The wealthy German family behind Krispy Kreme and Panera Bread pledged $5.5 million to help Holocaust survivors Thursday after admitting its Nazi past.
The billionaire Reimann family — which owns the JAB Holding Company conglomerate — will give the money over three years through its new humanitarian arm, the Alfred Landecker Foundation.
The 5 million euros will go to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which funds social services for Holocaust survivors. The Claims Conference said it will cover the administrative costs of distributing and managing the Reimann family’s money so every penny can go to survivors of the genocide that killed about 6 million Jews.
“Elderly, poor Holocaust survivors need food, medicine and heat in the winter. These funds will enable thousands of survivors to live in dignity,” Claims Conference president Julius Berman said in a statement.
The gift amounts to half the 10 million euros that the Reimanns promised to charity after the German newspaper Bild revealed the family’s ancestors used forced laborers under the Third Reich.
The family’s company plans to dedicate another 5 million euros to finding and supporting those forced workers, the Associated Press reported. Another 25 million euros will reportedly be given annually for Holocaust education and fighting the rise of populist nationalism.
The Reimanns’ new charity is named for Alfred Landecker, a victim of the Nazis with ties to the family. He was the father of Emilie Landecker, who had three of Albert Reimann Jr.’s children — two of whom now hold a 45 percent stake in JAB.
The junior Reimann and his father, Albert Reimann Sr., were staunch supporters of the Nazis and Adolf Hitler. Research revealed this spring that the pair used forced laborers during World War II at factories run by Benckiser, the chemical company that was a precursor to JAB.
David Kamenetzky, the Alfred Landecker Foundation’s chair, said the Reimanns’ gift is a “significant step” toward the group’s ambition “of researching and remembering the atrocities of the Holocaust, as well as providing humanitarian assistance for survivors of the Holocaust and former forced labor in World War II.”
The Reimann family is one of the richest in the world — Forbes estimated its worth to be at least $19 billion in 2015. The clan’s JAB Holding has snapped up several high-profile American firms in recent years, including Krispy Kreme, Panera, Peets Coffee & Tea and Keurig Green Mountain, which acquired the Dr Pepper Snapple Group in 2018.
The Reimanns’ Nazi connections came to light in March after an investigation by Bild. A historian the family commissioned in 2014 to examine its past confirmed the paper’s findings, family spokesman Peter Harf has said.
“We were all ashamed and turned as white as the wall,” Harf said in March. “There is nothing to gloss over. These crimes are disgusting.”