JAB Holdings: Reimann family, which owns ownership in Krispy Kreme and Panera Bread, admits Nazi past

Peter Harf, who leads the Reimann family JAB Holding Co., shown in Berlin in 2016. (Soeren Stache / DPA / AP)

The German family that the holding company owns controlling efforts in companies such as Krispy Kreme Donuts, Panera Bread, Pret a Manger and Einstein Bros. Bagels benefited from the Nazi regime's atrocities, according to a bomber report in a German newspaper.

Tabloid Bild, one of Germany's most popular papers, reported that Albert Reimann Sr. and Albert Reimann Jr., whose family had returned JAB Holdings, had significant links to the Third Reich.

JAB Holdings is a privately owned conglomerate that has investments in a broad portfolio of global companies, including Peet's Coffee, Keurig Green Mountain and Dr Pepper-Snapple. It acquired Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, which owns three national bagel chains – Einstein Bros, Noah's New York Bagels and Manhattan Bagel – in 2014.

The report found that Russian civil and French prisoners of war were used as forced laborers in family factories and private villas around others. World War II, when it was involved in chemical-related production, mainly for the food industry, according to Deutsche Welle.

"That's all right," says spokesman Peter Harf, who is one of two managing partners in JAB Holdings, told Bild. "Reimann Senior and Reimann Junior were guilty. The two men have passed away, but they actually belonged to jail."

The two men died in 1954 and 1984, respectively.

Other information in the report includes disclosures that the two men were anti-semitic and avowed supporters of Adolf Hitler, and Reimann Sr. donated to the paramilitary SS force already in 1933, according to Deutsche Welle.

Reimann Jr. once complained to the mayor of Ludwigshafen, where the family had an industrial chemical company, The French were prisoners of war not working hard, Deutsche Welle reported.

The report was a reminder of how some private businesses willing to put moral and human rights considerations aside are able to take advantage of the oppression of fascist regimes. companies have counted on stories of cooperation with the Nazi regime, including Hugo Boss, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and others.

Harf told Bild that the company Plans to give about $ 11 million to charity after learning from family history, AFP reported. He said the family had looked at the past, and in 2014, a historian, Paul Erker from the Munich University, commissioned to study his ties to the Nazi regime, a work that has not yet been completed for more than four years. Harf said the family plans to release more information about that study when it is finished.

In an email, Erker confirmed that he was investigating the company's history in the Nazi era.

"It's about an overall story also in the industry context, but where forced labor plays a central role," says Erker. "The mandate includes absolutely scientific independence and unlimited access to files, including Benckiser Archive and family records. I ask for the understanding that I cannot provide any information on the details and results of the ongoing project. "

JAB Holdings was founded in the 1820s by Johan A. Benckiser, according to CB insights, and now serves as the" investment vehicle "of the Reimann family.

It keeps stakes in companies behind brands such as Mucinex, Woolite and Durex condoms, according to CB Insights, and the majority shareholder of the beauty product company Coty, in recent years, aggressive efforts to expand beyond the world of household goods have been aware, especially in the world of coffee and baked goods, allegedly spending more than $ 40 billion on to buy brands such as Peet's Coffee, Caribou Coffee and Keurig Green Mountain, Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Intelligentsia.

The Reimann family, which has been described several times in news reports as "secret", has an estimated fortune of around 33 billion, or about $ 37 billion, according to AFP, and is believed to be the second richest in Germany, JAB Holdings did not respond to a request for comment.

Erker said that n did not have an exact date yet when he expected to get his report ready.

According to AFP, the company had employed as many as 175 forced laborers and produced artifacts for the Nazi military and arms industry. The company has not compensated any of the forced laborers, but we have since talked about what we can do now, says Harf.

"We want to do more and donate ten million euros to an appropriate organization," he said.

Luisa Beck contributed to this report.

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