My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me

My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me

A Black Woman Discovers Her Family's Nazi Past

eBook - 2015
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The internationally bestselling memoir hailed as "unforgettable" (Publishers Weekly) and "a stunning memoir of cultural trauma and personal identity" (Booklist). 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...
Publisher: New York : The Experiment, 2015
Branch Call Number: Overdrive
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc
ISBN: 9781615192540

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QnVz
Jan 02, 2018

I was a bit intrigued by the title alone, but reading Teege's book, it fell flat very early for me. Hoping she would bring interest into the book I continued reading and albeit nearly found it in the very last chapter of the book! It would have been better if she put that chapter closer to the beginning so that I could "bond" with her more and actually hear her story. Waiting to get to that chapter was an arduous task and it seems like she did just as her mother's writing was to her only with a twist--the book was just her her her and more her. Goodness, I am sure it was a task writing the book, but it sure was a task to read it too.

j
jackhwolf
Dec 10, 2017

Interesting perspective of the author having been given up for adoption by a mother who was the daughter of a Nazi War Criminal and not reconnecting with her mother until a married adult. the reunion was a failure and there was no reconciliation and the author depicts this tragedy without me as a reader getting much insight into this. She seemed a little obsessed about this family tragedy which would be more understandable if she had actually known these people growing up which she didn't.

b
bibliomutti
Sep 23, 2017

My German parents, grandparents and great-parents all lived through WWII, just about. I heard many stories about that time, all bad stuff.

This extraordinary story about one German woman, born 25 years after the war, has significance for many others, whether their relatives were victimizers, victims, or bystanders.

(Of course, there are other possibilities, such as having relatives who were heroes.)

This book is also for anyone who has ever grappled with the horror of the Holocaust. And it is a book that many others too should read. Soon Germany will hold a national election with candidates running as what could be called Nazi apologists. If this granddaughter of a concentration camp commandant can confront her family's past and find authentic peace, why can't others?

d
darladoodles
Aug 17, 2017

As I read this book, I realized that this is the first time I have read about the Holocaust from the POV of a descendant in a Nazi family. So many of the books I have read in the past have been from the perspective of a victim of Nazi warfare. From time to time I have had fleeting thoughts of what it would be like to be on the Nazi side, especially when reading "Life After Life" and the main character is briefly associated with Eva Braun.

This book opened my eyes to the struggle going on in Germany for the second and third generations as the families find themselves dealing with the skeletons in their closets from the carnage of WWII.

I applaud Jennifer Teege for sharing her journey with us. She is open and honest and we have a front row seat as she works through the trauma of initially discovering her lineage in a library book.

VaughanPLDavidB Jan 18, 2017

I usually avoid memoirs and autobiographies because I generally find them to be self-serving and self-indulgent (as this one was). Nevertheless, the compelling history helped me to overcome my reservations, and I'm not sorry that I picked it up. I would have preferred that the author had stuck to telling the story of Nazi war criminal Amon Goeth (of Schindler's List infamy), his lover Ruth Irene Kalder, and their daughter and the author's mother, Monika Goeth. However, as this was a memoir, the story was mostly about Jennifer Teege, and as is the case with most memoirists, she is the least interesting character in this tale.

What started as a tight narrative about the author's grandparents and mother, turned into an aimless ramble about life with her adoptive family, her travels to Israel including two days in a kibbutz and an affair with an older married man, and an entirely unnecessary thumbnail sketch of the history of that country. After another lengthy detour into life with her husband and children, and an irrelevant tangent about her biological father, the story finally circles back to its point: the author's coming to terms with being the grandchild of a Nazi war criminal responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews. Unfortunately, by the time it got to that point, I was long past caring about her state of mind.

P.S. I just finished watching the documentary Inheritance, about Monika Goeth meeting with Helen Jonas, who was enslaved by Amon Goeth to work in his house. The two women confront their respective pasts in his villa next to the Plaszow concentration camp. It was truly moving to watch and only confirms that the important story is not Jennifer Teege's, but her mother's. Monika Goeth wrote a book, "I Have To Love My Father, Don't I?", that inspired this memoir. It's a pity that it is so difficult to find. I would much rather have read that book than this one.

AL_KATI Jan 08, 2017

Absolutely stunning and provocative. Can you imagine finding our you're the granddaughter of the Nazi who murdered Jews off his balcony, immortalized in Spielberg's "Schindler's List"?Family, trauma, love, and memory: how do you cope with them when you bear that kind of knowledge of your family? I cannot stop thinking about this.

o
ownedbydoxies
Jun 13, 2016

Absolutely fascinating account of one woman facing the unexpected histories of her ancestors and the actions the committed. It begs the question of whether or not we are responsible in some way for the behavior of those who came before us and if not, then how much of the burden do we bear for the things they've done. Very, very good book.

r
readinJC
Jan 11, 2016

Unique story in the Holocaust genre. Fascinating life and memoir that I would recommend to anyone.

t
tedrich2921
Oct 15, 2015

This is a fascinating read. Jennifer Teege struggles most of her life with the fact that her mother left her in an orphanage to be adopted. Then she randomly finds a book written about her mother that tells the story of how her grandfather was a sadistic Nazi concentration camp commandant. She also struggles with the fact that her beloved biological grandmother turned a blind eye on her grandfather. All of this was a family secret. Since Jennifer's biological father was black, she understands that she would have been killed by her own grandfather, if she had been alive during WWII. Ironically Jennifer has close Israeli Jewish friends that she has forged well before she knew the secret of her grandfather. No wonder she is depressed! However, the book itself is not at all depressing. This is quite a story and one well worth reading.

LMcShaneCLE Jul 15, 2015

I am third generation after WWII with my mother born in Hungary during the Nazi occupation, so this book is part of the same genre I have read extensively trying to understand how society could become so evil. Jennifer Teege's book is compelling and reveals the complexity we all live with the past and future of families and the horrible secrets that haunt us.

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readinJC
Jan 11, 2016

readinJC thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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