Peter Harf, head of JAB Holding Co.

A bombshell report dropped today out of Germany, where Bild, a popular Berlin-based broadsheet, is reporting on the disturbing Nazi pasts of Albert Reimann Sr. and Albert Reimann Jr., whose descendants today own JAB Holdings.

The Washington Post breaks it down in English:

The tabloid Bild, one of Germany’s most popular papers, reported that Albert Reimann Sr. and Albert Reimann Jr., whose family backs JAB Holdings, had significant links to the Third Reich.

JAB Holdings is a privately held conglomerate that has investments in a wide portfolio of global companies, among them Peet’s Coffee, Keurig Green Mountain and Dr Pepper-Snapple. It acquired Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, which owns three national bagel chains — Einstein Bros., Noah’s New York Bagels and Manhattan Bagel — in 2014.

The report goes on to mention that Herr Reimann—Sr. died in 1954, Jr. in 1984—were “anti-Semites and avowed supporters of Adolf Hitler” whose businesses benefitted from association with the Third Reich, including the disturbing use of forced labor. Reckoning the German crimes of World War Two in today’s business climate remains an ongoing concern for modern German businesses, with WaPo namechecking “Hugo Boss, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and others” as firms with similar narratives. There are of course many more, including IBM, Volkswagen, Coca-Cola (through the Fanta brand), Kodak, Bayer, and the Associated Press, to name just a few.

For their part here in 2019, JAB is owning up to it, issuing the following statement to Bild (as translated by WaPo):

“It is all correct,” family spokesman Peter Harf, who is one of two managing partners of JAB Holdings, told Bild. “Reimann Senior and Reimann Junior were guilty. The two men have passed away, but they actually belonged in prison.”

In 2014 JAB commissioned a historian to learn more, and will publish his findings in a public book upon completion, as per reporting by Business Standard. Harf, the family spokesman, told Business Standard that JAB intends to donate some 10 million Euros (roughly $11 million USD) to “a suitable organization” as reparations for unpaid labor during the Nazi regime.

JAB was founded in Germany in the 1820s, and today owns a varied portfolio of brands including Clearasil, Calgon, Mucinex, Durex, Woolite, Coty, Dr. Pepper Snapple, and a wide range of coffee and fast casual cafe brands, including Pret a Manger, Caribou, Panera Bread, Krispy Kream, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Keurig Green Mountain, and Peet’s Coffee and Tea. In recent years they’ve extended ownership into the specialty coffee and third wave cafe market, acquiring Stumptown Coffee, Intelligentsia Coffee, and Mighty Leaf Tea, as well as investing heavily into Trade, the online roaster marketplace based in New York.

This story is developing…

Read previous Sprudge reporting on JAB Holdings.

Disclosure: Intelligentsia, Stumptown, and Trade are advertising partners on Sprudge Media Network. 

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