“The champagne flowed, the German officers, particularly the pilots, in evening dress did honor to the ladies, moving like butterflies, and no one spoke German. It was a real French gala evening when speaking German was prohibited. The officer competed to be most erudite in the language of Rabelais, and no one thought about the war. We all thought that peace, definitive peace, a German peace would win over the world with the approval of Stalin and Roosevelt . . . only England continued to face the Germans.”
Well, GO England.
This sounds fantastic; just as I love The Ritz, I love white tails – goddamn love them- and Rabelais, too. But I do want to stress that while Chanel and her German officers were having this fabulous time, the people of Paris were starving. Goring – Chanel’s friend, who was having champagne suppers at her table – decreed that the Parisian people would have to live on 1,200 calories a day. The elderly would be allotted only 850. This is a nearly impossible diet. And electricity was being cut off and there was some gas for cars but only on the black market.
Chanel’s lover, Dincklage was called back to Berlin to meet with Hitler. It was an honor, and when he returned, Dincklage was under orders to work directly for Berlin.
Now, while Chanel was having a pretty great time with all these German officers, her nephew Andre ended up in a German prisoner of war camp. Naturally, Chanel wanted him released, and quickly. Dincklage introduced her to his friend Louis de Vaufreland, another officer in German intelligence, who he thought might be helpful.
Vaufreland not only promised Chanel he could get her nephew out of the camp, he also told her that they could acquire full ownership of Chanel No. 5 perfume (since 1924 90% of Parfums Chanel was held by others), thus allowing her to profit greatly. All Chanel had to do was help the Germans obtain “political information.” He suggested that to do so she would have to be equipped with a visa to visit her friends in Madrid and England, a prospect which delighted Chanel.
So, in answer to the title: yes, she was a Nazi spy.
I just want to point out that around this time Josephine Baker was performing for the resistance in Northern Africa despite having a near fatal bout with peritonitis. Just saying, you know?