The German corporate family Reimann has donated five million euros to support Holocaust survivors. The money is to be managed by the Claims Conference organization, which works for Holocaust survivors worldwide. The family foundation Alfred Landecker Foundation said in a statement. Another five million euros are to be spent to find and compensate former forced laborers who used the former chemical company Benckiser.
"The funds provided by the Alfred Landecker Foundation will make a noticeable difference in the lives of many survivors who deserve it so much," said Conference President Julius Berman. "Elderly, destitute Holocaust survivors need food, medicine and heating in winter. This money allows thousands of survivors to live with dignity".
In addition, a further 25 million euros are to flow annually into educational programs on the Holocaust and democracy. The Reimann family created the Alfred Landecker Foundation in Berlin. Landecker was a German Jew who was killed by the Nazis and whose grandchildren now hold 45 percent of the shares in JAB.
The Reimann family of entrepreneurs is considered the richest family in Germany. The chemical company Benckiser gave birth to Reimann's holding company JAB, which includes the cosmetics group Coty, the sandwich chain Pret-A-Manger and the coffee roaster Jacobs. It is worth about 20 billion euros.
Chefs donated money to SS
Bild am Sonntag reported in March that the then Benckiser bosses, Albert Reimann and his son of the same name, were members of the NSDAP and benefited from the Second World War. Dealing with the past was an emotional wake-up call for the family, David Kamenetzky told the AP news agency. He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of JAB Investors and Chairman of the Alfred Landecker Foundation Board. Later that year, the family released details of an investigation into their Nazi past. According to the findings, Reimann senior and junior deployed Russian civilians and French prisoners of war as forced laborers. They were early supporters of the NSDAP and donated money to the SS before Adolf Hitler came to power.
According to Kamenetzky, 838 people have been found to be forced to work for Benckiser during the war. No one was Jewish or sent to Benckiser from concentration camps. Now it should be determined which of them is still alive. In addition to offering financial compensation, they should be asked to share their experiences. "We have an obligation to pursue history," said Kamenetzky.
The claims conference organization's five million euros are earmarked for its emergency relief program for Holocaust survivors in short-term financial crises. The sum will be passed on to 200 nonprofit groups over the next three years, said claims conference vice president Greg Schneider. The organization helped approximately 10,500 survivors in 34 countries this year. The additional money will enable higher aid or support for around 3,000 additional survivors.