In March, it was reported that ancestors of the Reimann family—whose JAB Holding Co. owns a controlling stake in Krispy Kreme, Panera Bread, Pret a Manger, and other well-known brands—had used French POWs and Russian civilians as forced laborers under the Nazi regime. Now the family, one of the wealthiest in Germany, is starting to make amends for what spokesman Peter Harf calls a "disgusting" past: It will be donating $5.5 million to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which helps elderly Holocaust survivors worldwide who are struggling to pay for basic needs such as food, heat, and medicine, NBC News reports. The AP notes the family will donate another $5.5 million to track down and assist any of those forced laborers who are still alive, as well as nearly $28 million per year to Holocaust education efforts.
To supervise these efforts, the family has set up the Alfred Landecker Foundation, named for a German Jew who died at the hands of the Nazis. "These funds will enable thousands of survivors to live in dignity," the conference's president says, per NBC. JAB Holding, now worth more than $22 billion, evolved from the industrial chemicals firm Benckiser, run by Nazi Party members Albert Reimann Sr. and Albert Reimann Jr. The AP notes a "remarkable twist" tying the Reimanns and the Landeckers together: Albert Reimann Jr. had an affair with Alfred Landecker's daughter, Emilie Landecker (whose mother was Catholic and who was raised Catholic), that produced three children. Two of those children are now major shareholders in JAB, with a 45% stake. "To confront this was quite an emotional wake-up call for the family," the foundation's chair tells the AP. (Read more Krispy Kreme stories.)