Coco Chanel: Nazi agent?
By Andy Walker
She was one of the most remarkable women of the 20th Century, but Coco Chanel’s reputation is again under scrutiny over allegations that she was a Nazi agent in World War II France.
To millions of people around the globe Chanel stands for style, opulence and understated elegance, from haute couture worn by the few to ready-to-wear treasured by the masses.
Her achievements are undeniable. Chanel’s instantly recognisable suits have been sported by stylistas from the Duchess of Windsor to Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.
Jackie Kennedy was wearing a pink version when JFK was assassinated in Dallas in 1963.
Did the creator of the little black dress have a little black secret?
And, the “little black dress”, that byword for elegant simplicity as worn by Audrey Hepburn in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, has regularly topped polls for the most iconic of all items of clothing.
But there is another side to the story of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, and it concerns her actions in occupied France during World War II.
Like many luminaries, including the singers Edith Piaf and Maurice Chevalier, the writer Jean Cocteau and the late president Francois Mitterrand, Chanel remained in her native country following its occupation by German forces in the summer of 1940.
And since the war’s end, rumours have abounded about the real nature of her association with the Nazis.
Now according to Hal Vaughan, author of the new book, Sleeping with the Enemy, Chanel is revealed as having actually worked for German military intelligence during the war.
Being a Nazi agent was “part of her daily life” in Paris during the occupation, he says.
“Chanel was a consummate opportunist. The Nazis were in power, and Chanel gravitated to power. It was the story of her life.
Chanel didn’t believe in anything, except fashion
Hal Vaughan, historian
“Chanel didn’t believe in anything, except fashion. Chanel believed in beautiful clothes, she believed in her business
and rightly so; she didn’t care about Hitler or politics or Nazism.”
Ensconced in the luxury of the Hotel Ritz, a privilege permitted to few non-Germans, Chanel, who had closed her shops in France at the outbreak of war, was in constant contact with the country’s new Nazi overlords.
Key to the new allegations is her affair with the dashing 44-year-old German officer Baron Hans Guenther von Dincklage who, Vaughan says, “has been treated by every biographer as a kind of playboy tennis man”.
“He wasn’t. He was a professional Abwehr [German military intelligence] officer, who had been operating in France since the late 1920s.
Read More/Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9567000/9567657.stm