German family with Krispy Kreme and Pret A Manger giving millions to Holocaust survivors
Albert Reimann Sr. (photo) was a Nazi supporter who used forced labor
The German billionaire owners of Krispy Kreme Donuts and Pret A Manger donate millions to Holocaust survivors to pay for their family's use of forced labor and support for Adolf Hitler during the Nazi era.
The Reimann family is giving £ 4.2 million (5 million euros) to the conference on Jewish material claims against Germany to help thousands of older survivors around the world.
The JAB Investors company also plans to provide another £ 4.2 million to find and support forced laborers used by its predecessor under the Nazis.
An additional £ 21 million (€ 25 million) will be donated annually to Holocaust education and the promotion of democratic values to combat the rise of populist nationalism.
The family founded the Alfred Landecker Foundation in Berlin to oversee the efforts, named after a German Jew who was murdered by the Nazis and – remarkably enough – whose grandchildren have a joint stake of 45 percent in JAB.
& # 39; To address this, it was a pretty emotional wake-up call for the family, & # 39; said David Kamenetzky, chairman of both the foundation and JAB Investors, in a telephone interview from Washington prior to Thursday's planned announcement.
The £ 4.2 million dedicated to the existing Claims Conference emergency aid program will be distributed over the next three years to around 200 welfare organizations, said Greg Schneider, vice president of the conference.
& # 39; It will have a huge impact on the lives of the world's poorest survivors of the Holocaust & # 39 ;, he added.
This year, around 10,500 survivors, on average 83 years, were helped by short-term financial crises through the program in 34 countries.
The additional funding will result in increased payments, or around 3,000 more survivors to receive assistance, with the Claims Conference and partner agencies taking on the administrative costs themselves.
The announcement comes after the Reimann family released the first details earlier this year from a report commissioned about its own Nazi past.
Luxembourg-based JAB, worth £ 16.9 billion (€ 20 billion), grew from Benckiser, an industrial chemical company run by Albert Reimann Sr. and Albert Reimann Jr., Nazi party members who died in 1954 and 1984, respectively.
The Reimann family business owns Pret A Manger and and Krispy Kreme and is worth £ 16.9 billion
The Reimanns are donating £ 10 million to help Holocaust survivors around the world
Nowadays the conglomerate has controlling interests in the Dr, alongside Krispy Kreme Donuts and Pret a Manger. Pepper Snapple Group, Keurig Green Mountain, Peet & # 39; s Coffee & Tea, Caribou Coffee Co., Panera Bread and other companies.
Immediately after the Second World War, Reimann Sr. and Jr. investigated by the occupying Allied powers and initially prohibited by the French from continuing their business activities. The judgment was subsequently destroyed by the Americans.
According to the family, both did not talk about the Nazi era, but after collecting documents they had kept up, the younger generation began to ask questions and in 2014 ordered a historian from the University of Munich to deepen the family's past to investigate.
He discovered documents in Germany, France and the US that showed that Albert Reimann Sr. and Albert Reimann Jr. Russian civilians and French prisoners of war used as forced laborers, and were early supporters of the Nazi party, including donating to the paramilitary SS even before Hitler came to power.
Researchers have identified 838 people who had to work for Benckiser during the war, Kamenetzky said.
No one was Jewish or sent to Benckiser as slaves from concentration camps.
The Reimann family founded the Alfred Landecker Foundation – named after a German Jew who was murdered by the Nazis, possibly in the Belzec concentration camp (photo)
Efforts are underway to find those who are still alive, not only to offer financial assistance, but also to ask them to talk about their experiences, he said.
& # 39; We are determined to look at history, & # 39; said Kamenetzky.
That history also includes Alfred Landecker, a Jewish German veteran from the First World War who was murdered by the Nazis, probably in the Sobibor or Belzec extermination camp.
Albert Reimann Jr. – the devoted Nazi – had three children in a remarkable turn with Emilie Landecker, the daughter of Alfred Landecker, whose Catholic wife died in 1928.
Landecker had all three of his children baptized Catholic and by the time the Gestapo came for him in 1942, Emilie Landecker was already working as a servant for Reimann Jr. – the same man who personally wrote a letter to SS leader Heinrich Himmler in 1937 & # 39; we are a purely Aryan family business. & # 39;
Emilie Landecker continued to work for the company after the war. Although it is not clear when she and Reimann Jr. started their affair, they had their first child together in 1951, followed by two more. Reimann Jr., who had no children with his wife, adopted all three of them in 1965. Two of them now belong to the four shareholders of JAB Investors. The third is not involved.
In view of the events that led to the murder of their grandfather and 6 million other Jews, the annual funding of € 25 million through the foundation will focus on programs aimed at combating anti-Semitism, protecting minorities and the strengthening of democracies against populism and nationalism.
The family named the foundation after Alfred Landecker, both as a tribute to him and to ensure that the focus was not on JAB Investors or the Benckiser company, Kamenetzky said.
& # 39; Of everything that came out of it, the 10 million, the 25 million, the most important is the naming, & # 39; he said. & # 39; The naming is a true statement. & # 39;
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