JAB Holdings, which holds controlling stakes in Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Dr Pepper and Pret a Manger, among others, has come under fire for its use in the past of Nazi slave labour. The revelation was made by Bild, one of Germany’s most popular newspapers, and revealed that Albert Reimann Sr. and Albert Reimann Jr., whose family control JAB Holdings, were big supporters of the Third Reich.
Russian and French prisoners of war were used as forced labour in the family’s factories during World War II – factories which were mainly used for food ingredients. The investigation also found that the two men donated to the SS as early as 1933.
To its credit, the company has not shied away from the allegations.
“It is all correct,” said family spokesman Peter Harf, one of two managing partners of JAB Holdings. “Reimann Senior and Reimann Junior were guilty. The two men have passed away, but they actually belonged in prison.”
Harf said that the company plans on donating $11 million to charity after learning of the history. He said that the family has commissioned a historian to work on examining the history of the company and its links to the Nazi party. The commission was made in 2014, and the work is still ongoing.
JAB Holdings is named after Johann Adam Benckiser, who started it in the 1820s. While the Benckiser name is best known as part of the Reckitt Benckiser conglomerate, JAB Holdings was created as an investment vehicle for the Reimann family. The “intensely secretive” family is said to be worth around $53 billion dollars.
JAB isn’t the first company to be tied to the Nazi regime, nor is it the most high profile. Daimler-Benz “lent valuable assistance to the National Socialists before Hitler became Chancellor in 1933,” while Hugo Boss admitted in 1997 that it made uniforms for Nazi officials.