The wealthy German family company that owns a controlling stake in Pret a Manger admits that their ancestors were Hitler supporters who used forced labor and promised to donate 8.5 million pounds to charity
- Albert Reimann Sr and Albert Reimann Jr used forced labor to build fortune
- The father and son, who died in 1954 and 1984, also supported Adolf Hitler
- The younger generation plans to donate 8.6 million pounds to charity as a gesture
Albert Reimann Sr (pictured) used Russian civilians and French prisoners of war to help build his fortune
One of the richest families in Germany claims to donate ten million euros (£ 8.5 million) to charity after learning of the enthusiastic support of their ancestors to Adolf Hitler and the use of forced laborers.
Albert Reimann Sr and Albert Reimann Jr used Russian civilians and French prisoners of war to help build their fortune, according to documents reported in the German newspaper Bild.
Family spokesman Peter Harf, who is a managing partner of Reimann's Jab Holding Company – which holds a controlling interest in Krispy Kreme Donuts and Pret a Manger, said recent internal research has confirmed the results.
"It's all right," he told the newspaper. & # 39; Reimann senior and Reimann junior were guilty … they were in prison. & # 39;
The father and son, who died in 1954 and 1984, did not speak of the Nazi era and the family had thought that the whole relationship of the company with the Nazis had been revealed in a 1978 report, he said Harf.
But after reading the documents kept by the family, the younger generation began to ask questions and commissioned a historian from the University of Munich in 2014 to examine the history of Reimann in greater depth.
The expert presented his preliminary findings to Reimann's children and grandchildren, as well as to Hanf, a few weeks ago.
Reimann's Jab Holding Company holds a controlling interest in Krispy Kreme Donuts
They also have a controlling interest in Pret a Manger, Keurig Green Mountain, Peet's Coffee & Tea, Caribou Coffee Co., Panera Bread and other companies
"We were all ashamed and we were as white as the wall," he said. "There is nothing to gloss over. These crimes are disgusting."
In addition to Krispy Kreme Donuts and Pret a Manger, the Luxembourg-based JAB Holding Company has controlling interests in Keurig Green Mountain, Peet's Coffee & Tea, Caribou Coffee Co., Panera Bread and other companies.
Many German companies recognized the use of slave laborers during the Nazi era and conducted their own independent investigations.
In 2000, the German government approved a $ 10 billion fund (about 5.1 billion euros) to provide compensation, with half the money coming from companies like Bayer, Siemens, Deutsche Bank, Daimler-Benz, Volkswagen and AEG.
Even before the Nazis came to power, the Reimanns would have donated to the paramilitaries SS.
Family spokesman Peter Harf, who runs Reimann's Jab Holding Company, said: "We were all ashamed and we were as white as the wall. There is nothing to gloss over. These crimes are disgusting."
During World War II, the company used forced laborers in its industrial chemical company.
It is not clear how many were used in the complex, but it was reported that 175 forced laborers were employed in 1943, about 30% of its workforce.
In addition to the civilians of Russia and other Eastern European countries, the company used French prisoners of war – of which Reimann Jr. complained in a letter to the mayor of Ludwigshafen in 1940 that they were not working enough hard.
After the war, the two were investigated by the allied occupying powers and initially banned by the French from continuing their commercial activities, but then the judgment was overturned by the Americans.
Harf said the family will donate ten million euros (8.5 million pounds) to a charity not yet determined as a gesture, and once the historian's report is complete, it will be released to the public.
"The whole truth must be put on the table," he said.