"The Black Angel of the Gestapo"

Normandy 1942-1944

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Who was this “Black Angel of the Gestapo” in Normandy? She was Marie Clotilde de Combiens, 22 years old in 1943, who made a name for herself by becoming the mistress of the local Sipo-SD boss in Caen, Harald Heyns, aka Bernard. After their chance meeting on the Paris-Cherbourg train, Marie-Clo- tilde and Bernard worked well with each other, ter- rorising first the inhabitants of Caen, then the people of Calvados for several months, even dsipatching some of them to the death camps.

Yves Lecouturier came across this character several times while studying the Collaboration in Caen and in the Calvados Department for more than thirty years. Why did the Occupation period lead this young woman into such excesses? Had she just been content with “horizontal” collaboration, her name would never have entered history. All she’d have risked was being shorn after the Liberation, or a court sentence and national disgrace! But Marie-Clotilde, wanted to show off her newly-acquired power and threw herself into being an informer wholeheartedly, sending some of her fellow-countrymen to the death camps, sometimes with the collusion of her parents. The Combiens family utterly dishonoured itself by its brazen collaboration with the occupier.

This book tries to retrace the path Marie-Clotilde de Combiens (the daughter of her father’s extra-marital affairs) took, and to explain the reasons why she became a harbinger of death, spurred on only by perso- nal interest and greed. 


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