Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

South Africa : 20 children killed in a bus crash near Pretoria

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

An Election in the Shadow of Terror

Read more

#TECH 24

How fintech is helping the unbanked

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Turning up the heat with French firefighters

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Champs-Elysées attack: What impact on Sunday's French election? (part 1)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

After Brexit and Trump: World waits on French presidential election (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

Battle to stop nuclear waste being buried in a French village

Read more

THE CAMPAIGN BEAT

After Champs-Élysées attack, security takes centre stage in election campaign

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

Brexit: Come what May

Read more

Culture

Coco Chanel was Nazi spy, new biography claims

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-08-17

French fashion legend Coco Chanel (pictured) spied for the Nazis during Germany's occupation of France, according to a new book by Hal Vaughan, an American journalist and former diplomat.

REUTERS - A new book about the life of Coco Chanel published in the United States on Tuesday aims to strengthen claims the French designer collaborated with the Nazis during World War II as a spy code-named "Westminster."

The book, "Sleeping With The Enemy: Coco Chanel's Secret War," by Paris-based American journalist Hal Vaughan, claims that not only was the designer the lover of a German officer, Hans Gunther von Dincklage, which has been well-documented, but they were spies who went on missions to Madrid and Berlin.

In addition, the book claims Chanel was deeply anti-Semitic.

"Vaughn reveals that Chanel was more than just a Nazi sympathizer and collaborator. She was a numbered Nazi agent working for Abwehr, Germany's military intelligence agency," publisher Alfred A. Knopf said in a statement.

But a representative for the Chanel fashion house on Tuesday poured doubt on the book's allegations.

"What's certain is that she had a relationship with a German aristocrat during the War. Clearly it wasn't the best period to have a love story with a German even if Baron von Dincklage was English by his mother and she (Chanel) knew him before the War," the Chanel group said in a statement.

The fashion house also disputed that the designer was anti-Semitic, saying Chanel would not have had Jewish friends or ties with the Rothschild family of financiers if she were.

But the book draws on English, French, German and American archives to claim Chanel, whose menswear-inspired fashions propelled her to become one of the most influential figures in fashion, went on missions with Dincklage and others to help recruit new agents willing to serve Germany.

It gives her Abwehr agent number as F-7124 and code-name as "Westminster," named after the Duke of Westminster with whom she had a love affair. She died in Paris in 1971, age 87.

She has long been speculated about as being a spy, but was released after being questioned about her ties to Nazi Germany by a judge in France. The book prints some excerpts of her court testimony.
 

Date created : 2011-08-17

COMMENT(S)