The secretive German family behind the company that owns Panera Bread, Krispy Kreme, and Pret a Manger is donating more than $11 million after the discovery of its Nazi past

  • The billionaire Reimann family, which owns JAB Holding Company, says it’s donating more than $US11 million to charity after uncovering the extent of its ancestors’ Nazi activity.
  • Through a representative, the family confirmed findings that Albert Reimann Sr. and Albert Reimann Jr. were early supporters of the Nazi party and used Russian civilians and French prisoners of war as forced laborers during World War II.
  • JAB Holding owns brands including Keurig, Panera, Krispy Kreme, and Pret a Manger.

The family behind Krispy Kreme, Panera, and Caribou Coffee says it’s planning to atone for its Nazi past.

The Reimann family is one of the richest dynasties in the world, worth at least $US19 billion, Forbes reported in 2015. The German family owns the controlling interest in JAB Holding, the company that owns well-known chains including Panera, Krispy Kreme, and Pret a Manger.

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According to The Associated Press, Bild, Germany’s largest newspaper, reported on Sunday that it had uncovered documents that revealed Albert Reimann Sr. and Albert Reimann Jr. were supporters of the Nazi party and that during World War II they used Russian civilians and French prisoners of war as forced laborers.

“There is nothing to gloss over. These crimes are disgusting,” Peter Harf, a representative for the family, told Bild, according to the AP.

Through Harf, the Reimann family said it planned to donate €10 million ($US11.3 million) to a charity, which hasn’t been determined.

A JAB representative told Business Insider that the donation was decided in late January, before the Bild report, and that the family did not have any further comment.

Though the elder Reimann’s ties to the Nazi party had previously been reported, the extent of the use of forced labour and Reimann’s donations to the SS before the Nazi party came into power had not.

Harf said the Reimanns have been working with a historian at the University of Munich to research the family’s history and would make the historian’s report public when it’s complete, according to the AP.

In recent years, JAB Holding has acquired brands including Keurig, Krispy Kreme, Panera, Au Bon Pain, and Pret a Manger. But despite the high-profile deals, the Reimann family is famously private. The 2015 Forbes report said that family members are barred from working for JAB and that on their 18th birthday they are required to sign a pledge to stay out of public as much as possible.

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