BERLIN (AP) ̵
In a four-page report, the picture newspaper reported that documents uncovered in Germany, France and the US reveal that Albert Reimann Sr. and Albert Reimann Jr. used Russian civilians and French POWs as forced laborers.
Family spokesman Peter Harf, who is one of two managing partners of the Reimann's JAB Holding Company, said recent internal research confirmed Bild's findings.
"It is all correct," He told the newspaper. "Reimann senior and Reimann junior were guilty … they belonged in jail."
The father and son, who died in 1954 and 1984, did not talk about the Nazi era and the family had thought that all of the company's connection to the Nazis had been revealed in a 1978 report, Harf said.
But after reading documents kept by the family, the younger generation began to ask questions and commissioned a University of Munich historian in 2014 to examine the Reimann history more thoroughly, Harf said,
The expert presented his preliminary findings to the Reimann children and grandchildren, as well as Hanf, several weeks ago, he said.
"We were all ashamed and turned as white as the wall," he said . "There is nothing to gloss over. These crimes are disgusting."
In addition to Krispy Kreme Donuts and Pret a Manger, the Luxembourg-based JAB Holding Co. has controlling stakes in Keurig Green Mountain, Peet's Coffee & Tea, Caribou Coffee Co., Panera Bread and other companies.
Many German companies have acknowledged using slave laborers during the Nazi era and have conducted their own independent investigations.
In 2000, the German government approved a 10 billion mark (about 5.1 billion euros) fund to provide compensation, with half the money coming from companies like Bayer, Siemens, Deutsche Bank, Daimler-Benz, Volkswagen, and AEG.
Picture reported that even before the Nazis came to power, the Reimanns donated to the paramilitary SS
During World War II, the company used forced laborers in its industrial chemicals company. It was not clear how many were used overall, but Bild said in 1943, 175 forced laborers were used, about 30 percent of its workforce.
In addition to Russian and other Eastern European civilians, the company used French prisoners of war – about whom Reimann Jr. complained in a letter to the Ludwigshafen mayor in 1940 that they were working hard enough.
After the war, the two were investigated by the occupying Allied powers and initially banned by the French from continuing their business activities but then had the judgment overturned by the Americans, Bild reported.
Harf said the family would donate 10 million euros ($ 11.3 million) to a not-determined charity as a gesture, and once the historian's report is complete, it would be released to the public.
"The whole truth must be put on the table," he said.