Coco Chanel had two business partners of Jewish descent, and she preferred to use her Nazi links to regain ownership of her perfume empire from Pierre and Paul Wertheimer. It was The No 5 War, the new documentary says.
Jewish business partners brothers Wertheimer became Gabrielle Chanel’s partners in 1924 after backing the full financial and production costs of the revolutionary No 5 scent. The French designer’s dark past has been uncovered in recent years, which included a lengthy love affair with a senior Nazi officer.
The French director Stephane Benhamou in his new documentary called The No 5 War has revealed further dealings between Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel and the Vichy regime that ruled wartime Paris. After the deal was struck she received only 10 percent of profits, 70 percent went to the Wertheimers, while 20 percent was transferred to Paris department store Galeries Lafayette.
But never satisfied with how ownership and profits were divided, she became involved with an aristocratic Abwehr spymaster called Hans Günther von Dincklage – who was 13 years younger than her, reports Israeli newspaper Hareetz. She agreed to help German intelligence operations in exchange for Von Dincklage promising to try and strip the Wertheimers of their perfume ownership.
Chanel used Aryan laws that stripped Jewish people of their property rights under Nazi rule. The brothers escaped and lived in exile in New York, where they had started to re-start production of the perfume, Benhamou’s new film claims.
Chanel’s dark past
In 1922, Coc Chanel launched her fragrance Chanel No.5, which remains popular to this day. While three years later, Chanel launched her signature cardigan jacket which propelled her fashion house to global success, and was followed by her little black dress – both items continue to be a staple part of every Chanel collection.
Dying aged 87, her popularity suffered after a high profile affair with a Nazi officer. It is now claimed she tried to use her links with senior Nazis to gain control of her business from five Jewish investors who took the lion share of the profits from her labour.