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Just days after Paris was famously liberated from German control in 1944, LIFE photographer Carl Mydans and correspondent John Osborne were eyewitnesses to a grisly affair in the foothills of the French Alps.
On September 2, a group of Resistance fighters gathered near the town of Grenoble to execute a half-dozen Nazi collaborators who had worked for the Milice — the despised Vichy police. The photos and commentary that ran were simultaneously poignant and terrifying.
Here is a small sample of some of Mydan’s rare, chilling photographs that document the horrific event. Be sure to check out the amazing full gallery on LIFE.com.
“They looked so young, wretched, unshaven, yet at the same time evil in their dirt and misery,” Osborne recalled of the six doomed men.
“The first five bodies, looking north from where I stood, seemed to fall slowly, slowly, slowly in dreadful unison,” Osborne wrote.
Minutes after the men stepped out of the van that transported them from the jail, they are laid in their coffins.Read more at www.huffingtonpost.com