Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Germany's Second-Richest Family Discovers a Dark Nazi Past

Katrin Benhold 3/26/19

Germany’s second-richest family built its multibillion-dollar fortune with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Jimmy Choo shoes and Calvin Klein perfume — and forced laborers under the Nazis.
The Reimann family, which controls the consumer goods conglomerate JAB Holding Company, recently commissioned a historian to dig deep into company archives and shed light on its activities during the 12 years of Nazi rule.

The initial revelations, 74 years after World War II ended, are damning.

Albert Reimann Sr. and his son Albert Reimann Jr., who ran the company in the 1930s and 1940s, were enthusiastic Hitler supporters and anti-Semites, who condoned the abuse of forced laborers, not only in their industrial chemicals company in southern Germany, but also in their own home.
Female workers from Eastern Europe were forced to stand at attention naked in their factory barracks. Those who refused were sexually abused. Workers were kicked and beaten, among them one Russian woman, who cleaned in the Reimanns’ private villa........
The exploitation of forced workers was widespread in Germany during the war, a time of acute labor shortages. An estimated 12 million people from more than a dozen European countries were abducted by the Nazis and forced to work in support of the German war effort. At their peak, forced laborers made up an estimated 20 percent of the German work force............

Daimler was one of the first, in the 1980s. The Mercedes maker used nearly 40,000 forced laborers toward the end of the war. Volkswagen used some 12,000, including concentration camp prisoners who were locked up in a dedicated camp used by the company. Hugo Boss produced the black SS uniforms. Deutsche Bank was one of many companies that profited from businesses being taken from their Jewish owners...............By 1943, 175 workers, or a third of the total, were forced laborers, Bild reported. In addition to Russian and Eastern European civilians, the Reimanns used French prisoners of war. In 1940, Albert Reimann Jr. reportedly complained to the mayor of Ludwigshafen, the town where his factory was based, that the French were not working hard enough...........To Read More...


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