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Violette Morris


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#1 KJJ

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Posted 25 October 2002 - 12:39

I’d never heard of Violette Morris ( until I read Jimmy Pigot’s recent thread “Racing drivers killed at war”). Had seen the well-known Brassai photograph “Lesbian Couple at Le Monocle” without realising that the Froilan Gonzalez lookalike had motorsport connections. Does anybody know anything more about this controversial figure, World shot putt record holder and seemingly Gestapo interrogator, Did she compete in any other motor sport events besides the Bol d’ Or?

Plenty of material in this woman's life for a follow-up novel by the fellow who recently published the Grover Williams book.

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#2 Marcor

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Posted 25 October 2002 - 15:17

I didn't know she was a collaborator. Now I undestand why she was often described as infamous. In fact, I've read his description but It was written in 1938 or 1939. The text said she killed his lover, a legionnaire. Yes a very special person...

#3 Jimmy Piget

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Posted 25 October 2002 - 19:47

Originally posted by KJJ
until I read Jimmy Pigot’s recent thread “Racing drivers killed at war”


Typo : Piget, not Pigot...

There yet exists a book (in French) on her, titled "Violette Morris la gestapiste", published some years ago by les éditions du Fleuve noir. I have it somewhere home and must look for it in order to inform the name of the author. But I'm afraid it's out of copy, now.

This lady, a niece of General Gouraud, was first a boxer (!), then a cycling champion before switching to racing cars : she only competed in the cyclecar category, very popular in these years (the '1920s). She had a chirurgical ablation of her breasts, in order to be more comfortable when she wheeled in race !!!
This body-modification led to a ban of every kind of competition, cars or other, by the French Olympic Comitee.

When France was occupied in 1940 by the Nazis, she inserted into the Parisian Gestapo and worked in the awful "rue Lauriston" questioning house.
BTW, I never read or heard she had been involved by any manner in the arrest of "Williams" or Robert Benoist, so this can only be a theoretical wondering if.

In 1944 (circa April ? the date is in the quoted book), when she was travelling by car from Normandy back to Paris, the French Resistance attacked her car on the road and bombed it, killing all her passengers (a couple of "collaborateurs") along with her.

If you can find photographies of her when she was a racer, you'll regret at first glance the likes of Hellé Nice, Kay Petre and Giovanna Amati !

#4 Marcor

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Posted 30 October 2002 - 15:03

a book called "Violette Morris l'amazone de la gestapo", by Raymond Ruffin is available here.

http://www.amazon.fr...8361604-6381022

#5 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 10:56

Quite an amzing woman in more ways than one. An international athlete in more than one event, shot putter, discus thrower, female boxer, motorcycle racer, racing driver, and who went to extreme lengths to driver here cars comfortably. I wonder if there's ever been a woman in motorsport to parallel her. A also had not heard of her until I began to read about racing drivers killed in the War. She was buried in a communal grave but where?

http://en.wikipedia....Violette_Morris

#6 LotusElise

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 11:08

There's another book called L'Hyene du Gestapo about Morris somewhere.
She did manage to win a couple of races but did not compete particularly often. She had her own racing special made but I can't remember the manufacturer.

She doesn't have a profile on Speedqueens and won't because I can't bring myself to promote/glorify/praise (call it what you want) a known fascist.

#7 D-Type

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 15:48

There is some discussion about her on the Helle-Nice thread including post 110 which says:

Posted by VAR1016 on 27-Apr-04 21:44:
quote:
________________________________________
Originally posted by marat
The book on Violette Morris: "Violette Morris la Hyene de la Gestapo" in now available.
When it was announced end of 2002, the title was "Violette Morris l'amazone de la Gestapo".
Amazone was probably too nice.
________________________________________


A search on Amazon reveals two books, sadly in French:-

L'honneur ratatiné d'une athlète lesbienne en 1930 (Collection "Le sens de l'histoire") -- Christian Gury

La diablesse: La véritable histoire de Violette Morris -- Raymond Ruffin

Does anyone know of any translations?

PdeRL



And reading some of the other posts she was apparently more than 'a known fascist' - one says 'a Gestapo torturer'. Definitely a nasty piece of work

#8 KJJ

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 19:12

From a column called "Who Won" in the April 7th 1930 edition of Time magazine:

The Feminine Sports Federation of France: a legal contest with Mme Violette Morris, female hockey player who had brought suit for $4,000 damages because the Federation had taken away her membership for wearing trousers, talking indecently, refusing to reform (TIME, March 10). Said Mme Morris: "I will get a pilot's license. The air is the only place left where a woman can wear pants."

How wrong she turned out to be!

I can't say I agree with you LotusElise and the decision to airbrush M. Morris from your site, but at least it's consistent, as I see there is no place for Fabulous Fay Taylour either.

I believe a book has recently been published, Femmes pilotes de course auto. 1888-1970 by Jean-François Bouzanquet, which promises fresh information on Violette Morris and Lucy O'Reilly Schell.

#9 Doug Nye

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 19:26

Originally posted by LotusElise
She doesn't have a profile on Speedqueens and won't because I can't bring myself to promote/glorify/praise (call it what you want) a known fascist.


Being 'a known Fascist' was surely the least of this particular horror's problems - being a twisted sadist surely overshadows any convenient political labelling?

DCN (inclined towards common-sensical anarchy)

#10 Rob29

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 07:38

Originally posted by KJJ
From a column called "Who Won" in the April 7th 1930 edition of Time magazine:

The Feminine Sports Federation of France: a legal contest with Mme Violette Morris, female hockey player who had brought suit for $4,000 damages because the Federation had taken away her membership for wearing trousers, talking indecently, refusing to reform (TIME, March 10). Said Mme Morris: "I will get a pilot's license. The air is the only place left where a woman can wear pants."

How wrong she turned out to be!

I can't say I agree with you LotusElise and the decision to airbrush M. Morris from your site, but at least it's consistent, as I see there is no place for Fabulous Fay Taylour either.

I believe a book has recently been published, Femmes pilotes de course auto. 1888-1970 by Jean-François Bouzanquet, which promises fresh information on Violette Morris and Lucy O'Reilly Schell.

What did poor Fay do ,that puts her in a class with Ms Morris? Looks like I will have to brush up on my french..

#11 ensign14

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 08:09

Little bit here, there's also a biography about her by Brian "Hamilton Bandwagon" Belton. Not quite in the same league as Mlle Morris, it has to be said...but had she been born on the other side of the Channel...

#12 KJJ

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 08:53

Originally posted by Rob29
What did poor Fay do ,that puts her in a class with Ms Morris? Looks like I will have to brush up on my french..


Well Fay didn't spend the War years in the Gestapo of course but she was "a known fascist" which is the reason why Violette Morris and presumably Miss Taylour are excluded from LotusElise's website.

#13 LotusElise

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 13:30

Originally posted by Doug Nye


Being 'a known Fascist' was surely the least of this particular horror's problems - being a twisted sadist surely overshadows any convenient political labelling?

DCN (inclined towards common-sensical anarchy)


I meant that too. It was just one of the ways I could have put it and I didn't want to rant.
I'd like to add that I haven't "airbrushed" anyone out of anything - she was never on the site in the first place and as I write all my own content, I didn't feel comfortable writing objectively about either Morris or Taylour. I think that one of them may be mentioned in passing somewhere. It was a real disappointment for me to find out about Ms Taylour's BUF involvement because it really tarnished an interesting and vibrant character.

#14 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 14:23

LotusElise

It's your website and you must include whoever you wish on there. 'Airbrushing' can also refer to ignoring the fact they were racing drivers. For instance, when I've located their graves, I shall include them amongst my list of racing drivers who have died, whatever their 'other interests'. For instance there has been one driver who had sex change operation, others who were gay, others who fought on the other side during both World Wars, drug dealers and even a paedophile. For me, they all get included on my website for their driving career alone. Each to his own......and I mean each website compiler, not driver :up:

#15 Doug Nye

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 15:52

I don't see why - within this context - it should matter at all to most enthusiasts whether a driver was white, black, green, polka dot, straight, bent, tory, socialist, communist, fascist, nice, nasty, punched, bored or countersunk if it didn't have much bearing upon their racing activity...?

It should also be appreciated that many otherwise perfectly well-intentioned and in some ways admirable people came to admire their received image of The New Germany - and also of Mussolini's Italian State - during the turbulent 1930s.

Order, efficiency, the rule of what they saw as legitimate authority appealed to them, and the notion that Great Britain would benefit from equally firm leadership was regarded as a bulwark against any spread of communism, which some supported during that period, but rather more plainly feared.

There was little or no realisation - nor belief - amongst such people that rumours of appalling treatment in concentration camps extended to individuals by reason of race, religion, sexual orientation or social status. Prominenten from our abdicated King and his plain-Jane missis, to the Mitford girls - Mosley related - to the likes of Fay Taylour, Lilian Seaman and her son Dick all thought Adolf seemed just wonderful. As for Mussolini, of course, well - he made the trains run on time. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man was king. Even some of the soldiers who entered Belsen recalled their utter disbelief at what Fascist reality had achieved in contrast to the rather admirable image they had developed (where some people were concerned) 1936-38.

Sorry - this IS a free country (in relative terms) but sieving history to exclude 1930s-40s Fascist supporters like this just sounds fearfully precious to me...I thought being 'judgmental' is a modern sin (within the western world, anyway)?

DCN

#16 Vitesse2

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 15:59

I have to say I agree with Doug.

For example, how can you write people like Achille Varzi (drug addict and stealer of another man's wife) out of history? Are Tony Dean's racing successes lessened by his "freelance" tobacco import business? I could go on .... but I won't!

#17 ensign14

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 16:09

From an historian's perspective, it matters not one jot.

From the perspective of someone wishing to commemorate certain individuals that they admire, it does.

LotusElise's site is one of the latter. Hence the lack of Danica-Patrick-in-FHM-type photos.

(Polka dot drivers? Doug, have you fallen under the Pipette spell as well?)

#18 Rob29

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 16:12

Originally posted by Vitesse2
I have to say I agree with Doug.

For example, how can you write people like Achille Varzi (drug addict and stealer of another man's wife) out of history? Are Tony Dean's racing successes lessened by his "freelance" tobacco import business? I could go on .... but I won't!

I am inclined to agree here too.We are talking about a motorsport site and what drivers may have done in subsequent life is of no relevance.If 'stealing' someone elses wife or husband is a crime we might have to exclude half the entry :)

#19 D-Type

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 22:56

This thread has taken a strange turn!

How many posters here have actually visited Lotus Elise's Speedqueens website? It contains a collection of pen portraits of women race and rally drivers ranging from one-liners to individual pages. It is not all-embracing, nor does it attempt to be.

As she says:

~ Through my growing interest in motorsport I discovered that there have been many female racing drivers over the years, many of whom do not get the recognition they deserve.
This site aims to give these unsung heroines their due. It is also meant as a celebration of the lucky few who are well-known and a chance to read about some great characters of motorsport.

and

To be included, a driver should be competing at an international or high national level. Particularly successful or otherwise interesting drivers are most likely to be included. I'd love to feature everyone but Speedqueens runs on limited bandwidth ~

From what I have read on the internet, Violette Morris does not meet the above criteria since at best she competed in national level races without major success.

If Lotus Elise further feels that she does not want to include Violette Morris because of her, shall we say, lifestyle and Gestapo career that is her prerogative and she should not be criticised for so doing.

Were this a site that tabulated race and rally results achieved by women, the implication would be that the site aspired to include all women drivers and under those circumstances excluding her would amount to censorship and be unacceptable. But, I repeat, if you have visited the site you will realise this is not the case here.

On the question of 'airbrushing over' the facts, if you do a search on the web you will find several sites that mention her athletic achievements and that she boxed and drove racing cars but either play down or omit to mention her Gestapo service or her violent death. This is particularly so on some of the sites that promote, shall we say, alternative lifestyles.

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#20 Tim Murray

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 10:00

I wholeheartedly agree with D-Type.

#21 ghinzani

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 19:59

[i]Originally posted by ensign14

(Polka dot drivers? Doug, have you fallen under the Pipette spell as well?) [/B]

Great phrase Ensign! Is it yours?

#22 paulhooft

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 17:53

Found this picture of Voilette Morris in a book about cycling:

Posted Image

brrr...
Paul Hooft

Edited by paulhooft, 04 February 2010 - 17:54.


#23 Jean L

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 23:17

It is a stayer bike and helmet,for race behind motorbike.

#24 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 09:03

I'm tempted to suggest she has the bike's forks on back to front but that may well be how the bike was designed.


#25 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 09:19

Brrr indeed Paul..

#26 Jean L

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 09:52

With the inverse forks,you are closer to the motorbike,better draft.~70 km/h.


#27 robert dick

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 10:16

Photos from the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris:

http://gallica.bnf.f...orris.f1.langFR
http://gallica.bnf.f...orris.f1.langFR
http://gallica.bnf.f...orris.f1.langFR
http://gallica.bnf.f...orris.f1.langFR
http://gallica.bnf.f...orris.f1.langFR