7 Facts About Coco Chanel that’ll Keep You Up at Night
Think You know everything about Coco Chanel? Think again. Did you know she was an established Nazi Spy?
This is something straight from an action thriller starring Angelina Jolie in the lead role: A secret double agent with guns and sass keeping baddies in their place. In reality, the plot thickens and gets more interesting. This secret double agent of ours is not just a spy but also a world renowned fashion designer. Uh huh, it’s Coco Chanel.
A new book, Sleeping With The Enemy: Coco Chanel, Nazi Agent, speaks about evidence against the haute couture designer. The author, Hal Vaughan, claims that Mademoiselle was a spy for the Nazis. According to him instead of shutting down the baddies, she was one of them.
Mademoiselle Chanel was one of the most influential people of the 20th century. Needless to say, she was famous back home in France, she still holds a lot of respect in the french society. Yet tough time makes the best of us do questionable things.
Hal Vaughan found evidence in the former secret french files during the war time. These files are no longer secret but are available to see on demand physically, not on the internet.
These files contain facts about Mme. Gabrielle, that the House of Chanel would like to be kept hidden.
So without wasting any more time lets look at the 7 things about Gabrielle Chanel that the French government and Chanel don’t want you to know
1. She lived in the Ritz hotel, a Nazi Air Force Base
-In 1937, Coco Chanel moved to the Ritz hotel. Three years later, the German forces under Adolf Hitler occupied Paris. The Ritz hotel became the headquarters of the Luftwaffe, German Air Force. She continued to live there amongst the Nazi officials although she shifted into another smaller room.
2. She tried to gain full custody of the House of Chanel under new ‘Aryan’ laws
– Coco Chanel had constituted Chanel with the help of the rich Jew family Wertheimer. Initially the two parties were amiable but things soon turned for the worse. The Chanel profits were to be 70% for the Wertheimers and the remaining for Mademoiselle. To get them out of the picture, Coco is said to have written to Nazi officials about the Wertheimers owning her Chanel company. This was against the new ‘Aryan’ laws which prevented Jews from owning businesses. The Wertheimers foreseeing this had already transferred the business to a Christian friend. Wertheimers own Chanel to this day.
3. She was linked to a Nazi Officer
-Having German officials as her neighbours, Mademoiselle Chanel must have had several run-ins with them. She met Baron Hans Gunther von Dincklage. Dincklage was 13 years her junior. The two were romantically involved. They ran off to Switzerland at the end of the war to escape scrutiny. When questioned about the wrong timing of their romance, Chanel officials pointed out that Coco knew Dincklage from before the war and that his mother was English.
4. She was a secret agent for the Nazis
– After meeting Dincklage and living amongst the Luftwaffe officials, Chanel was not only a passive companion but an agent for the Nazis. She was named Westminster after her former association with the Duke Of Westminster as a part of the Nazi Abwehr. Coco Chanel was also given a number F-7124 by Baron Louis de Vaufreland. Vaufreland knew Chanel was a strong asset for the Nazis and used her for two separate occasions.
5. She carried out multiple secret missions for the Nazis
– After she became a Nazi agent, Baron Louis de Vaufreland sent her for a couple of missions. On her first mission Coco was sent to Madrid to gain support for the ‘Nazi cause.’ She was to help recruit potential spies who believed in the Nazi propaganda. Vaufreland used her as an acquaintance to reach high society. Heinrich Himmler another double agent teamed up with Coco for two occasions. On one of them, they tried to get Churchill to end the hostilities of war.
6. She tried to mediate with Churchill
– Chanel’s alliance with the Duke of Westminster had gained her many acquaintances in the British aristocracy. She was in the know how of Winston Churchill, Britain’s Prime Minister. The Germans wanted to make use of this and sent for Gabrielle. She tried to ask Churchill for a meeting where her plan was to talk Churchill into ending the hostilities with the Nazis. She must have been very amateur considering to take on a well versed orator like that:) Churchill either found out about the trap or was too busy to agree for a rendezvous.
7. She was not arrested for Nazi affiliations
– When the war was over in 1945, Coco Chanel was called in for investigation but was left after a couple of hours. Coco’s niece claims that her famous aunt often remarked that Churchill saved her. Some investigators believe that along with Churchill, the Royal family also had a hand in getting Chanel out of trouble. The French government would also have liked to kept the infidelity of one of the most famous french people out of public knowledge.
The French government still claims that all influential french personalities were never pro-Nazi and heroically fought on the french side. Alas this has been proven wrong. The book Sleeping With The Enemy: Coco Chanel, Nazi Agent was not really appreciated by the french readers. The House of Chanel also dismissed the claims made in the book but agreed that Coco was linked to Baron Hans Gunther von Dincklage.
What I think about all this? I think it’ll make a great plot for an action film. Pack in some punches and a zest of explosions, voila, an amazing thriller is ready.
All in all, Coco Chanel didn’t have a care about the world. Her involvement with the Nazis was not because she was a stanch anti-Semitic but because she was a stanch opportunist. At that time being in the good books of Nazis was her only priority and thats what she did. But know this, she wasn’t the only famous businessperson to be on the side of the baddies, there are many others. Do you know any of them or would you like me to write an article about the others? Comment below to let me know.
The Inspirational side of Coco Chanel. Read here.
Picture Curtesy- Google Images