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Company that owns big businesses like Krispy Kreme, Panera, is terribly sorry for ancestors’ Nazi past. So it plans to donate $11 million to charity.


Interesting findings

Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The German family that owns majority shares in companies like Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Panera Bread is donating $11 million to an as-yet determined charity after discovering that its ancestors were reportedly connected to Nazis, and endorsed and utilized some of Adolf Hitler's practices.

What are the details?

A Sunday report from the Associated Press reveals that ancestors of the Reimanns — one of Germany's richest families — had deep ties to Nazi Germany, supporting Hitler and utilizing forced labor in their businesses.

The report was initially published by Bild newspaper, according to the AP.

The Reimanns own a majority interest in companies like Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Clearasil, Calgon, Panera Bread, Keurig Green Mountain, and more, and operate under JAB Holding Company out of Berlin, Germany.

The report noted that Albert Reimann Sr. and his son, Albert Reimann Jr., "used Russian civilians and French POWs as forced laborers." The Reimanns also donated to the SS before Nazis rose to power, according to the investigation.

Reimann Sr. died in 1954. Reimann Jr. died three decades later, in 1984.

Peter Harf, a spokesperson for the family as well as one of the managing partners of the company, said that the news in the report was true, and that the family had been examining its history even before the report came to light.

In 2014, the family commissioned a historian to investigate the family's history of suspected Nazism.

"It is all correct," he said. "Reimann senior and Reimann junior were guilty. ... They belonged in jail."

After an investigation, the younger members of the family discovered the news.

"We were all ashamed and turned as white as the wall," Harf said. "There is nothing to gloss over. These crimes are disgusting."

The German government apportioned 10 billion marks in 2000 (approximately 5.1 billion euro; approximately 5.8 billion USD) to fund investigations into companies like AEG, Deutsche Bank, Daimler-Benz, and more, to determine whether the companies were historically involved with Nazis.

Harf said that the family planned to donate 10 million euros (11.3 million USD) once the complete report is released.

"The whole truth must be put on the table," Harf insisted.

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