How the secret love affair between the daughter of a murdered Jew and a Nazi businessman
Alfred Landecker (pictured) was murdered by Nazis in 1942. His daughter went on to have an affair with one and had three of his children
One of the largest conglomerates in the country which owns Krispy Kreme, Keurig and Pret-A-Manger was founded in the love affair of the daughter of a murdered Jew and a Nazi, it has been revealed.
JAB Holding, as it is known today, is one of the largest conglomerates in the US. It owns the aforementioned coffee and donut companies and also Panera Bread, Stumptown Coffee, Bally and Coty.
It belongs in part to members of the Reimann family who live between the US and Europe.
Albert Reimann Jr., their father, was at its helm in during the Second World War, when it was known Benckiser and was based in Germany.
The company’s use of Nazi forced labor was exposed in 2018 as it took over Pret-A-Manger.
But what has been a secret for years is that the mother of three of his children was Emilie Landecker, the daughter of a murdered Jewish man who died in a ghetto after being deported by the Gestapo.
She went to work for Benckiser as a teenager, having been baptized Catholic as a child, and for years had an affair with Albert Jr., despite him being a keen follower of the regime which slaughtered her father.
Though he was married to someone else, Reimann and the young Landecker had a years-long affair. In 1951, she was 29 and had their first child. She had two more before she stopped working for the company in 1965.
It is unclear if he ever knew that her father was Jewish.
One of their children, Wolfgang Reimann, has spoken out for the first time about the family’s dark history and about his father’s ties to the Nazis.
Albert died in 1985 without ever telling his children the truth; that he was not just a Nazi sympathizer but an avid follower of Hitler’s regime who endorsed it and even allowed the abuse of his factory workers in harsh labor camps.
Albert Reimann Sr was a member of the Nazi party. His son, Albert Jr., had the affair
His mother, who died in 2017, never acknowledged it to them and tried to shush him and his siblings if they ever asked about it.
‘My mother never said anything,’ Wolfgang Reimann told The New York Times in an interview published on Friday.
‘If I had to live with the love of my life, as my mother did, and this person was also responsible for the terrible things that happened during the war, I would not have spoken much, either, I guess,’ he said.
Emilie’s father was Albert Landecker, a Jewish banker whose Catholic wife died in 1933, when Emilie was six.
He raised her and her two siblings.
In 1933, when the Nazis took over, he had them baptized as Catholic and transferred any property he owned out of his possession so that it would not be reclaimed by the regime.
In 1942, he was deported from the family’s home to a ghetto in Poland. A few weeks after having to leave his children, he sent his final letter to them.
As he left the home, under the watch of a Nazi who called him a ‘dirty Jew’ in front of his son, Wilheim, giving him the heartbreaking parting advice of: ‘Stay home so that no one associates my Star of David with you.
‘Give my love to Emmi and Gerdele. Behave, and obey God,’ he said.
Emilie, who was by then 18, started working to earn money for the entire family.
She then went to Benckiser. Details about her affair with Albert are scarce. According to the family, his wife, Pauline, was aware of their relationship.
Above: Forced laborers being crammed on to a lorry before they were taken to work during the Second World War. The Reimanns took advantage of the enslaved workforce
He and Pauline never had any children of their own and in 1965, Albert formally adopted those who he had fathered with Emilie.
Wolfgang and the rest of the family only discovered the truth of their father’s love for the Nazis in the last year after ordering that a historian review company records.
Peter Harf, the chairman of the company, said he never believed that it had nothing to do with Nazi practices
It revealed that he had written to Heinrich Himmler, the SS leader, in 1937, boasting that the company was ‘purely Aryan family business that is over 100 years old’.
He added: ‘The owners are unconditional followers of the race theory. His own father, Albert Reimann Snr, was also a member of the Nazi party.
A month after the war was over, Albert Jr. was arrested by the Allied Forces.
He got out of custody by claiming to have never been faithful to the regime.
In one letter pleading his innocence, he wrote: ‘I may conclude that under the circumstances I am at a loss to understand the origin of the above mentioned allegation. I am rather inclined to believe that I was myself closely surveyed by the Gestapo.’
But years earlier, under his watch, senior staff brutalized workers at labor camps including one who forced female workers to stand outside their barracks, naked.
If they misbehaved, they risked being raped.
On one occasion, foreman Paul Werneburg, threw some of them out of a bunker during a bomb raid. One worker was killed and many others were injured as a result.
JAB Holding owns, among other giants, Krispy Kreme (shown). It also owns Keurig, Pret-A-Manger and Stumptown Coffee
Emilie, her son says, would have been privy to it all.
‘She lived through the horror show happening in our own company. She probably sat in the very bunker when Werneburg threw out the workers,’ Wolfgang said.
He added that while his mother was quiet and always loved their father, he could not understand why.
‘He was not very lovable from my perspective,’ he said.
The family is now trying to reverse some of the atrocities their father, and his father before him, committed.
They have renamed their charity in Albert’s honor.
The foundation will also increase its budget to ‘honor the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and of Nazi terror’.