When you think of people with a Nazi past, soft, fluffy doughnuts don’t exactly spring to mind. Unfortunately, Germany’s second-richest family, which owns popular brands like Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Panera Bread, have admitted that their ancestors were strong Nazi supporters who used forced laborers during World War II. The Reimann family discovered these secrets about their ancestors after commissioning a historian to learn more about their suspected past.
It appears that Albert Reimann Sr. and Albert Reimann Jr., who ran the company in the 1930s and 1940s, were anti-Semites, fervent Hitler supporters, and used prisoners of war as forced laborers in their factories, as well as in their personal home. The treatment of the slave workers was reportedly extremely abusive. Reimann Sr. had even donated to the SS, and according to The New York Times, in 1937, Albert Reimann Jr. wrote a letter to Himmler, the leader the SS, saying, “We are a purely Aryan family business that is over 100 years old,” he wrote. “The owners are unconditional followers of the race theory.”
Upon learning of its troubled past, the Reimann family has expressed its shame and pledged to donate about $11.3 million to an as-yet-to-be-disclosed charity. They certainly aren’t trying to hide the revelations. Peter Harf, the Reimann family spokesperson and one of two managing partners of JAB Holding Company, which the family controls, said in an interview, “Reimann Sr. and Reimann Jr. were guilty. They belonged in jail.”