Je pense, de toutes mes forces, que la justice et la vérité comptent plus que n’importe quel intérêt politique.

To meet Germaine TILLION

1) Main dates

1934 Higher education in Paris in various subjects, major in ethnology, supervised by Marcel Mauss.

1934–1940 Four long periods of field-research in ethnography in the Aurès region (Algeria).

1940–1942   Upon returning to France, organizes at once one of the first Resistance network, le Réseau du Musée de l’Homme-Haüet-Vildé.

1942–1945 Arrested by the German Counter-Intelligence police.  In prison in France for 14 months, then  sent to the concentration camp of Ravensbrück (near Berlin) for a year and a half

1946–1954 Publishes the first version of a book on Ravensbrück (1946). Participates in Hamburg (1946),  then Rastatt (1949) at the trials of the SS staff of Ravensbrück. Investigates Nazi and, with the CIRC  “Commission Internationale Contre le Régime  Concentrationnaire »,

(International Commission Against Concentration Camp). Stalinist  systems of concentration camps.

1955–1956 During the War of Independence of Algeria, as an adviser to the General Governor of Algeria,  she creates the Service des Centres Sociaux.

1957–1962 Active in the fight against terrorism, torture  and capital punishment, undertakes a negotiation  with the Algerian fighters.  Publishes several books and many articles on the situation in Algeria.

1958 : Elected Director of Research at the Ecole pratique des Hautes Etudes-VI Section (later Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales).She’ll teach there till 1977.

1959 :As an adviser to the Minister of Education, she establishes fellowship programs for Algerian  students and develops education programs in the French prisons.

To the very last, she supports minorities, migrants, slaves… and condemns torture and oppression of  women.

1962–1974 Several ethnographic missions in the Maghreb (among the Maures and, since 1968, the  Touaregs). At the request of the WHO, undertakes an investigation on the situation of women in  ten developing countries. Publishes Le Harem et les cousins (The Republic of cousins, 1966)

1999 : Awarded the Grand-Croix de la Légion d’honneur (the most prestigious French award)

2000–2005 Publishes five new books.

2007: For her 100th birthday, the operetta that she has secretly written in Ravensbrück is played at a  theater in Paris.

2008 April 19th, dies at home. Funeral in presence of President Sarkozy.

2015 May 27th. On the authority of President Hollande, Germaine TILLION enters the Pantheon with her friend Geneviève de Gaulle Anthonioz and two other heroes of the Resistance.

2) Biography

1907-1934 :  childhood and education : Germaine Tillion was born on the 30th May in Allègre in the Haute-Loire region and grew up in a loving and cultured family environment, infused with the values of Catholicism and republicanism.  Her father Lucien was a Justice of the Peace who was a keen photographer and accomplished amateur musician.  In collaboration with his wife Emilie Cussac, he compiled the “Guides bleus” travel series.  Surrounded by music and books, as a young girl Germaine Tillion already demonstrated a tireless curiosity for the world around her.

She went to boarding school in Clermont-Ferrand and in 1922 she joined her parents in Saint-Maur on the outskirts of Paris.  Her father died when she was 18 years old, leaving her mother to carry on the work on the “Guides bleus”.  Germaine Tillion assisted her mother in these endeavours while also undertaking an educational path that would lead her to studies at the Ecole du Louvre (archeology, pre-history, history of art), the Sorbonne, the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Celtic studies, French folklore), and finally the newly-created Institut d’Ethnologie from which she would receive her diploma in 1932.  It was here that she followed the courses of the famous ethnographer Marcel Mauss who would become her thesis supervisor.  This sampling of such a wide variety of disciplines revealed a personality eager to quench her thirst for understanding the human condition from a multitude of perspectives.

At the same time, she led the life of a young woman open to the world and fully engaged within it.  Her friends, and those of her sister Françoise, liked to gather at the family home in Saint-Maur, in the company of their mother Emilie.   She attended the theatre and exhibitions, swam, canoed, camped – all experiences which would serve her well later on. She took trips abroad, notably to Königsberg in Eastern Prussia, and returned with enduring impressions of Hitler’s popularity and the rise of Nazism.

1934-1940 : ethnographer in the Aurès

In 1934, on the recommendation of Marcel Mauss, Germaine Tillion was recruited by the London-based International Institute of African Languages and Civilizations for an ethnographic mission in the Aurès, a mountainous region in the east of Algeria, inhabited by a Berber tribe, the Chaouïa.

The French representative of this Institute, Henri Labouret, former governor of the colonies, defined the mission’s objectives as both sociological and ethnological: namely, to better understand the customs, beliefs, laws and practices of the inhabitants of the Aurès, and to systematically collect artifacts.

Thus it was that, on the supposition that women would more easily be admitted into this Muslim society, two women were chosen for this mission:  Thérèse Rivière, responsible for the “Départment Afrique blanche et Levant” at the MET (the Musée Ethnographique du Trocadéro of which her brother, Georges-Henri Rivière was the deputy-director) and Germaine Tillion.  Tillion was at first disappointed by her designated destination: she saw herself somewhere more distant and exotic – certainly not within the confines of a French “département” as the Aurès was at the time.

Germaine Tillion and Thérèse Rivière left for Algiers in December 1934, heavily laden with their research accoutrements and a very ambitious mission agenda. Very soon after their arrival in the Aurès, each woman settled into their respective research activities, working sometimes independently, sometimes alongside each other.  Thérèse Rivière, already experienced in museum curation, traveled the region with an eye to the collection of objects and a detailed documentation of the material culture of the Chaouïa.  For her part, Germaine Tillion studied the system of kinship, myths and social life. She installed herself within the society of the Ah-Abderrahmane of the hamlet of Kebach, in the douar of Tadjemout – a poor and remote part of the Aurès, in her words “the furthest away from the representatives of  order”, fourteen hours by mule from Arris, the closest administrative centre.

During her successive missions, from 1934-1937, and again in 1939-1940, she  accompanied this semi-nomadic tribe on their seasonal journeys.  She followed the pilgrimage which, every summer, traveled the 200 kilometers to the summit of the mountain of Djebel Bous.  With Thérèse Rivière, she attended marriage, circumcision and other ceremonies.  And she assiduously traced the genealogy of each of the local families.  She came to know, and enjoy cordial relations with, the region’s inhabitants and to acquire in-depth knowledge of many aspects of Chaouïa society: the relations between the sexes, the status of women, the rules of heredity,  tribal and family lineages, myths and beliefs, economic life and its material underpinnings.

From spring 1937 to summer 1939, she returned to Paris and attended the courses of Marcel Mauss and Jean Marx, and  improved her grasp of the Berber language under the tutelage of linguist Emile Destaing at the Ecole nationale des langues orientales. She also made the acquaintance  of Louis Massignon, renowned professor in the history of religion, who would become her second thesis supervisor and a life-long close friend. She returned to the Aurès from August 1939 to May 1940 to complete her research. In 1939, she obtained a diploma from the Hautes-Etudes with a dissertation entitled “The morphology of a Berber republic: the nomadic Ah-Abderrahman of the southern Aurès”, an exhaustive study of this tribe’s institutions and families. Tillion envisaged that this subject would become the basis of an eventual doctoral dissertation but the 700 pages she had written for this end, alongside vital research material, would be lost forever following her deportation to Ravensbrück.

1940-1954: Resistance and Deportation

On return from her final mission in Algeria, Germaine Tillion learned of the routing of the French army, and with her family left the capital joining others fleeing the advance of the Germany army. On 17th June, she heard on the radio Marshall Pétain’s demand for an armistice.  She was later to say that so violently did she experience the shock of this capitulation that she was physically sick.  She immediately rejected the idea of capitulation and any politics of collaboration and upon returning to Paris was determined to seek out like-minded citizens ready to “faire quelque chose” (“do something”) - according to the expression of the time.

Soon after, she met a retired colonel, Paul Hauet, who had founded an association ostensibly to see to the welfare of prisoners of war from the colonies, but under whose cover was also organized acts of resistance, including prisoner escapes and information-gathering on the German army, troop movements and internment sites.  Germaine Tillion threw herself into these activities, sending parcels and letters to colonial prisoners-of-war and establishing a file to keep track of their whereabouts and well-being.  Those who escaped often sheltered en route at the family’s house in Saint-Maur. From the summer of 1940 onwards, she became a pivot of several resistance cells, comprised of all ages and social classes, united in opposition to the Nazi occupation. One of these cells had emerged at the Musée de l’Homme and included ethnographers Boris Vildé and Anatole Lewitsky and librarian Yvette Oddon – names now well-known and honored for their courage and dedication.  This cell was decimated by a traitor in spring 1941, leading to the trial and condemnation of ten of its members, seven of whom would be executed in February 1942. Despite her tireless efforts, Germaine Tillion was unable to save her comrades and threw herself with more energy and resolve into extending her connections with newly-formed resistance groups like Valmy, France-Liberté, and the English cell Gloria-SMH. The historian Julien Blanc has aptly described her role as an essential “interface”, putting cells and groups into contact with each other and coming to the aid of those in danger.

Several months later Germaine Tillion was herself arrested, betrayed by Robert Alesch, vicar of La Varenne and an agent of the German counter-espionage service, the Abwehr. On 13 August 1942, she was incarcerated in La Santé prison in Paris, and then in October transferred to Fresnes prison.  Unbeknownst to Germaine, her mother Emilie had also been  arrested in the same operation.

Accused of five charges, punishable by death, Germaine Tillion would never be tried but instead was deported to Germany as an “NN prisoner” (from the German “Nacht und Nebel” meaning “Night and Fog”) – a designation of political prisoners who were kept under the strictest surveillance and whose fate was meant to be kept secret up to and including their deaths.

On 21 October 1943, she left Fresnes in a convoy headed for the women’s camp of Ravensbrück, 80 kilometers north of Berlin.  On arrival, she immediately sensed the lethal nature of the camp.  Drawing upon her ethnographic experience, and with the help of foreign prisoners who had endured the camp for a longer time, she analysed the concentration camp system as one governed by an economy in which the women’s hard labour payed for their upkeep, but once exhausted beyond their capacity for work, the women payed with their lives – that is, they were to be exterminated. She explained this “complementary logic” with firm resolve to her fellow prisoners. It was her conviction that a lucid understanding of their situation would help them to better defend themselves and combat the anguish which could otherwise engulf them.  In moments stolen from the camp’s punishing regime, she wrote a little “operetta” drawn from the experiences of the women prisoners which, through humour and satire, expressed the solidarity that bound them together.  Entitled “Le Verfügbar aux Enfers”, and based loosely and comically on Offenbach’s “Orpheus in the Underworld”, the operetta enacts the tale of a naturalist who attempts to describe the strange female creatures whom he encounters in the forbidding habitat of Ravensbrück.  The operetta was of course never performed at Ravensbrück, but it was smuggled out at war’s end and kept by Tillion for over 60 years.

In February 1944 Emilie Tillion arrived at Ravensbrück.  Older women, seen by the camp authorities as more “expendable” due to their lesser capacity for hard labour, were the most at risk of being singled out.  In the early months of 1945, on Heinrich Himmler’s direct order, selections began for the immediate extermination of a quota of Ravensbrück’s prisoners. Germaine was in the camp’s hospital with a throat  abcess when, on 2nd March, her mother Emilie was selected and, despite attempts by her comrades to protect her, was taken away and presumably murdered in the camp’s gas chamber.  It was only due to the courage and complicity of a German fellow detainee that Germaine herself was hidden from the selection that swept the camp.

On 23rd April 1945, a Swedish Red Cross convoy arrived at Ravensbrück and liberated several hundred French women prisoners, Germaine Tillion among them. She was able to smuggle out, with the aid of her comrades, not only her operetta “Le Verfügbar”, but a roll of film showing the mutilated legs of young Polish women who had been the subjects of medical experiments at the camp.  While in Sweden, in mourning for her beloved mother but determined to bear witness to the experience of women incarcerated and murdered at Ravensbrück, she embarked on a systematic study of the circumstances of each French woman prisoner deported there – some 8000 in all.  This would become a post-war project for her and fellow prisoner and friend Anise Postel-Vinay that eventually accounted for the precise fate of 7313 of the women. The information gathered also helped to serve as an information source for the Ministry of Former Combatants in deciding upon pension entitlements for the returning women.  In the same post-war period, Germaine Tillion would become the “liquidatrice nationale” charged with sorting out the administrative status of those resisters with whom she acted in consort.  She gave her particular resistance cell the name “Réseau du Musée de l’Homme-Hauet-Vildé – the name by which it is known and honoured to this day.

After her return to Paris, in July 1945, Germaine Tillion attended the trial of Marshall Pétain.  As a delegate of former French deportees, she attended the trials at Hamburg of camp guards (1946-47) and Rastatt (1950) of the SS leaders of Ravensbrück.  In the same decade she pursued her in-depth study of the camp, a study that would be published in three editions – 1946, 1973, 1988 – each version corrected and supplemented as war crimes trials and archives yielded new information. It is to Tillion’s particular credit that the specific role of Heinrich Himmler at Ravensbrück was fully documented – both as chief planner of the camp’s labour regime and as chief architect of its “Final Solution”.

In 1949, Germaine Tillion was a delegate for the International Commission against the Concentrationary Regime or CICRC, a body launched by former deportee David Rousset to investigate the presumed existence of concentration camps in other countries, notably the USSR but also Greece, Yugoslavia, Spain and China.

1954-62: In Algeria at war

In November 1954, while immersed in her research on the Resistance and Deportation, Germaine Tillion was persuaded by her mentor and friend Louis Massignon to return to Algeria – this time for an official mission at the behest of the French government (notably François Mitterand, then Minister of the Interior).  An outbreak of violence attributed to a little-known nationalist group calling itself the FLN (Front de Libération Nationale) had erupted in the very region – the Aurès - where Tillion had spent her fieldwork years.  Tillion thus renewed contacts with those with whom she had shared her life twenty years before and she was shocked and dismayed by the degradation in living conditions which she witnessed.

During this investigative visit, she met the new Governor General of Algeria, former Resister (and ethnographer) Jacques Soustelle.  Upon his invitation, she accepted, in February 1955, to join his cabinet and to help devise and implement long-overdue social reform projects.

Addressing in particular the needs of the most deprived – the rural poor and inhabitants of the cities’ shantytowns – over nine months she conceived and began to put into action a socio-educative initiative which she called “Service des Centres Sociaux”.  These Centres essentially offered an array of “life skills” aimed at helping Algeria’s people – young and adult, women and men – improve their living standards that had plummeted as a consequence of Algeria’s rapid modernization process.  She likened the hygiene, literacy, agricultural and other training programs that were put into action by the Social Centres and their dedicated volunteers to a “giant staircase” large enough so that all the generations could climb it together on their way to a better future.  Even after her departure from Algeria in 1956, she continued to follow the progress of the Centres and its personnel, whose work had placed them in perilous situations and led to many being arrested, expelled and even murdered.  Of these the most horrific would be the assassination, by the OAS (Organisation Armée Sècret – an anti-independence, right-wing, terrorist group) of six of the Centres’ Inspectors during the course of a work meeting on 15 March 1962.

To explain the Algerian crisis as she saw it in these early years to her former comrades in deportation, Germaine Tillion published a text entitled Algeria in 1957.  In it, she used the term “clochardisation” – literally, the process of being reduced to the condition of an urban tramp - to describe the tremendous impoverishment she had witnessed.  She contrasted the earlier social stability and equilibrium she had seen in the 1930s to the rapid and brutal degradation in the quality of life which now characterized the country and she attributed this to a number of factors: the rise in population amidst a diminution of resources, the advance of a monetary market economy and a subsequent rural exodus which further undermined traditional social and familial structures.  She believed that only by raising the level of education of the general population and furnishing every individual with the means to earn a living, through programmes such as those the Social Centres were attempting to institute, could the effects of such a tumultuous  transition be mitigated.  This small book would have a considerable impact and her analysis of the Algerian “tragedy” would have both its admirers (Albert Camus among them) and its detractors (Kabyle writer Jean Amrouche).

The year 1957 marked a decisive turning point in Algeria: sporadic violence had evolved into a fully-fledged war despite officialdom’s reluctance to name it as such. The army was given full police powers, and military commander General Massu used these to “pacify’ the population of Algiers and to obtain intelligence on FLN insurgents. Torture became routine and systematic. As the violence escalated during the famous “Battle of Algiers”, bombings (on both sides) and the use of torture against the FLN by French paratroopers, became pervasive. In June, Germaine Tillion accompanied members of the CICRC (International Commission Against the Concentrationary Regime) on a fact-finding mission to prisons and camps in the country.  She received testimonies of torture and abuse from a number of sources, including the personnel she had recruited for the Social Centres, several of whom were subjected to torture by the French military.  Meanwhile her evident human rights concerns, combined with her status as a former Resister and her knowledge of the country and its people, had caught the attention of some in the FLN.  During the Battle of Algiers, she was sought out clandestinely by FLN leader Yacef Saadi and, deep in the Casbah, the two discussed the prospects for a “civil truce”.  Their dialogue, recounted by Tillion in her book Les ennemis complémentaires, (Complementary Enemies) published in 1960, was cordial but frank and direct and resulted in the undertaking by Yacef Saadi to not attack the civilian population if the French authorities in turn suspended the execution of prisoners condemned to death.

Germaine Tillion seized this window of opportunity and she henceforth devoted all her energy to informing and liaising with those in French officialdom and civil society that she deemed able to effect this partial truce – but despite her efforts, the French authorities resumed capital executions.  Yet she continued to plead on behalf of individual prisoners and those condemned to death, and lobbied politicians to bring perpetrators of the use of torture to justice. When Yacef Saadi was arrested by the army, she made a deposition to the military court and she later testified at his trial as to his good faith during their conversations.  She made innumerable interventions until the end of the war and even beyond on behalf of protagonists on all sides who had been caught up in the bloody conflict. As she would later say: “I didn’t “choose” people to save: I very deliberately saved all those whom I could, Algerians and French of all persuasions…”. By 1960, convinced that Algerian independence was an inevitability, she pleaded in her book Les Ennemis complémentaires for recognition of Algeria’s economic realities (notably Algeria’s heavy dependence on income sent from its workers in France) and for the fair treatment of the million-strong population of French-Algerians who faced an uncertain fate at the hands of victorious Algerians. These measured and humaine positions earned her the admiration and recognition of many, the scorn of others (like Simone de Beauvoir) and provoked passionate debate (notably with the historian Pierre Nora) not to mention virulent attacks (such as that of General Massu, who in 1971 wrote that Tillion’s willingness to dialogue with the insurgents was irrefutable proof of her desire to dupe the French justice system).

Summoned in 1959 to the Cabinet of  André Boulloche, Minister of National Education in the first government of the Fifth Republic, to advise on the Algerian situation, she developed a system of grants, in France and abroad, for Algerian students, and introduced for the first time a program of instruction for those incarcerated in prison – a legacy that continues to this day.

After 1962:  new research, new struggles

Right up until the end of the Algerian war, Germaine Tillion worked tirelessly behind the scenes on behalf of negotiations leading to a peaceful solution and then followed attentively the situation in the newly-independent country whose future she so fervently cared about. She also embarked on a teaching career at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, where in 1958 she had been named a director of study. She returned to her earlier love of fieldwork and undertook new scientific missions in the Maghreb and countries of the Middle and Far East. Between 1960 and 1974, she accompanied her students on sixteen scientific missions, most often to the desert zones of Algeria, Morocco, Mauritius, Niger, the Upper Volta and Libya. Of particular note was the fieldwork she and her students conducted amongst the Touareg.  At the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, her courses on the ethnography of the Maghreb attracted many interested scholars, more than half of whom came from the region. In 1963, she created a research team of ethnologists and linguists devoted to the study of arabo-berber oral literature – no doubt partly a reminder of the many pleasurable hours she had spent in the Aurès listening to the inhabitants recount their favourite myths and stories.  She soon had a reputation as a teacher without pretension, who treated everyone equally and who knew how to draw out the best in each.

In 1966, she published Le Harem et les cousins on the condition of women in the Mediterranean basin. In this work she showed how the status of women in these societies had to be understood in relation to the rules of endogamy, which specified marriage between cousins within close kinship groups.  The resulting  “republic of cousins” which formed the foundation of social relations in these societies was a counterpoint to Lévi-Strauss’s famous model of exogamy, or marriage outside the immediate kinship group, as an “elementary kinship structure” and Lévi-Strauss was himself to acknowledge Tillion’s rich contribution to an understanding of the relations between systems of marriage and inheritance and the vicissitudes of material and economic life.  Le Harem et les cousins continues to be an indispensable reference work and a foundational text and at last count has been translated into seven languages.

But her return to academic life did not mean Germaine Tillion was detached from concrete issues.  She expressed her views on current events in numerous newspaper and magazine articles.  In 1992, she was invited to Moscow by survivors of the Gulag.  She was active in a number of organisations concerned with the situation of migrants, minorities, and those generally “excluded” (les exclus) from the comforts and securities of life both in France and worldwide.  This activism continued to the final years of her life. In 2000, for example, she signed an appeal calling for the official recognition and condemnation of torture during the Algerian War.

From 1966 onwards, Brittanny become another pole of her life.  She spent vacations there and later built a house on the edge of the sea at Găvres near Plouhinec in the Morbihan region.  She was an accomplished gardener and took great pleasure in turning what was a desolate landscape into a lush garden and wildlife haven.  Upon retirement, she spent more time in this beloved home where each year, she welcomed friends, students, journalists, and local acquaintances.  Today, following Germaine Tillion’s wishes, this property belongs to the region’s Coastal Conservation scheme.

In the early years of her retirement, Germaine Tillion worked on a new edition of Ravensbrück (1988).  In 1997, Jean Lacouture published La Traversée du Mal, comprised of interviews he had conducted with her.  In 2000, drawing upon notes she still possessed, and above all her sharp memory, and enriched by sixty years of reflection, she published Il était une fois l’ethnographie (Once Upon a Time There was Ethnography), a unique testament of her experience in the Aurès in the 1930s.

In the same year, Jean Lacouture’s biography of her, Le témoignage est un combat, was published.  In 2001, a book of photos she had taken sixty years earlier during her first ethnographic missions in the Aurès but had never had developed, was published in collaboration with Nancy Wood (L’Algérie aurésienne).  The same year, a collection of articles, some already published, others published for the first time, was published under the title À la recherché du vrai et du juste (ed. Tzvetan Todorov).

Other biographies and analyses of her work followed: Germaine Tillion, une ethnologue dans le siècle by Christian Bromberger and Tzvetan Todorov (2002) and Germaine Tillion, une femme mémoire, by Nancy Wood (2003).   In 2005, a new edition of Les ennemis complémentaires was released. Also in 2005, the text of the operetta which Germaine had written at Ravensbrück for her fellow prisoners, Le Verfügbar aux Enfers, was published, and then performed at the Théâtre du Chatelet in Paris in spring 2007 during the week honouring Tillion’s 100th birthday.  It is now performed by groups all over France and has recently premiered in the USA.  2009 saw the publication of Fragments de Vie , (ed. Tzvetan Todorov), comprised of many previously unpublished texts drawn from her archives.

Coincidental with this flurry of publishing activity, there was an explosion of interest in the life of Germaine Tillion, both on the part of the media and a wider public alike.  She became the subject of radio broadcasts, films, theatre pieces,  television programmes, press articles, conferences, exhibitions, and even a comic strip for younger readers.  She was awarded a number of prizes and decorations (La Grand-Croix de la Légion d’honneur, l’Ordre des arts et des lettres, La Grand-Croix du mérite de l’Allemagne - to name only a few), and has had schools, squares, buildings and many venues dedicated in her name.

A Germaine Tillion Association was created which devotes itself to the oversight of her work and public legacy and acts as a clearing-house for a wide variety of interests and activities.  The National Library of France (Bibliothèque Nationale de France) houses her archives, and her documents relating to the second world war are kept in the Musée de la Résistance et de la Déportation in Besançon.

Germaine Tillion died at her Paris home, in her 101st year, on the 19th April 2008.

Following a period of public consultation, on 21st February 2014, President François Hollande announced that Germaine Tillion would be among four great figures of France’s twentieth century to be honored with the transfer of her ashes to the Pantheon on 27th May 2015.

3/ Bibliography

L’Algérie en  1957.- Ed. de Minuit, 1957

Version en anglais

Algeria: The Realities

(Translated by Ronald Matthews)

London, Eyre § Spottiswoode (1958)

New York, Alfred A.Knopf, First Edition (1958)

New York, Greenwood Pub Group (1976) ISBN-10 : ‪0837188601

Les ennemis complémentaires.- Ed. de Minuit, 1960

Version en anglais

France and Algeria: Complementary Enemies

(Translated by Richard Howard)

NewYork, Alfred A.Knopf (1961)

New York, Greenwood Pub Group (1976) ISBN-10 : ‪0837188598

Le harem et les cousins. - Ed. Du Seuil, 1966

Version en espagnol

La condición de la mujer en el área mediterránea

(Traducción de Agustina Fort y Carmen Huera) Edicions 62. Barcelona (1993)

ISBN: 8429736247

Version en anglais

The Republic of Cousins : Women’s Oppression in the Mediterranean

(Translated by Quintin Hoare) London : Saqi Books

(1983 et 2000, ISBN-10:‪0863560105. 2006‪, ISBN-10 : ‪0863561004)

My Cousin, My Husband : Clans and Kinship in Mediterranean Societies.

(Translated by Quintin Hoare)- Foreword by Deniz Kandiyoti. London, San Francisco and Beirut: Saqi Books (2007)

ISBN : 0863566251

Version en arabe

Dar el Saqi, London (2000) ISBN : 1855163187

Version en coréen

(Traduction à partir de la version en anglais, par Lim,Byung-Pil ; Oh,Seung-Eun ; Kim,Kyung-Sim. PUFS, Pusan University of Foreign studies Press (2004) ISBN : 898312187103330

Version en turc

Harem ve Kuzenler

(Türkçe Ceviri : Sirin Tekeli ve Nükhet Sirman), Metis, Topkapi, Istanbul (2005)

ISBN : 9753425546

Version en italien

L’harem e la famiglia

(Traduzione : Mario Porro) - Introduzione : Marina Calvo Pérez- Andrea Celli.

Ed. Medusa, Milano (2007) ISBN : 9788876981340

Version en japonais

(Translator:Miyaji Mieko) Publisher: Misuzu Shobo (2012) Printed in Japan

ISBN 978-4-622-07649-0

Ravensbrück (1973, éd.remaniée 1988, Ed.du Seuil)

(Sous le même titre)

Version en anglais

(Translated by Gerald Satterwhite) New York, Anchor Press (1975)

ISBN-10 : ‪0385009275

Version en espagnol

(Traductora : Stella Mastriangelo) Mexico, V.Siglos (1976)

Version en roumain

(Trad. Sanda Mihaescu-Boroianu) Ed. Politica, Bucuresti (1979)

Version en allemand

Frauenkonzentrationslager Ravensbrück

(Traduit par Barbara Glassmann)

Dietrich Zu Klampen (1998) ISBN-10 : 392424572X

(Éd. Poche) Fisher (2001)

A la recherche du vrai et du juste.- Ed. du Seuil, 2001

Version en italien

Alla ricerca del vero e del giusto Dalla Shoah all’Algeria, una testimone del male del Novecento.

(Traduzione : Mario Porro), Milano, Edizioni Medusa (2007) ISBN 8876980881


Fragments de vie, éd du Seuil, 2009

Version en japonais

(Translator: Ono Ushio) Publisher: Hosei University Press (2012) Printed in Japan

ISBN : 9784588009822

Version allemande

Die gestohlene Unschuld: Ein Leben zwischen Résistance und Ethnologie

Traduction par le Pr. Mechtild GILZMER, éd. Aviva (2015) ISBN : 9783932338687

“Le Verfügbar aux Enfers” : Une opérette à Ravensbrück

Éd. de La Martinière (2005), Poche Points N°1800 (2007)

A été traduit en anglais, adapté et joué à l’Université de Maine-Sud (USA) en avril 2014. En cours de publication.

L’édition en allemand est en cours.

4/ Germaine Tillion,

Scholar, Militant, Sage Woman. EXPOSURE. You can download this exposure upon demand.

5/ Germaine Tillion in her own words, a film of the Association Germaine Tillion

Germaine Tillion In Her Own Words lasts one hour and is divided into six sections :

Youth (3min.)

* An ethnologist engaged in her century (14 min.)

* In the Resistance and in the camps 1940-1945  (20min.)

* Return to an Algeria at war 1954-1962  (19 min.)

* An untiring commitment to the world  (5 min.)

* Beyond the death - Crédits ( 3 min.)

In May 2015, Germaine Tillion was given the supreme honor of being entered into the Panthéon, monument of French national memory , as an “emblematic figure” of the twentieth century. She  took an active part in the major crises. She was engaged in the struggle against Nazism, against concentration camps, and against the oppression of women. She advocated in favour of decolonization. As an author, she published landmark books in ethnography and modern history.

A clip (3 min.) Germaine Tillion enters the Pantheon relates the ceremony in 2015.

This documentary is made available  is strictly limited to non-commercial use.*

YouTube Association Germaine Tillion

Trailer Germaine Tillion in her own words

You can download the full movie as well as each section independently through “” :

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