One of Germany’s wealthiest families has said it will donate millions of dollars to Holocaust survivors over its use of forced labor under the Nazi’s reign and its support for Adolf Hitler.
The Reimann family’s firm JAB Investors is donating $5.5 million to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany to help thousands of elderly Holocaust survivors around the world, $5.5 million to find and support forced laborers it used under the Nazis and over $27 million a year to promote Holocaust education and fight populist nationalism.
The family owns Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Pret A Manger and other international brands and has controlling stakes in the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Keurig Green Mountain, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Caribou Coffee Co., Panera Bread and other companies.
“To confront this was quite an emotional wake-up call for the family,” David Kamenetzky, board chairman of both the family’s foundation and Investors, told The Associated Press.
The Reimann family established the Alfred Landecker Foundation in Berlin to oversee its philanthropy efforts. The organization was named after a German Jew who was killed by the Nazis and whose grandchildren have a combined 45 percent stake in JAB Investors.
Roughly 10,500 Holocaust survivors were assisted through short-term financial crises by funds from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, according to the AP. The additional funding will allow for 3,000 more people to receive aid.
“It will have a huge impact on the lives of the poorest Holocaust survivors around the world,” said Greg Schneider, executive vice president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
The announcement of the donations comes after the Reimann family released the first results from a report it had commissioned on its own Nazi past. The report uncovered that JAB Investors, which is based in Luxembourg and worth roughly $22 billion, grew out of an industrial chemicals company run by former members of the Nazi Party who were later investigated by occupying Allied powers.
The two never discussed the Nazi era, but the family opened the probe after finding documents they had kept. The probe found their company used Russian civilians and French POWs as forced laborers and had donated to the SS even before Hitler came to power. Researchers have identified 838 people so far who were forced to work for the chemical firm, Kamenetzky told the AP.