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My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me

Cover of My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me

My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me

A Black Woman Discovers Her Family's Nazi Past

The internationally bestselling memoir hailed as "authentically shocking" (Library Journal) and "an important document—proof that history never ends" (Profil)

When Jennifer Teege, a German-Nigerian woman, happened to pluck a library book from the shelf, she had no idea that her life would be irrevocably altered. Recognizing photos of her mother and grandmother in the book, she discovers a horrifying fact: her grandfather was Amon Goeth, the vicious Nazi commandant chillingly depicted by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List—a man known and reviled the world over.

Although raised in an orphanage and eventually adopted, Teege had some contact with her biological mother and grandmother as a child. Yet neither revealed that Teege's grandfather was the Nazi "butcher of Plaszów," executed for crimes against humanity in 1946. The more Teege reads about Amon Goeth, the more certain she becomes: if her grandfather had met her—a black woman—he would have killed her.

Teege's discovery sends her, at age thirty-eight, into a severe depression—and on a quest to unearth and fully comprehend her family's haunted history. Her research takes her to Krakow—to the sites of the Jewish ghetto her grandfather "cleared" in 1943 and the Plaszów concentration camp he then commanded—and back to Israel, where she herself once attended college, learned fluent Hebrew, and formed lasting friendships. Teege struggles to reconnect with her estranged mother, Monika, and to accept that her beloved grandmother once lived in luxury as Amon Goeth's mistress at Plaszów.

Teege's story is cowritten by award-winning journalist Nikola Sellmair, who also contributes a second, interwoven narrative that draws on original interviews with Teege's family and friends and adds historical context. Ultimately, Teege's resolute search for the truth leads her, step by step, to the possibility of her own liberation.

The internationally bestselling memoir hailed as "authentically shocking" (Library Journal) and "an important document—proof that history never ends" (Profil)

When Jennifer Teege, a German-Nigerian woman, happened to pluck a library book from the shelf, she had no idea that her life would be irrevocably altered. Recognizing photos of her mother and grandmother in the book, she discovers a horrifying fact: her grandfather was Amon Goeth, the vicious Nazi commandant chillingly depicted by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List—a man known and reviled the world over.

Although raised in an orphanage and eventually adopted, Teege had some contact with her biological mother and grandmother as a child. Yet neither revealed that Teege's grandfather was the Nazi "butcher of Plaszów," executed for crimes against humanity in 1946. The more Teege reads about Amon Goeth, the more certain she becomes: if her grandfather had met her—a black woman—he would have killed her.

Teege's discovery sends her, at age thirty-eight, into a severe depression—and on a quest to unearth and fully comprehend her family's haunted history. Her research takes her to Krakow—to the sites of the Jewish ghetto her grandfather "cleared" in 1943 and the Plaszów concentration camp he then commanded—and back to Israel, where she herself once attended college, learned fluent Hebrew, and formed lasting friendships. Teege struggles to reconnect with her estranged mother, Monika, and to accept that her beloved grandmother once lived in luxury as Amon Goeth's mistress at Plaszów.

Teege's story is cowritten by award-winning journalist Nikola Sellmair, who also contributes a second, interwoven narrative that draws on original interviews with Teege's family and friends and adds historical context. Ultimately, Teege's resolute search for the truth leads her, step by step, to the possibility of her own liberation.

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About the Author-
  • Jennifer Teege has worked in advertising since 1999. She lived for four years in Israel, where she became fluent in Hebrew. She holds a degree from Tel Aviv University in Middle Eastern and African studies. Teege lives in Germany with her husband and two sons.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine In her 30s, Jennifer Teege, a German-Nigerian, was shocked to discover that her grandfather was the infamously vicious Amon Goeth, a Nazi commandant who is remembered today because of his portrayal by Ralph Fiennes in SCHINDLER'S LIST. Robin Miles's narration is engaging and easy to listen to, with tonal variation that helps to convey the fascinating story to the listener. However, it's difficult to distinguish the transitions between sections in which Teege is telling her own personal story from those in which narrator Nikola Sellmair contributes family and historical background. Some form of audio demarcation for these sections would have been of help in following the thread of this engrossing story. S.E.G. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 30, 2015
    In this unforgettable memoir, Teege, writing with journalist Sellmair, discovers secrets about her family during WWII. Teege, a part-Nigerian German working in the advertising industry, shakes up her quiet married life after discovering a book, Matthias Kessler’s I Have to Love My Father, that inspires her to unravel her convoluted family history. She’s horrified to learn that her biological mother’s father was infamous SS leader Amon Goeth. As depicted in Schindler’s List, Goeth liquidated the Krakow ghetto in Poland, ran the Plaszow death camp, and was captured by Americans and hanged in 1946. Teege’s travels in Poland, Germany, and the Middle East further expose her family’s troubled legacy. Her biological mother, Monika, became pregnant with Teege after an affair with a Nigerian student, and placed the baby for adoption; Monika’s unapologetic mother, Ruth, makes excuses for Goeth, who was her lover. Teege’s quest to discover her personal history is empowering.

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My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me
My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me
A Black Woman Discovers Her Family's Nazi Past
Jennifer Teege
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