Now in paperback: The New York Times bestselling memoir hailed as “unforgettable” (Publishers Weekly) and “a stunning memoir of cultural trauma and personal identity” (Booklist).
At age 38, Jennifer Teege happened to pluck a library book from the shelf—and discovered a horrifying fact: Her grandfather was Amon Goeth, the vicious Nazi commandant depicted in Schindler’s List. Reviled as the “butcher of Płaszów,” Goeth was executed in 1946. The more Teege learned about him, the more certain she became: If her grandfather had met her—a black woman—he would have killed her.
Teege’s discovery sends her into a severe depression—and fills her with questions: Why did her birth mother withhold this chilling secret? How could her grandmother have loved a mass murderer? Can evil be inherited?
Teege’s story is cowritten by Nikola Sellmair, who also adds historical context and insight from Teege’s family and friends, in an interwoven narrative. Ultimately, Teege’s search for the truth leads her, step by step, to the possibility
of her own liberation.
The Sexy Nerd ‘Revue’
I saw this book around for a while and I kept bypassing it. I don’t know what made me finally decide to grab it—wait, that’s not totally true. I received this book via my email from Bookbub, and I said I’m going to add that to my bookshelf.
You have to admit with a title that says My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me, right away I wanted to know what grandfather would dream of doing something like that to his granddaughter, and more importantly, why? Well, it turns out, that after having read Jennifer Teege’s story, her title is appropriately titled.
Jennifer is quite the individual. Having a German mother and Nigerian father is interesting enough, but could you imagine finding out that your grandfather was a historian of great proportions? We’re not talking just any type of history one would be proud of but to learn that he was the Amon Goetz, a Nazi commandant who killed hundreds of thousands of Jews for sport. There’s really no other way to describe the despicable behavior this so-called human being inflicted on a group of people for the sole purpose of committing genocide.
Amon Goetz is Jennifer Teege’s grandfather. Dear God, when I learned her backstory my heart cried for her. It’s one thing to know that these types of atrocities exist in our world history, but it’s a whole other ball of wax to find out you’re related to the person who did this. How on earth does one cope with learning that type of information? How embarrassing that must be to know you’re bound by blood? These were very real life situations Jennifer faced and still faces to some degree today. Although, having written this book proved to be very therapeutic not just for herself, but for many Nazi descendants having learned of what their relatives before them have done. And to make matters worse, Jennifer is biracial and part German and Nigerian. As if being the granddaughter of one of the worst Nazi commandants wasn’t enough.
One thing I found odd with this story is that Jennifer continually referred to her adoptive parents as “adoptive parents” and “adopted family.” Once it was established that she was put up for adoption at the age of seven, I didn’t find it necessary to continually state that every time her parents and/or family came up. It felt at times as if she resented her family for having taken her in? Perhaps that was my perception of Jennifer’s words, but I felt a little uneasy with the way she continually spoke about them with the emphasis on “adoptive.” I realize that’s a word she absolutely hates and for good reason, but I felt as if she didn’t appreciate what her family was trying to do for her. They loved her as if she were their own. So that turned me off a little that she mentioned them almost as an afterthought which I didn’t find too enjoyable to read.
Some of Jennifer’s anger with her biological mother not fighting hard enough to keep her came through her words, but that shouldn’t take away what her family did for her. I’m married with stepchildren, but I don’t feel the need to explain that to outsiders. I just say my family and our children, period. But I realize Jennifer’s upbringing and background causes her to have a whole other set of dynamics taking place here and for that I can understand.
This was an amazing story! It was hard to read and I found it quite exhausting. But when you’re talking about not such favorable subjects like the Holocaust and/or Slavery, it can be very emotional and gut-wrenching. I applaud Jennifer Teege for telling her story and I pray that she finds the peace that she so deserves. She’s had a rough go of it, but it looks as if things are beginning to turn around for her. If you enjoy reading memoirs and/or biographies, I urge you to read this story. It’s an outstanding read, but reader be warned, it’s a very serious subject matter, so you better be in the right mindset before you pick this book up.