(March 28, 2019 / JNS) One of Germany’s richest families with business holdings in multiple internationally recognized brands will be donating millions of dollars to charity after learning that their parents and grandparents were ardent supporters of Adolf Hitler who exploited Jewish prisoners for slave labor.
In a massive report in Germany’s Bild newspaper, Albert Reimann Sr. and Albert Reimann Jr. were reported to have used Russian civilians and French POWs as forced laborers when the Nazi regime reigned, according to documents recently brought to light.
Peter Harf, family spokesman and one of two managing partners of the Reimann’s JAB Holding Company—owning controlling interest in Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Pret a Manger, Einstein Bros and Panera Bread, among other companies—subsequently conducted an independent investigation, to determine the truth about his predecessors.
The father and son, who reportedly did not talk about the Nazi era, died in 1954 and 1984, respectively. Revelations about the Reimman company’s connection to the Nazis were exposed in 1978, but an expert hired by the family in 2014 led to more detailed information being presented to them several weeks ago.
“We were all ashamed and turned as white as the wall,” said Harf. “There is nothing to gloss over. These crimes are disgusting.”
He vowed that his family would give 10 million euros ($11.3 million) to an as yet unspecified charity and would make the findings of the investigation public.
According to the report, Reimann Sr. donated money to the SS even before the Nazis came to power and hung swastikas outside his factory. In 1937, Reimann Jr. wrote a letter to Heinrich Himmler, assuring him that they were a “purely Aryan family business.”
During World War II, approximately 30 percent of their industrial chemical company’s workers were forced laborers—about 175 people.
Bild reported that the pair were banned by the French from continuing their business after the war, but the judgment was overturned by the Americans.