Coco Chanel

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In 1939, at the beginning of World War II, Chanel closed her shops, maintaining her apartment situated above the couture house at 31 rue Cambon. She claimed that it was not a time for fashion.[19] Three thousand female employees lost their jobs.[37] The advent of war had given Chanel the opportunity to retaliate against those workers, who lobbying for fair wages and work hours, had closed down her business operation during the general labor strike in France in 1936. In closing her couture house, Chanel made a definitive statement of her political views. Her visceral loathing of Jews inculcated by her convent years, and sharpened by her aristocratic associations over time, had solidified her right-wing beliefs. She shared with most of her circle the conviction that Jews and liberal politicians were a Bolshevik threat to Europe.[38] During the German occupation Chanel resided at the Hotel Ritz, which was also noteworthy for being the preferred place of residence for upper echelon German military staff. Her romantic liaison with Hans Günther von Dincklage, a German officer who had been an operative in military intelligence since 1920, [39]facilitated her arrangement to reside at the Ritz. [40] World War II, specifically the Nazi seizure of all Jewish-owned property and business enterprises, provided Chanel with the opportunity to gain the full monetary fortune generated by "Parfums Chanel" and its most profitable product, Chanel No. 5. The directors of "Parfums Chanel," the Wertheimers, were Jewish, and Chanel used her position as an “Aryan” to petition German officials to legalize her claim to sole ownership. On May 5, 1941, she wrote to the government administrator charged with ruling on the disposition of Jewish financial assets. Her grounds for proprietary ownership were based on the claim that “Parfums Chanel “is still the property of Jews”…and had been legally “abandoned” by the owners.[41] “I have,” she wrote, “an indisputable right of priority…the profits...
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