Shelved Dolls: Coco Chanel – Was She A Nazi?

“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.

This is the Baron von Dincklage, Coco's lover

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?

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    • Lastango

      “In one Iribe drew a naked Coco Chanel – meant to represent Marianne (a symbol of the French state) – being cradled by Hitler who is seemingly defending her from a group of Jews. So that is where Coco formed her political views. It is amazing that you could have these opinions and be open about them and still be part of polite society.”
      Actually, openly-expressed anti-Semitic views are de rigueur in Europe today. In the UK, a parliamentary inquiry found that:

      “Anti-Jewish themes and remarks are gaining acceptability in some quarters in public and private discourse in Britain and there is a danger that this trend will be come more and more mainstream… It is this phenomenon that has contributed to an atmosphere where Jews have become more anxious and more vulnerable to abuse and attack than at any other time for a generation of longer.”
      That’s expecially true in Europe’s upper crust:

    • fionarocks

      So disappointing to hear this. But great article! You’re right, she absolutely should have known better.

    • Deb

      An interesting read is the book “Hitler’s Willing Executioners”. Describes the pervasive antisemitism of not only Germany but the entire continent pretty much.

    • MR

      You know there were a lot fascists in France. The Nazis – after they defeated France in 1940 – formed a French government around them, called Vichy France. Churchill ended any threat it posed to Britain shortly after, in Oran, Algeria, when he ordered the destruction of the (now Vichy) French Navy. I guess Coco wasn’t as much a threat as of the French Navy falling into Nazi Germany’s hands, huh? Lucky for Coco. :)

    • kj

      Well, that’s depressing. At least I don’t have to feel as bad now about not liking her clothes…………

    • Natalie

      I think this is one of those situations that is similar to the founding fathers of America. They all owned salves. That was awful. Yet, we still like them and they still founded America. Not that it is excusable that they owned salves, but we can still like America.
      So we can still like her clothes. I guess.

      • Jennifer Wright

        I mean, I own some salves myself. My skin gets pretty dry in the winter.

      • Kokos

        Yeah,me to. Got to get some slaves to rub it on me,though.

      • jjj


    • Abvilian

      Coco was a British spy, which is well known and documented fact.

    • Kokos

      Still am amazed at the level of admiration uninformed,ignorant and in most cases,desperate left women have for this person. Ladies,grab your pen and notepad: Coce=junkie+golddigger+home-wrecker+nazi+perfume&some clothes. Cheers.

    • Sammy

      After the war, many French women who had been known to “consort” with German soldiers had their heads shaved publicly. Apparently some thought that this should happen to Chanel but Churchill intervened.

    • Clarisse Thorn

      When you’re in a social circle where orgies are common, they usually “just happen,” although sometimes they are explicitly and carefully planned. You know how sometimes you’re on a date and then one thing leads to another and you’re making out and then you both make a million tiny decisions that eventually lead to you leaping into bed naked together? And the next day you’re like, “What decision? it just happened!” even though there were actually a lot of decisions and usually at least one party put a lot of effort into making sex happen? Sometimes orgies happen like that, too.

      But sometimes they really are planned through Facebook events. If you aren’t getting enough Facebook orgies, maybe you should plan one. It’s surprisingly difficult but gets easier with practice.