The German family that owns brands like Krispy Kreme and Pret a Manger will donate $11 million of their fortune to atone for their Nazi ancestors who used slave labor during World War II.
JAB Holding Company, owned by the Reimann family, also owns controlling stakes in Keurig Dr. Pepper, Panera Bread and several other companies.
Albert Riemann Sr. and Albert Reimann Jr. were supporters of Adolf Hitler and used Russian civilians and French prisoners of war as forced laborers, the Bild newspaper first reported.
During World War II, 175 workers, or around 30% of the workforce at the Reimann’s industrial chemicals company, were forced laborers.
Peter Harf, one of JAB’s managing partners, confirmed the report on behalf of the Reimann family.
“It is all correct,” Harf told Bild. “Reimann senior and Reimann junior were guilty … they belonged in jail.”
The two men died in 1954 and 1984 respectively and younger generations of the family were not aware of past Nazi ties. In addition to using slave labor, Reimann Sr. also donated to Hitler’s SS as early as 1931.
The family hired historian Paul Erker from the University of Munich to examine the Reimann family history. He presented his findings to members of the family and Harf several weeks ago.
“We were all ashamed and turned white as the wall,” Harf said. “There is nothing to gloss over. These crimes are disgusting.”
Harf said the $11 million will be donated to a not-yet-determined charity after the historian’s research is completed. The Reimanns are thought to be Germany’s second richest family, worth more than $37 billion.
With news wire services
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