Breaking with my Nazi past

I often joke that I grew up at Krispie Kreme, a donut shop that originated out of North Carolina and gained national popularity in the 2000s. My parents took us to KK almost every day after school. They loved a cup of coffee and something sweet, I think. It was something to do. Something to break up the day.  A place to meet others. A place to gossip and share stories.

Like the TV show cheers, when we walked in to KK, the whole place would call out to my dad or mom. We knew the staff and almost everyone who frequented there.

It was also a social thing for them. My folks never went to bars that I know of. And at the time, they didn’t smoke cigarettes. But the seating at this KK was circular bar stools anchored to the ground right up against a counter and almost everyone in North Carolina smoked. It was the Paris of its day.

My dad loved going to KK every day for a cup of coffee or two to talk politics, local and world events. When we left KK, we wreaked of cigarette smoke and deep fried glaze.

I joke with Tina that after every cavity I ever had filled at the dentist, my mom made sure to stop by KK afterwards for a cup of coffee. My siblings and I would get two donuts a piece. My donut of choice was chocolate glazed.

Inadvertently, I invested a lot of time into bellying up to the counter at Krispie Kreme Donuts.

You can imagine my surprise today when I read a story from Slate.com revealing that the family that owns KK, as well as Panara Bread, Caribou Coffee & Pret a Manger, recently discovered that its owners family supported Adolf Hitler and extensively used forced labor.

One of Germany’s richest families is coming to terms with a disturbing past. The family that owns a controlling stake in Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Panera Bread, among others, will donate $11 million to charity after learning that their ancestors were staunch supporters of Adolf Hitler and extensively used force labor.

The family announced its planned charitable donation after Bild newspaper published a report showing how Albert Reimann Sr. and Albert Reimann Jr. used Russian civilians and French prisoners of war as forced laborers during World War II. The Reimann family, which has an estimated wealth of 33 billion euros, or $37 billion, did not dispute the findings of the newspaper’s report. “It is all correct,” spokesman Peter Harf, told the newspaper. “Reimann senior and Reimann junior were guilty … they belonged in jail.”

I must admit. I always got a bad feeling when I left KK. At the time, I thought it was only the stomach ache from stomaching two chocolate glazed donuts every day of my childhood.

But this makes so much more sense. My Nazi-o-meter was trying to tell me that our hard-earned money was supporting a family responsible for destroying so many Jews, as well as so many families and people that the Nazis deemed inferior.

But the family is trying to make good by donating a whole $11,000,000 to an undisclosed charity. Donating $11M — when the family is worth $37 billion — is like finding change in the crevices of your couch and putting into the cup of a guy begging in front of a Dunkin’ Donuts.

And look, Panara Bread is also under this company’s umbrella. So now I understand why I don’t feel well spending my money there either.

We’ll probably find out that the Reimann’s donated their $11M to a company called RWSDT, also known as … Russians Who Support Donald Trump.

8 thoughts on “Breaking with my Nazi past

  1. No. I asked because you suggest they should donate more in an article talking about the sins of their ancestors. I was wondering if you were you linking the two. I.e.,Saying they should donate more because their ancestors were bad people.

    1. Ah, I see your line of reasoning. Reference to the donation is a side note. It’s simply some form of public relations stunt at making reparations for their past. I only saw it as a drop in the bucket regarding their level of worth. I could care less.

      Although, isn’t the whole concept of Jesus an apologetic bridge back to God for two people’s sin of disobedience in a garden?

      1. That’s what I thought you were saying Jeremy I just wasn’t completely sure. I agree that seems a small amount and certainly if their money could be traced to the horrible actions of their parents more may be morally required. But if they made their billions overwhelmingly with their own efforts then I don’t think anything is morally required of them as opposed to anyone else. (and we don’t know how much they give to other charities)

        I would consider them morally praiseworthy for breaking with the views of their parents – as it appears they have. I also think it is praiseworthy they do not try to deny facts that will taint their own character according to some people. But really I don’t know nearly enough about them to say much.

    2. What are your views on eternity, Joe? Do you believe in both heaven and hell? What must humans do to land a place in either place?

      1. I believe in heaven and hell and purgatory and maybe some other places. Heaven and hell alone would not make much sense to me. I suspect people need to love others in order to get into heaven. I agree with Pope Francis that Atheists can go to heaven.

      2. Interesting! My dad is Dutch Reformed, but attends a very evangelical, yet Non-denominational church and has somehow come to the same conclusion: that atheists can go to heaven. Of course he believes in hell, but none of the other spots.

        I don’t believe in either. I stopped believing in hell long before I stopped believing in heaven. I don’t find this stance a bother or a concern.

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