The French Who Fought for Hitler: Memories from the Outcasts

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Thousands of Frenchmen volunteered to provide military help to the Nazis during World War II, fighting in such places as Belorussia, Galicia, Pomerania, and Berlin. Utilizing these soldiers' memoirs, The French Who Fought for Hitler examines how these volunteers describe their exploits on the battlefield, their relations to civilian populations in occupied territories, and their sexual prowess. It also discusses how the volunteers account for their controversial decisions to enlist, to fight to the end, and finally to testify. Coining the concepts of 'outcast memory' and 'unlikeable vanquished', Philippe Carrard characterizes the type of bitter, unrepentant memory at work in the volunteers' recollections and situates it on the map of France's collective memory. In the process, he contributes to the ongoing conversation about memory, asking whether all testimonies are fit to be given and preserved, and how we should deal with life narratives that uphold positions now viewed as unacceptable.