Upon learning that their ancestors had relied on forced labor, the family was ‘ashamed and white as sheets,’ a spokesperson said.
One of the wealthiest families in Germany, which owns controlling stakes in such companies as Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Panera Bread and Peet’s Coffee, has admitted that it profited from forced labor during the Second World War. What’s more, reports Katrin Bennhold of the New York Times, recent revelations indicate that the two men who ran the family business in the 1930s and ’40s—Albert Reimann Sr. and his son Albert Reimann Jr.—actively participated in the abuse of their workers.
The German tabloid Bildbroke the news of the Reimann family’s troubling past over the weekend, when it published a story based on an interim report delivered earlier this year by Paul Erker, an economic historian at the University of Munich, who was hired by the Reimanns to investigate the family’s Nazi ties. That investigation has been ongoing for more than four years, and is still not complete. But Peter Harf, the family’s spokesman and a managing partner of JAB Holding Company, which the Reimanns control, did not denyBild’s account.
“Reimann Sr. and Reimann Jr. were guilty,” he told the publication, according to Deutsche Welle. “The two businessmen have passed away, but they actually belonged in prison.”