The Reimann Family Behind Krispy Kreme, Panera Bread Forced to Confront Nazi Past

The family that owns Krispy Kreme is confronting past support for Nazi organizations.

A March 2019 report by the Bild newspaper details that the Reimann family, who owns Krispy Kreme, Panera Bread, and Pret a Manger, donated to Nazi organizations in the 1930s. They also used Russian civilians and French prisoners of war as forced laborers under the Nazis during World War II. They manufactured items like denture cream and dishwasher detergent.

The report is based on documents from Germany, France, and the U.S. The family’s company JAB Holding Co., began with Ludwig Reimann in 1828. His son, Reimann Jr. helped run the business. The company has since diversified its business with food and drink companies, and other consumer brands. The late father and son never spoke about their Nazi connection.

In 2014, a new generation of Reimanns asked a historian to research their family history. Today, the family has said their involvement in the Nazi era was “disgusting” and that their descendants “belonged in jail.” Peter Harf, a spokesperson for the family, said the Reimanns will donate more than $11,000,000 to a charity once the historian’s report is complete.