Owners of Krispy Kreme pay €10m over Nazi links
One of Germany's richest families, whose company owns a controlling interest in Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Panera Bread and Pret a Manger, plans to donate €10m to charity after learning of their ancestors' enthusiastic support for Hitler and use of forced labour under the Nazis.
In a four-page report, the 'Bild' newspaper reported that documents uncovered in Germany, France and the US reveal that Albert Reimann Sr and Albert Reimann Jr used Russian civilians and French POWs as forced labourers.
Family spokesman Peter Harf, who is one of two managing partners of the Reimanns' JAB Holding Company, said internal research confirmed the report.
"It is all correct," he said. "Reimann senior and Reimann junior were guilty ... they belonged in jail."
The father and son, who died in 1954 and 1984, did not talk about the Nazi era and the family had thought that all of the company's connection to the Nazis had been revealed in a 1978 report, Mr Harf said.
But after reading documents kept by the family, the younger generation began to ask questions and commissioned a University of Munich historian in 2014 to examine the Reimann history thoroughly.
The expert presented his preliminary findings several weeks ago.
"We were all ashamed and turned as white as the wall," he said. "There is nothing to gloss over. These crimes are disgusting."
The Luxembourg-based JAB Holding Co also has controlling stakes in Keurig Green Mountain, Peet's Coffee & Tea, Caribou Coffee Co and other companies.
Many German companies, including Bayer and Volkswagen, have acknowledged using slave labour in the Nazi era.