as much as to accuse. These two pictures therefore illustrate a way of fighting while making an act of resistance.

  • War of 39-45
  • Occupation
  • collaboration
  • Vichy regime


AJCHENBAUM, Yves-Marie, To life, to death. History of the newspaper "Combat", 1941-1974, Paris, Le Monde editions, 1994.

AZEMA, Jean-Pierre, New history of contemporary France, T. 14. From Munich to the Liberation, 1938-1944, Paris, Seuil, 2002 [1973].

AZEMA, Jean-Pierre and WIEVIORKA, Olivier, Vichy, 1940-1944, Paris, Perrin, 1997.

DELPORTE Christian, MARECHAL Denis (dir.), The media and the Liberation in Europe, 1945-2005, Paris, L’Harmattan, 2005.

MARCOT, François (dir), Historical Dictionary of the Resistance. Internal resistance and free France, Paris, Robert Laffont (Bouquins collection), 2006.

MURACCIOLE, Jean-François, History of Free France, PUF, coll. Que sais-je ?, Paris, 1996.

LEVISSE-TOUZE, Christine, North Africa in the war, 1939-1945, Paris, Albin Michel, 1998.

To cite this article

Alexandre SUMPF, "Denounce the collaboration"

Video: COLLABORATION IS THE NEW PARTNERSHIP: Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo Dbanj