Coco Chanel: Nazi Collaborator

Chanel1 had always had a series of influential lovers of various nationalities, so it was natural that during the German occupation the lover should be German: Baron Hans Günther von Dincklage, a diplomat with intelligence connections. After the war, Chanel, living at the Ritz, was briefly arrested on suspicion of collaboration and questioned by the Commission d’Épuration, but was soon released and allowed to leave for Switzerland. There was, in fact, ample evidence of Chanel’s collaboration, not only through the Dincklage connection but also because she had taken the opportunity to settle scores with the firm of Pierre and Paul Wertheimer, Jews whom she considered had swindled her out of profits from Chanel No. 5. It was the intercession of an old society friend, Winston Churchill, that got her off the hook in 1944 and enabled her to retreat to Lausanne.

Sheila Fitzpatrick · Frisson of Electric Sparkle: Scratch ’n’ Sniff · LRB 15 July 2021

1 Coco Chanel – Wikipedia

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