The Story of the Alfred Landecker Foundation

The Alfred Landecker Foundation was established by the Reimann family in 2019. Business historian Professor Paul Erker (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich) was commissioned in 2016 to research the history of the family-owned company Joh. A. Benckiser GmbH, the predecessor of today's JAB Holding Company. In July 2023, his findings were published as a book, in which he reviews the political entanglements of Benckiser's management during the Nazi era as well as the use of forced labourers in the company's factories.

The factory building of Joh. A. Benckiser Company in Ludwigshafen

Transparency note: an older version incorrectly stated Waffen-SS here

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Transparency note: an older version incorrectly stated Waffen-SS here

Forced labour at Benckiser

The company history (German title: “Die chemische Fabrik Joh. A. Benckiser im Nationalsozialismus", published by Wallstein) reveals that Albert Reimann Jr. and Albert Reimann Sr. were staunch supporters of the Nazi regime. They attended events with Adolf Hitler as early as the 1920s and later donated money to the SS1. Early on, the Reimanns declared their company a so-called model National Socialist enterprise. During World War II, Benckiser used forced labourers in their factories. Paul Erker's research reveals that the forced labourers had to perform their duties under sometimes life-threatening conditions, and that some of them died in accidents.

Because the Reimann family wanted to learn more about the identity and fate of forced labourers at Benckiser, research was commissioned for this purpose. So far, 870 names of former forced labourers have been identified.

The headquarter of the management from Joh. A. Benckiser Company in Ludwigshafen

Live up to the past

But the Reimann family was not satisfied with simply uncovering its own past. The company heirs are also concerned with supporting Holocaust survivors and, as a lesson learned from history for today, promoting democracy and human rights to preserve and expand a pluralist society.

For this reason, the "Benckiser Stiftung Zukunft" was transformed into the Alfred Landecker Foundation. The Reimann family wants to translate the lessons learned from the collapse of European civilization during National Socialism into active engagement in the here and now. Joh. A. Benckiser B.V. has therefore committed itself to providing 250 million Euros over the next ten years to implement the purpose of the Alfred Landecker Foundation. This commitment to researching the causes and effects of the Holocaust, to combating anti-Semitism, to protecting minorities, to strengthening social cohesion and our democratic coexistence culminates in an ongoing commitment for an indefinite period of time.

Supporting Holocaust survivors and former forced laborers

The Alfred Landecker Foundation supports Holocaust survivors and former forced laborers of Benckiser through a donation from the family of 10 million euros. Five million euros of this sum have already been donated to the Conference on Jewish Claims Against Germany, which attends to the immediate needs of Holocaust survivors.

Covid-19 emergency fund for holocaust survivors

The Foundation has used funds from the donation to establish a Covid-19 emergency relief fund of 1.2 million euros for Holocaust survivors. Survivors are particularly at risk due not only to their old age, but also to the necessary isolation that protects them from infection—but which can trigger traumatic memories of the time spent in camps or in hiding. For this reason, it was especially important to the Foundation and the Reimann family not to leave the survivors without assistance in this crisis and to provide them with swift emergency aid.

Explore what we do

Confront the past

Combat antisemitism

Protect minorities

Strengthen democracy

Reinforce critical thinking

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