My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me
A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past
By Jennifer Teege and Nikola Sellmair
Read by Adjoa Andoh
An international bestseller, this is the extraordinary memoir of a German-Nigerian woman who learns that her grandfather was the brutal Nazi commandant depicted in Schindler's List.
'A powerful account of Teege's struggle for resolution and redemption.' Independent
An international bestseller, this is the extraordinary and moving memoir of a woman who learns that her grandfather was Amon Goeth, the brutal Nazi commandant depicted in Schindler's List.
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. Recognising 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 38, 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 co-written 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.
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. This is her first book.
Nikola Sellmair graduated from Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich and has worked in Hong Kong, Washington, D.C., Israel and Palestine. She has been a reporter in Hamburg at Germany's Stern magazine since 2000. Her work has received many awards, including the German-Polish Journalist Award, for the first-ever article about Jennifer Teege's story.
- Other details
- Publication date:
24 Sep 2015
- Page count:
Hodder & Stoughton
A stunning memoir of cultural trauma and personal identity. — Booklist
Fascinating reading...a thought-provoking book. — The Quarterly Review
A powerful account of Teege's struggle for resolution and redemption. — Independent
Jennifer Teege's new memoir traces the pain of discovering her grandfather was the real-life 'Nazi butcher' from Schindler's List. — People magazine
Unforgettable. . . . Teege's quest to discover her personal history is empowering. — Publisher's Weekly
Refreshing...Teege's heartfelt commentary and Sellmair's objective narrative produce a layer of balanced interpretation and insight. — New York Journal of Books
Courageous. . . . The memoir invites rereading to fully absorb Teege's painful search for answers, for a sense of identity and belonging and for inner peace. — The Seattle Times
Jennifer Teege's haunting and unflinching memoir shatters the kind of silence that has plagued some German families for three generations and offers a healing alternative. — Washington Post