A new book says that Coco Chanel, in addition to running one of the world’s most influential fashion empires, also spied for the Nazis. Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War was written by a Paris-based American journalist who asserts that the fashion icon was an agent for Germany’s Abwehr military intelligence organization and a “fierce” anti-Semite.
Hal Vaughan, the 84-year-old author, told the Associated Press that he stumbled upon documentation of Chanel’s role in France’s national police archive. “I was looking for something else and I come across this document saying ‘Chanel is a Nazi agent, her number is blah, blah, blah and her pseudonym is Westminster,’” he said. “I look at this again and I say, ‘What the hell is this?’ I couldn’t believe my eyes!”
He said that he began to dig deeper in the U.S., London, Berlin and Rome, and found dozens of other documents that pointed to the same conclusion. In response, the House of Chanel issued a statement refuting the claims, stressing that Chanel had personal and professional relationships with Jews, and suggested that Vaughan consult the “more serious” of the 57-plus books written about the designer.
It is an accepted fact, even by the Chanel group, that the French designer had a love affair with German officer Baron Hans Gunther von Dincklage during WWII. But the book goes further to say that she went on missions with Dincklage and others to help recruit new agents to serve Germany.
It has also long been speculated that Chanel’s wartime loyalties lay with Germany — she had been questioned about her ties with the Nazis by a French judge but was released — but this book presents the most dirt so far to suggest that it’s true. (via AP)