Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put to the test

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

"iVIOLATED"

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Back to school!

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put to the test (part 2)

Read more

WEB NEWS

USA: thousands pay tribute to Michael Brown

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

France's Iliad considers fresh offer for T-Mobile

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

  • NATO plans new 'spearhead' force to counter Russia

    Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao leaves Ligue 1 for Man Utd

    Read more

  • UN backs Iraqi request for inquiry into IS militant crimes

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • Anti-govt protesters briefly seize Pakistan's state TV

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

Culture

Coco Chanel was Nazi spy, new biography claims

Video by FRANCE 24

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)