The dressmakers of Auschwitz

Fashion

Haute Couture fashion is not something you would associate with Auschwitz, yet there were about 23 women who worked as dressmakers, producing dresses and haute couture fashion.

These female  prisoners served as the staff of the “Upper Tailoring Studio,” a private dressmaking shop for the wives of SS officers stationed at the facility. They were chosen for their skills, or because they had connections with existing dressmakers.

The names of only a few women are known. One of those women was Alida Vasselin(nee Delasalle-pictured above). she was a French communist, a member of the French resistance and a a corsetière. She was arrested arrested in 1942 for hiding anti-Nazi leaflets in the corsets she sewed.

Another French  communist resistance member was Marie-Louise Colombain, who was also set to work as a dress maker.

Marie

Both women survived the war. Alida died on April 28, 1986,and Marie died on December 17, 1998.

The Auschwitz commandant’s wife, Hedwig Hoess, had first employed two local Polish seamstresses to sew in her villa overlooking the concentration camp. Hedwig referred to the  life in the villa as  “paradise”. where she could indulge in luxury items.

Hoess

These included fabrics and fashions selected from the vast amount of plundered goods which was  being  in warehouses in the camp,only a short distance from her  flower garden. The prisoners carried out the sorting of goods, would often come across belongings of their own murdered relatives. The wives of other SS officers and also some of the female guards grew envious of Hedwig’s wardrobe, Hedwig then decided to open the elite dressmaking workshop – the Upper Tailoring Studio – inside the camp itself.

One of the Auschwitz seamstresses, a Slovakian dressmaker named Lulu Gruenberg, had difficulties controlling her resentment at the indifference and arrogance of the women for whom she was making clothes to survive.

It is said that one time when Hedwig Hoess came for a fitting with one of her young sons and while his mother’s back was turned, Lulu looped a tape measure around the boy’s neck like a noose and whispered, ‘Soon you are going to hang; your father, your mother and all the others’,” according to Lucy Adlington, the fashion  historian who  uncovered the facts about the ‘Tailoring studio’

The seamstresses were forced to produce two outfits per client a week. They created new designs, and altered high-quality clothes brought into Auschwitz by Jewish deportees. Many SS clients ordered beautiful evening gowns in fashionable styles, to be worn on social occasions like dinner parties, music concerts and cinema visits. None of the women had any issues wearing the gowns  of murdered innocent women, or clothes created by enslaved prisoners.

For the 23 seamstresses it was at least a small chance to survive.Although they were not immune to beatings and harsh treatments outside the studio. How many women survived I don’t know.

Hedwig Hoess re-married in Germany and immigrated to the USA, where she died on 15 September 1989 (aged 81)

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

$2.00

 

Sources

memoirevive.org/alida-delasalle

Find a grave

History Extra

Express.co.uk

 

 

 

The darker and also heroic side of Dior.

dior

I think mostly everyone has heard of the name Dior. The fashion house Dior is one of the most successful fashion houses in the world.

However there is a darker history behind the name and on the other hand also a tale of heroism is connected to the name. Especially the family’s history during WWII is a complicated one.

In 1937 Christian Dior was working for the designer Robert Piguet, but in September 1939 he was called up for military service because if the declaration of war.

Luckily enough  for him, his unit was not in the path of the German advance in May and June 1940 and he and his unit were demobilized quite soon after the French-German armistice on June 22nd, 1940. He stayed in the unoccupied of France for a while and did not return to Paris until 1941.

paris

In 1942 he joined the fashion house Lucien Lelong, where he worked closely together with legendary designer Pierre Balmain.

Dior designed dresses for the wives of Nazi officers and French collaborators. Looking at that now it is easy to be judgmental about his fraternizing with the enemy,but other designers like Jean Patou, Jeanne Lanvin, and Nina Ricci did the same, people did what they felt they had to do to survive. They also wanted to ensure that the couture would remain in Paris

On the other hand there was Christian’s younger sister, Catherine Dior. In 1941 she joined “Massif Central’, a Resistance network which was set up in the summer of 1940. by Polish military intelligence officers in exile in France. and were  focused on gathering and transmitting intelligence about German troop movements and weapon production.Catherine had joined them as a courier. which was extremely dangerous.

In June 1944 she was caught and arrested by the Carlingue, the French members of the Gestapo sometimes referred to as Gestapistes. After Catherine was tortured by the Carlibgie she was put on one of the last trains out of Paris, which departed on August 15, just days before the liberation of the city, her destination was Ravensbruck concentration camp.

ravensbruck

Between the time of her arrest and the time of her deportation, Christian tried  to seek  release for his sister,  via the Nazi contacts he made at his job and also via the Swedish diplomat Raoul Nordling, who mediated in the release of prisoners in the past. Unfortunately the efforts bore no fruits.

But fate was in Catherine’s favor ,she had been put to work in a munitions factory in the camp and survived the war. She was liberated in April, 1945 and returned to Paris the following month.

After the was she received the Croix de Guerre, the Combatant Volunteer Cross of the Resistance, the Combatant’s Cross, the King’s Medal for Courage in the Cause of Freedom (from Britain), and being named a chevalière of the Légion d’Honneur.

Catherine also publicly distanced herself from the daughter of her other brother Raymond. Françoise Dior after the niece married Colin Jordan, a British Neo-Nazi leader.

niece

In November, 1952, Catherine was called to testify against 14 former members of the Carlingue before a military tribunal in Paris.Catherine helped to preserve her brother Christian’s legacy after his death in 1957, she was involved with the opening of the Dior Museum in Granville. Catherine died in 2008.

dior 2

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

$2.00

 

 

Sources

Fashionunfiltered.com

Jezebel.com

 

The empty “noble” gesture of Hugo Boss

Boss

There is a popular misconception that Hugo Boss designed the SS uniforms. This is not true, the uniforms were designed by the  artist and senior SS officer called Karl Diebitsch, in cooperation with a graphic designer called Walter Heck. The uniforms were based on older uniforms with a few alterations.

SS

However it was Hugo Boss who got the lucrative order to produce the uniforms. He had been a member of the Nazi party since 1931.

By 1933, he could  advertise the fact  that he made clothes not only for the SS, but also for the Hitler Youth and the SA.His relationship with the Nazis made him a very wealthy man.

During the war it was difficult to find employees so he decided to start using forced labour, it is estimated that he used 140 Polish and 40 French forced laborers.

Even though Boss’s factory wasn’t part of a concentration camp,and his labourers were not considered  prisoners, the conditions were dreadful.

Poster

It would have been relatively easy and cheap for Hugo Boss to make life for his workers more bearable, but he chose not to.

The food was insufficient given the hours they had to work. And during air raids, the workforce was not allowed into shelters, but had to stay in the factory.There were no special treatments for children and pregnant women,

The most poignant story that indicates how desperate the workers felt is that of  Josefa Gisterek, a Polish woman.Sho was sent to work at Boss in October 1941. In December, she ran away, back home to give  her father a helping hand to raise her siblings, but she was captured by the Gestapo and transported to Auschwitz and then to  Buchenwald, where she was beaten.

Hugo Boss found out where she was, and  he used his contacts in the Nazi party to get her returned to Metzingen. Why did he did this is unclear, maybe he felt he had some responsibility for his workforce, but I doubt that.

When Josefa returned, the factory foreman worked her mercilessly, which resulted in her getting a breakdown.

After that Josefa was given three months’ leave, and was allowed to see a doctor, but on 5 July 1943, she committed suicide.Boss who probably felt some guilt. paid for the funeral expenses, and the travel costs for her family to attend.

funreal

Although this may appear to be some sort of a ‘noble’gesture, if Hugo Boss would have treated his workforce more humanely, Josefa would not have fled in the first place.

Hugo Boss died in 1948 but his company became one of the biggest fashion houses in the world and to this day is still a multi billion dollar company.

This is something I just can’t understand, if you take for example Oskar Schindler, he died a poor man and all that remains of his company is a museum, whereas companies like Boss,VW,C&A and BMW who all had an active part in the atrocities during WWII have become mega companies, how is that even possible?

 

 

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

$2.00

 

Source

Zwangsarbeit in Metzingen

 

 

 

 

Put down that Hatpin-The history of fashionable self defense.

23244297_10210724621859502_1152278015446797943_n

Just to prove my versatility as a blogger I have decided to do a blog on fashion accessories. Had you there for a moment, I have absolutely no clue about fashion.But in this day where there are more and more accounts of sexual harassment I discovered that in the late 19th,early 20th century women had a particular way to deal with it.

Hatpins were sometimes used by women to defend themselves against assault by men.

23172889_10210724619659447_1695163323398394498_n

Laws were passed in 1908 in America that limited the length of hatpins, as there was a concern they might be used by suffragettes as weapons. Also by the 1910s, ordinances were passed requiring hatpin tips to be covered so as not to injure people accidentally.

Around the turn of the 20th century, advertising was on the rise, which meant advertisers were targeting women with an array of consumer goods. Among them? Hats. Huge, elaborate hats perched atop even more huge, elaborate hairstyles were the must-have item of the day. The towering monstrosities were crafted from taffeta, silk, ribbons, flowers (real and fake), feathers (some birds were hunted nearly to extinction for hat feathers), birds , and even artificial fruit.

23131663_10210724633179785_6446678646672534790_n

As you can imagine, ladies required some special hardware in order to affix these fashionable items to their silky tresses.Hence the hatpin

If you’re picturing those cardboard sheets of hairpins you can buy by the hundred at the drug store, think again. The 20th century hatpin was nothing short of a weapon – it was made of sturdy metal and could be up to 9 inches long (or longer, depending on the style(of course the perception of  9 inch for men differs then that from women)

Hatpin

 

This is just one account of how women resorted to  this fashion accessory as a means of self defence.

‘On the afternoon of May 28, 1903, Leoti Blaker, a young Kansan touring New York City, boarded a Fifth Avenue stagecoach at 23rd Street and settled in for the ride. The coach was crowded, and when it jostled she noticed that the man next to her settled himself an inch closer to her. She made a silent assessment: elderly, elegantly dressed, “benevolent-looking.” The horse picked up speed and the stage jumped, tossing the passengers at one another again, and now the man was touching her, hip to hip, shoulder to shoulder. When he lifted his arm and draped it low across her back, Leoti had enough. In a move that would thrill victim of modern-day subway harassment, she reached for her hatpin—nearly a foot long—and plunged it into the meat of the man’s arm. He let out a terrible scream and left the coach at the next stop.

“He was such a nice-looking old gentleman I was sorry to hurt him,” she told the New York World. “I’ve heard about Broadway mashers and ‘L’ mashers, but I didn’t know Fifth Avenue had a particular brand of its own…. If New York women will tolerate mashing, Kansas girls will not.”

Newspapers across the country began reporting similar encounters with “mashers,” period slang for lecherous or predatory men (defined more delicately in Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie as “one whose dress or manners are calculated to elicit the admiration of susceptible young women”). A New York City housewife fended off a man who brushed up against her on a crowded Columbus Avenue streetcar and asked if he might “see her home.” A Chicago showgirl, bothered by a masher’s “insulting questions,” beat him in the face with her umbrella until he staggered away. A St. Louis schoolteacher drove her would-be attacker away by slashing his face with her hatpin. Such stories were notable not only for their frequency but also for their laudatory tone; for the first time, women who fought back against harassers were regarded as heroes rather than comic characters, as subjects rather than objects. Society was transitioning, slowly but surely, from expecting and advocating female dependence on men to recognizing their desire and ability to defend themselves.’

hatpin-defence

By 1909, the hatpin was considered an international threat, with the police chiefs in Hamburg and Paris considering measures to regulate their length.

In March 1910, Chicago’s city council ran with that idea, debating an ordinance that would ban hatpins longer than nine inches; any woman caught in violation would be arrested and fined $50. The proceedings were packed with curious spectators, men and women, and acrimonious from the start. “If women care to wear carrots and roosters on their heads, that is a matter for their own concern, but when it comes to wearing swords they must be stopped,” a supporter said. Cries of “Bravo!” from the men; hisses from the women. Nan Davis, there to represent several women’s clubs, asked for permission to address the committee. “If the men of Chicago want to take the hatpins away from us, let them make the streets safe,” she said. “No man has a right to tell me how I shall dress and what I shall wear.”

Despite Davis’ impassioned speech, the ordinance passed by a vote of 68 to 2. Similar laws subsequently passed in several other cities, including Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and New Orleans. Ten thousand miles away, in Sydney, Australia, sixty women went to jail rather than pay fines for wearing “murderous weapons” in their hats. Even conservative London ladies steadfastly refused to buy hatpin point protectors.

Bdjkq6aCEAAkYKT

 

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

$2.00

Adolf camping it up-His sense of Fashion should have been a sign for the Germans.

article-2483439-1920EB9300000578-671_634x355

I know this blog will be controversial however  I  do believe sometimes to get a message across is by showing how absurd things are. The fact is Adolf Hitler liked to dress up, I am not saying he was a drag queen but I think he may have had tendencies towards it,and behind closed doors you just don’t know what happened.

He actually spent a lot of money on clothes, the picture above is a bill of one of his tailors.

In this rare picture below, at first glance, Hitler looks like a bad pantomime dame, but is actually sporting a Japanese kimono.

The Fuhrer is seen donning the swastika-emblazoned traditional dress in the 1930s, despite not being known for his love of different cultures.

Bizarrely, before the start of WWII, from when he was sworn in as chancellor in 1933, it was quite common for Germans to buy novelty nick nacks bearing an image of the Fuhrer, such as this.

Its exact origin is not known, but it is speculated it was taken to commemorate the signing of the international pact between Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan on November 25 1936.

CWpnGcVUwAEAqUE

Really how could the Germans take anyone serious dressed in these shorts.

CeqP2tGUUAEkvdy

The one thing that I often noticed in Hitler’s body language that it was very effeminate, this probably fueled the rumours he may have been gay.

 

Hitler banned publication of this image from an early Nazi propaganda book.

Stupid Hitler (1) (1)

Hitler grinning inanely in another picture he tried to ban.


Stupid Hitler (2)

Hitler during imprisonment at Landsberg Prison. He was visited by fellow party members, 1924.

Adolf Hitler (3)

 

Hugo Boss-Fascist Fashion

hugo-boss

 

In 1923, Hugo Boss founded his own clothing company in Metzingen, a small town south of Stuttgart, where it is still based. In 1924 he started a factory along with two partners. The company produced shirts, jackets, work clothing, sportswear and raincoats. Due to the economic climate of Germany at the time, Boss was forced into bankruptcy.

Boss joined the Nazi Party in 1931, two years before Adolf Hitler came to power. By the third quarter of 1932, the all-black SS uniform (to replace the SA brown shirts) was designed by SS-Oberführer Prof. Karl Diebitsch and Walter Heck (graphic designer).

KarlDiebitsch

The Hugo Boss company produced these black uniforms along with the brown SA shirts and the black-and-brown uniforms of the Hitler Youth.

Berlin, Kaserne der LSSAH, Vergatterung

Boss_1933_adv

Some workers are acknowledged to have been French and Polish prisoners of war forced into labour. In 1999, US lawyers acting on behalf of Holocaust survivors started legal proceedings against the Hugo Boss company over the use of slave labour during the war. The misuse of 140 Polish and 40 French forced workers led to an apology by the company.

In 1945 Hugo Boss had a photograph in his apartment of him with Hitler, taken at Hitler’s Obersalzberg retreat.

r-HITLER-HUGO-BOSS-large570

The Hugo Boss company was one of 15,000 clothing companies that produced uniforms for Nazi Germany.

Because of his early Nazi Party membership, his financial support of the SS and the uniforms delivered to the Nazi Party, Boss was considered both an “activist” and a “supporter and beneficiary of National Socialism”. In a 1946 judgment he was stripped of his voting rights, his capacity to run a business, and fined “a very heavy penalty” of 100,000 DM ($70,553 U.S. dollars).However, Boss appealed, and he was eventually classified as a ‘follower’, a lesser category, which meant that he was not regarded as an active promoter of Nazism.

He died in 1948, but his business survived.

hbeu58058068_999_21

 

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

$2.00

Seventies Fashion

funny-1970s-mens-fashion-1-58088315e0937__700

I know there are a lot of people who will disagree me on this but I think the seventies music was great,with bands like Deep Purple,Led Zeppelin,the Eagles,the Who at the height of their success.Emerging artists like David Bowie and Gary Numan giving an artistic edge to the music scene.

However when it comes to fashion!That is a completely different ball game altogether. Especially men’s fashion Thank God I was too young at the time to wear men’s clothes

Below are a few examples of 70’s fashion. I’d suggest to put on sunglasses for this one.

 

 

 

Don’t say I haven’t warned you.If you are eating or drinking something please put it down now.

funny-1970s-mens-fashion-77-580883f366e93__700

 

I can’t say the women were much better though.

 

Not sure what this is, Mexican western style or beach sports attire. They should not have been smoking the funny stuff before getting dressed.

funny-1970s-mens-fashion-13-58088334d20bf__700

Leaving you with Mungo Jerry his sideburns were a fashion statements on their own. As for the lyrics.

“If her daddy’s rich take her out for a meal
If her daddy’s poor just do what you feel”

I don’t think you’d get away with that nowadays.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

$2.00