Coco Chanel hated Jews.
That is a fact.
I have read four biographies on Coco Chanel. In every book, it is pretty much accepted that she was an anti-semite.
Coco herself openly admitted that the main reason she never designed costumes for Hollywood was because it was an industry mostly run by Jews.
I have never held this knowledge against her.
Everyone has a right to their own opinions. And almost every single influential person in history has held prejudiced beliefs against something, whether it be former U.S. presidents who owned black slaves or Walt Disney, who was also a Nazi-sympathizer.
After all, people were subjected to incredible ignorance in the past. They were frightened of the unknown. They allowed their minds to be molded by false beliefs. They were products of their generation and the social climate which existed at the time.
As much as I despise Chanel's opinions on Jews, it didn't make me stop loving the Chanel brand. I still dabbed Chanel No. 5 on my wrist once in a while. I still lusted after the quilted handbags.
What girl hasn't?
But my friend Jonny recently sent me a link about a book which horrifies me.
The book, Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel's Secret War, reveals that Chanel actually collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. The book looks into wartime records which show her membership and activities for the Abwehr Nazi military intelligence.
If this information is true, then it drastically changes my opinion on Coco Chanel.
It is one thing to be a racist bigot. It is another to actively aid in the murder of millions of innocent people.
I'm going to be honest. I don't want to read this book. I'm too scared to read all the gory details.
Does that make me a bad person? Is it wrong to turn a blind eye to the past because you simply...don't want to know? Perhaps it makes me a bad journalist too.
I guess I just admire Coco Chanel so much as a businesswoman and as a designer, that it makes me sick to my stomach to think that the woman herself was...well, cruel and ugly inside.
What are your thoughts on this subject? Does this change your perception of Chanel?
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