The heirs of Albert Reimann Jr., who built one of Germany’s largest business empires, maintained for decades that Mr. Reimann and his father had been reluctant Nazis during World War II. Yes, they said, it was regrettable that the company employed slaves and prisoners of war in its chemical factories, but that was the nature of business during the war years.
This weekend the Reimann family decided to change its tune, offering an abject apology for the behavior of Albert Reimann Jr., who died in 1984, and Albert Reimann Sr., who died in 1954.
“They belonged in jail,” a family spokesman told the German newspaper Bild.
The current generation of Reimanns deserves credit for this striking apology. It cannot be easy to publicly condemn a father and a grandfather. Yet the timing of the apology, more than 70 years after the crimes in question — and long after most of the victims would have been able to hear it — raises hard questions about Germany’s failure to hold corporations accountable for wartime crimes, and about the nature of corporate accountability for past misconduct.
The Reimanns, father and son, ran the chemical company now known as Reckitt Benckiser, or RB, probably most familiar to Americans as the maker of Lysol. New research, based in part on materials that have been in the family's possession for decades, shows the two men joined the Nazi Party in 1931, when it was still a fringe movement. They donated to the party and displayed its banner outside their factory. “We are a purely Aryan family business that is over 100 years old,” the younger Mr. Reimann wrote in a letter to Heinrich Himmler, the leader of the SS. “The owners are unconditional followers of the race theory.” During the war years, the business prospered — in part because a third of the work force was employed involuntarily.
The current generation of Reimanns comprises nine people adopted as children by Albert Reimann Jr. Four of those siblings are the principal owners of the family business.
A spokesman for the Reimann family says the siblings decided to hire an expert to study the family’s history after looking at old documents and growing uncomfortable with the longstanding narrative that their grandfather was an unenthusiastic Nazi.
“We were speechless,” the spokesman, Peter Harf, said of the family’s first reaction to the historian’s presentation. “We were ashamed, and were white as a wall.”
The public apology also is good for business. The Reimanns have been on a buying spree, snapping up familiar food and drink brands, including Keurig Green Mountain coffee, Dr Pepper, Snapple, Caribou Coffee, Panera Bread, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and the bagel chains Einstein Bros., Noah’s and Bruegger’s. When the Reimanns’ holding company acquired the British sandwich maker Pret A Manger last year, the sister of the company’s deceased founder, who happened to be Jewish, declared she was mortified to learn about the Reimanns’ roots.
That's not the kind of publicity businesses that sell consumer goods tend to enjoy.
Most big German companies offered reckonings and apologies for their wartime conduct in the 1990s. Jonathan Wiesen, a professor of history at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the author of a book about German corporations and the legacy of the war, says the end of the Cold War eased fears about the consequences of subjecting capitalist institutions to critical scrutiny. It also didn’t hurt that many of the companies were coming under the leadership of a new generation of executives, born after the war. A pattern took hold: Companies threw open their archives, often commissioning a historian to write a report; they apologized for the ensuing revelations; and they offered some money as a gesture of apology.
More than 6,000 companies contributed to a reparations fund for forced laborers established by the German government in 2000, including Reckitt Benckiser. But the government said explicitly that contributions were not confessions of guilt. The most prominent companies, like Volkswagen and Bayer, could not avoid public reckonings. But an untold number of other German companies, some quite large, never apologized for wartime crimes.
In some ways, it is already too late for apologies or compensation. But there is still great value in requiring companies to reckon with the past. The value of a corporation lies precisely in its responsibility for its own history. A corporation maintains ownership of assets even as ownership of the corporation changes hands. It maintains ownership of its liabilities, too.
Some American cities, notably Los Angeles and Chicago, have laws requiring companies that seek to do public business first to declare whether they profited from slavery.
For many people, Oskar Schindler remains the face of German business during the war years. The reality, however, is that there were many more businessmen like the Reimanns. Requiring German companies to document their histories could help to preserve that knowledge, which is particularly important as the last survivors of that era fade away.
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www.hklhc.com“【箱】【子】！” “【在】【我】【手】【上】。” “【那】【就】【好】，【那】【就】【好】，【那】【就】……”【绷】【带】【人】【说】【着】【说】【着】【便】【昏】【了】【过】【去】，【大】【胡】【子】【担】【心】【的】【往】【后】【瞄】【了】【眼】，【哪】【想】【到】【对】【方】【又】【突】【然】【醒】【转】，【惊】【得】【他】【差】【点】【没】【踩】【稳】【脚】【步】【一】【滑】【栽】【下】【楼】【去】。 “【我】【靠】！【小】【强】【你】【是】【不】【是】【有】【毛】【病】【啊】！”【大】【胡】【子】【蹲】【在】【天】【台】【上】【后】【怕】【不】【已】，【之】【前】【他】【是】【从】【八】【楼】【跳】【下】【来】【的】，【离】【地】【少】【说】【有】【二】【十】【几】【米】【高】，
“【我】……【我】【感】【觉】【身】【体】【从】【来】【没】【有】【这】【么】【好】【过】……” 【将】【自】【己】【的】【双】【手】【翻】【看】【着】，【星】【璇】【由】【于】【实】【在】【太】【过】【激】【动】，【竟】【是】【连】【一】【贯】【的】【礼】【仪】【都】【忘】【了】，【若】【是】【往】【常】【此】【刻】【他】【应】【该】【已】【经】【在】【向】【着】【龙】【瀚】【行】【礼】【道】【谢】【了】。 【许】【久】【之】【后】，【星】【璇】【才】【反】【应】【过】【来】，【连】【忙】【对】【龙】【瀚】【躬】【身】【道】：“【救】【命】【大】【恩】，【星】【璇】【感】【激】【不】【尽】，【无】【以】【为】【报】，【唯】【有】……” “【以】【身】【相】【许】！” 【温】【慧】
【刘】【敏】【在】【饭】【桌】【上】【说】【起】【进】【学】【生】【会】【的】【事】【情】，【除】【了】【有】【意】【帮】**【华】【和】【乔】【雨】【进】【学】【生】【会】【之】【外】，【最】【主】【要】【还】【想】【拉】【拢】【云】【裳】【进】【学】【生】【会】。 【先】【不】【说】【云】【裳】【的】【能】【力】【手】【腕】【应】【付】【学】【生】【会】【的】【工】【作】【绰】【绰】【有】【余】，【光】【是】【云】【裳】【这】【么】【一】【尊】【活】【菩】【萨】【往】【学】【生】【会】【一】【坐】，【哪】【怕】【她】【什】【么】【活】【儿】【都】【不】【干】，【都】【能】【震】【慑】【住】【那】【帮】【不】【安】【分】【的】【老】【生】。 【至】【于】**【华】【和】【乔】【雨】，【刘】【敏】【也】【从】【这】【次】【大】【字】【报】【事】
【嗡】！ 【有】【了】【戴】【文】【提】【供】【的】【坐】【标】，【蕾】【娜】【认】【准】【一】【个】【方】【向】，【双】【手】【抬】【起】，【斑】【斑】【光】【点】【在】【她】【手】【中】【汇】【聚】。 【注】【意】【到】【蕾】【娜】【仍】【面】【带】【犹】【豫】，【戴】【文】【说】【道】：“【放】【心】，【方】【圆】【几】【千】【里】，【都】【没】【有】【人】，【你】【安】【心】【的】【炸】【吧】。” 【蕾】【娜】【深】【深】【点】【头】，【光】【点】【聚】【集】【越】【来】【越】【多】，【最】【终】【在】【她】【手】【掌】【间】【凝】【聚】【成】【一】【个】【硕】【大】【无】【比】【的】【光】【团】。【这】【段】【日】【子】，【内】【心】【充】【斥】【的】【种】【种】【愤】【懑】【不】【甘】，【恨】【意】www.hklhc.com【唯】【有】【徐】【念】【清】，【默】【默】【的】【流】【泪】。 【尽】【管】【她】【听】【完】【顾】【霆】【深】【的】【话】【很】【痛】【心】，【也】【很】【想】【挽】【留】，【但】【她】【更】【清】【楚】，【顾】【霆】【深】【说】【的】【到】【底】【是】【错】【还】【是】【对】。 【如】【果】【她】【现】【在】【是】【个】【正】【常】【人】，【她】【可】【以】【向】【顾】【霆】【深】【保】【证】，【会】【保】【护】【宫】【宁】【母】【子】【的】【安】【全】。 【但】【她】【不】【是】！ 【她】【现】【在】【什】【么】【都】【不】【看】【清】。 【说】【难】【听】【点】，【她】【和】【瞎】【子】【没】【什】【么】【区】【别】【了】。 【也】【正】【因】【为】【如】【此】，【徐】【念】【清】【才】
【空】【岛】【的】【物】【价】【相】【对】【于】【地】【面】【来】【说】【简】【直】【就】【是】【太】【令】【人】【愉】【悦】【了】。 【至】【少】【对】【于】【莫】【森】【来】【说】【如】【此】，【而】【且】【因】【为】【长】【久】【空】【岛】【自】【然】【环】【境】【的】【影】【响】，【光】【照】【的】【充】【足】，【这】【里】【大】【部】【分】【水】【果】【不】【光】【变】【异】，【而】【且】【是】【朝】【着】【良】【性】【方】【面】。 【反】【正】【比】【起】【地】【面】【上】【好】【吃】【太】【多】【了】。 【被】【莫】【森】【调】……【咳】，【影】【响】【变】【成】【一】【个】【小】【吃】【货】【的】【汉】【库】【克】【跟】【着】【莫】【森】【几】【乎】【是】【一】【路】【吃】【下】【来】【的】。 【柯】【妮】【丝】
“【我】【想】【来】【你】【这】【住】。”【容】【煜】【帆】【手】【拿】【着】【烤】【肉】，【眼】【神】【炯】【炯】【地】【望】【着】【紫】【沐】，【他】【已】【经】【看】【上】【这】【院】【子】【许】【久】【了】！ “【你】【想】【来】？”【紫】【沐】【忽】【然】【明】【白】【了】【他】【要】【干】【什】【么】，【她】【向】【容】【煜】【帆】【挑】【挑】【眉】。 “【嗯】。”【容】【煜】【帆】【乖】【巧】【地】【点】【点】【头】。 “【好】，【可】【以】！【反】【正】【院】【子】【里】【的】【房】【子】【多】【的】【是】”【紫】【沐】【看】【了】【他】【一】【眼】，【目】【眼】【中】【露】【出】【一】【抹】【得】【意】【的】【光】【芒】：“【但】【是】……” “【但】
“【嗯】？”【棠】【梨】【只】【觉】【得】【自】【己】【是】【睡】【了】【一】【觉】，【刚】【想】【要】【起】【来】，【整】【个】【人】【就】【晕】【乎】【乎】【的】，【再】【一】【次】【倒】【进】【了】【艾】【德】【里】【安】【的】【怀】【里】。 “【我】【怎】【么】【了】？”【棠】【梨】【问】【道】，【就】【好】【像】【是】【大】【病】【一】【场】【醒】【过】【来】【一】【样】，【浑】【身】【没】【劲】。 “【虚】【耗】【过】【度】。”【艾】【德】【里】【安】【拿】【过】【杯】【子】，【插】【上】【吸】【管】，【让】【棠】【梨】【喝】【下】【去】，【有】【助】【于】【恢】【复】。 “【我】【就】【说】【了】【吧】，【这】【一】【次】，【你】【太】【过】【分】【了】。”【棠】【梨】