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Turns Out Coco Chanel May Have Been An Anti-Semite Who Supported The Nazis

Updated February 22, 2019 3.5k views9 items

The name Coco Chanel evokes images of glamorous fashion: chic black dresses, feminine suits, and a pretty famous fashion designer. However, what the name doesn't - but maybe should - evoke is the image of a 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 try to steal money from 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. We know that she had an affair with a German official, but her actual spy credentials are questionable. Was her involvement with Nazis purely selfish, or were they fueled by hate? Either way, it is surprising to realize that one of the biggest names in fashion had such strong ties to one of the most hated groups 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. 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 may have 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 a Nazi ally. 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.

  • Photo: Kurt Alber / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY SA 3.0

    She Gave Money to a High-Ranking Nazi When He Fell on Hard Times

    Walter Schellenberg was one of the higher-ups in the Nazi regime, rising through the ranks to become the head of SS intelligenceIn 1952, a few years after WWII ended, Chanel was contacted by Schellenberg, who had fallen on hard financial times and was also ill.

    He told her of his hardships, and she soon arrived at his residence in Pallanza, a town near Swiss-Italian border, in order to give him and his family 30,000 Swiss Francs to cover all of his expenses.


  • Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    She Even Had A Code Name And Agent Number

    Coco Chanel went by another name during WWII: "Agent Westminster." 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. 

    She gave them information and went on missions, using her social graces to recruit Nazi sympathizers. In exchange, she traveled Europe with her lover and was on the receiving end of a few favors from the Nazis, such as getting her nephew released from a POW camp.