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.