My Father Would Have Shot Me

My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me

by Jennifer Teege

Overview: 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.

Debbie Weiss (08/17/17): I agree with Judy, that this was an interesting story. I didn't hear the author speak in person, but I did hear her being interviewed on NPR which made me want to read her book to learn more about her. I found it amazing that by chance Jennifer came across a book in the library that happened to be all about the grandfather that she never knew. Learning that her grandfather was a vicious Nazi put her into a severe depression and researching his life and the lives of her biological mother and grandmother became an obsession --- causing her to neglect her husband and two children. She wondered if evil can be inherited. It is an interesting question.
Rating: ***

Judy Stanton (08/10/17): This book tells the amazing story of a black woman living in Germany who was adopted as a young child and finds out in her 30s that her grandfather was a Nazi, Amon Goeth. A commandant of a concentration camp in Poland, he was exceptionally vicious, pictured in the movie Shindler's List as shooting people as if for target practice from his villa window. I heard Jennifer Teege speak two years ago at the Jewish Book Festival and saw a movie about her mother meeting a concentration camp survivor, both were very moving. So, the story itself was not a surprise to me; but, still, it gave more detail than she could share in her program, including how she was able to share what she found out about her heritage with her closest Jewish friends in Israel. Her co-author was able to add background about how others saw Jennifer. An interesting story.
Rating: ***

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