First, it was the Mercedes, then it was the Swiss bank account. Now, women’s beloved Louis Vuitton handbags may be the next high-class item to be tainted by the Holocaust.
According to a report in The Guardian, a new book alleges that both the company and members of the Vuitton family supported the Vichy regime, under which French Jews were deported to concentration camps. In “Louis Vuitton: A French Saga,” author Stephanie Bonvicini claims to have uncovered evidence of the firm’s collusion while conducting research for a story to mark the company’s 150th anniversary this year.
According to the book, members of the Vuitton family actively supported Marshal Henri-Philippe Pétain’s puppet government and made money from their business dealings with the Germans. The author also alleges that the family produced statuesque busts commemorating the Vichy government and that Vuitton’s great-grandson, Henry, was decorated for his loyalty to the regime. “Part of the collaboration was due to the family’s obsession with the survival of the company, and part due to the fact that there was a certain sympathy with the regime’s right-wing views,” Bonvicini told The Guardian.
The LVMH group, which owns the brand, currently has 314 Vuitton shops in 52 countries and recently has opened two new stores in New York. According to Bonvicini, the company was once “extremely keen” about her book, but distanced itself after learning of her allegations.