The name Coco Chanel evokes glamorous fashion: chic black dresses, feminine suits, and a pretty famous fashion designer. However, what the name doesn't - but maybe should - evoke is Nazi sympathizer. It turns out Coco Chanel, the designer and creator of the still-famous fashion label, was a known Nazi sympathizer who slept with at least one German official and took advantage of her relationships to get rid of her Jewish business partners. While Parisian Jews were being rounded up, Chanel lived in luxury at the Ritz.
There are so many mysteries surrounding the Nazis, one of which includes Chanel's involvement with them. Was Coco Chanel a Nazi spy? Well, she did spy for them, but some say her motives were purely selfish, rather than hateful. Still, it's surprising to realize one of the biggest names in fashion had such strong ties to some of the most hated people in history.
Chanel Lived A Comfortable Life As The Mistress Of A German Officer
During WWII, famous fashion designer Coco Chanel lived a glamorous life at the Ritz Hotel – a lifestyle she shared with various Nazi agents and officers as infamous as Joseph Goebbels and Hermann Goering. She and her guests enjoyed luxurious food while others in Paris went hungry. Chanel was able to live in such excess thanks to her relationship at the time with Baron Hans Günther von Dincklage, a notable Nazi officer who worked for the German intelligence agency – and eventually recruited his mistress.
Her Lover Introduced Her To Powerful Nazi Figures
It was mainly Chanel's relationship with German officer Hans Gunther von Dincklage that secured her status as Nazi ally and spy. Despite their 13-year age difference (she was older), the pair maintained a lasting relationship, which was full of treachery during the war. While working for the Abwehr (German military intelligence), Chanel and Dincklage traveled around Europe, attempting to recruit newcomers to the Nazi party. They lived together at the Ritz in Paris, where they first met and where he began introducing her to other Abwehr agents. It was her relationship with Dincklage that led her on the path to becoming an agent herself.
She Worked For The Chief Of The German Intelligence Agency
Walter Schellenberg was one of the higher-ups in the Nazi ranks - for a few years during the war he was Heinrich Himmler's right-hand man, until he rose through the ranks to become the head of SS intelligence.
In 1943, Shellenberg requested Dincklage bring Chanel to Berlin. Schellenberg was taken in by Chanel's connections to the British aristocracy (her former lover being the Duke of Westminster) and politicians (she had, by that time, formed a friendship with Winston Churchill). Chanel's connections were supposed to be helpful to people like Schellenberg, who were growing disillusioned with Hitler and wanted to overthrow him and ally themselves with England. Their plans didn't work, but Chanel and Schellenberg maintained some sort of relationship, as she paid for all of his hospice care before his death in 1952.
She Even Had A Code Name And Agent Number
Coco Chanel went by another name during WWII: "Agent Westminster." Yes, her Nazi spy name (that correlated to her official number, F-7124) was a nod to her previous relationship with the Duke of Westminster, a connection that would prove vital to her standing with the Abwehr. The Nazis relied on Chanel's British connections, and used her for them. She, of course, knew this, and gave them information and went on missions willingly, using her social graces to recruit Nazi sympathizers. In exchange, she traveled Europe with her lover, and got a few favors out of the Nazis, such as getting her nephew released from a POW camp.