Thursday, May 13, 2010

Recommended Reading On Women in the Third Reich

If you like academic books then I recommend this:

It explores the Nazi's image of women, the stereotype and the reality, and the blatant negative ambiguity of it all which still influences some Axis researches today. While officials were stopping ordinary Germans from shopping at Jewish shops, high ranking Nazi wives were buying their high fashion only from Jewish clothiers. She even quotes Magda Goebbels lamenting the demise of Jewish fashion design after the purges of the late 1930's. While women were told to stop wearing makeup and the party declared high fashion dress as decadently un-German, women's magazines were running articles on how to dress and style themselves after American actresses.

Other chapters include the expansion of female uniform design, with very interesting references to the BDM, RADwJ and armed forces Helferin and how their uniforms came about.

Her background work in the history of nationalistic pride is also worth reading and gives a nice insight into German thought in the first part of the 20th century. All together a nice all-round book which explores the German psyche, its attitude to itself at blatant odds with the official line of 'Kinder, Kirche, Kuchen'.

I find all the books that have been mentioned enlightening on Nazi chic/chicks. Magda Goebbels must not have known or heard about the House of Chanel in Paris. I never thought much of her style in anything she said or did. 

Coco Chanel kept a small atelier going during the SS occupationn of Paris. I knew her personally and had long conversations with her into the wee small hours. In her old age, she was an insomniac, because she had always been a night owl, partying and working till all hours when she was young and desirable. 

Her financiers were the Wertheimer Jewish family. They had a long and richly rewarding relationship with her until her death. The House of Chanel is still financed by the brilliantly astute Wertheimers. 

No, I don't thiink she, anymore than Simone de Beauvoir were Nazis because they both kept quiet. True, Coco being Coco, she was always enamored of drop dead gorgeous men who happenned to also be rich and/or influential. 

I think that is preferable to having sex with a repulsive looking man such as Jean Paul Sartre,who deluded Simone bed and was repeatedly unfaithful. Some aristocratic fashion setters in France said Coco had an affair to remember with one of the highest ranking SS.

Not all of them were monsters.I won't mention the name of this man. He was at least ten years younger than she. When he became ill with an incurable illness, she paid for all his medical bills.

I was head of Gucci Public Relations and was in my early twenties when we met in Paris. It was unforgettable knowing and listening to her. I learned a great deal about life, love and fashion. The House is still vibrant, still creating under the genius Karl Lagerfeld and the Wertheimers are still enchanted with its success.

1 comment:

  1. "Not all of them (the SS) were monsters."

    A perfectly truthful statement, as it impliedly acknowledges that many of them were monsters. And in my opinion their organisation and ideology was monstrous. But the Jewish psychiatrist Dr Viktor Frankl, who survived one of the concentration camps and wrote about it in "Man's Search For Meaning", told an anecdote about an SS guard in a camp liberated by the Americans. He was arrested as a war criminal (rightly so as a prima facie case), but then the newly liberated prisoners, mostly Jews, explained to the Americans that this particular SS officer had covertly supplied them with medicine at his own expense and peril, and they remonstrated with the Americans to set him free. The Americans did so, and then they put him in charge of assisting the newly liberated prisoners.

    But the fact remains that what he did for the prisoners was against SS policy. The man was decent because he betrayed the accursed SS.