New Bio Claims Coco Chanel Spied for Nazis

Fashion house deflects claims of anti-Semitism, spy missions
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2011 4:01 PM CDT
Biography Claims Coco Channel was Anti-Semitic Nazy Spy
American historian Hal Vaughan poses in Paris, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011 to present his book "Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel's Secret Wars."   (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

(Newser) – Fashion maven Coco Chanel was an anti-Semitic Nazi spy who recruited agents with her then-boyfriend, a German officer, according to a new biography. Sleeping With the Enemy: Coco Chanel's Secret War charts her alleged espionage career with lover Hans Gunther von Dincklage, and draws on international archives to support claims that the pair went on secret missions in Berlin and Madrid, Reuters reports.

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The Chanel fashion house, however, seems unconvinced. "What's certain is that she had a relationship with a German aristocrat during the war," says a representative. The Chanel house also dismissed allegations of anti-Semitism, saying the French fashion icon had Jewish friends and business ties to the Rothschild family. Written by a Paris-based American journalist, the book also claims that Chanel's German code name was "Westminster"—after another one of her lovers, the Duke of Westminster. (Read more Coco Chanel stories.)

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