our HIStory and the story of alfred landecker
Alfred Landecker, in whose memory the Foundation is named, was a German Jewish accountant, born in 1884. He was deported from Mannheim in April 1942 to Izbica, a ghetto serving as a transfer point for the deportation of Jews to the Bełżec and Sobibór extermination camps. It is assumed that he was murdered shortly afterwards.
Alfred Landecker’s story was part of research into their own history initiated by the Reimann family back in 2006. This research led to the subsequent appointment in 2016 of independent historian Dr. Paul Erker, of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. The family asked Professor Erker to research their political history, and that of the Benckiser company, from the early 1920s to 1945.
Professor Erker established that Albert Reimann Sr. and his son Albert Reimann Jr., who ran Benckiser, the precursor company to JAB Holding Company, were outspoken in their anti-Semitism and ardent supporters of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. Both father and son attended speeches by Hitler in the 1920s and subsequently joined the Nazi party, as well as making donations to the SS.
Alfred Landecker’s fate is inextricably linked to the Reimann family. He was the father of Emilie Landecker, who had three children by Albert Reimann Jr. Two of those children are now shareholders of the JAB Holding Company.
Benckiser was a German manufacturing company established in the 19th century that originally specialized in industrial chemicals. The business came into the control of the Reimann family in the 1850s.
During the 1930s and 1940s, Benckiser was a small- to medium-sized business; it had 181 employees in 1933, and between 400 and 650 employees during World War II. It was an important supplier to the food industry; its primary products included processed cheese, salts for blood treatment, supplements for baby food, and chemicals to soften water.
Benckiser was a beneficiary of the Nazi system. But the development of the business was not related to the exploitation of companies in countries occupied by Germany and the family was not involved in private enrichment or illegal gains through the expropriation of Jewish property or assets.
However, during the war, Benckiser factories used forced labor: by the spring of 1942, the Benckiser Ludwigshafen plant used around 200 civilians as forced laborers, including workers from Ukraine, France, Italy and the Netherlands.
The information here about Alfred Landecker and the Benckiser company is based on Professor Erker’s preliminary report, which was presented to the family in January 2019. After further research, his final report is scheduled to appear at the earliest in 2020.