My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me Summary and Reviews

My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me

A Black Woman Discovers Her Family's Nazi Past

by Jennifer Teege

My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me by Jennifer Teege X
My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me by Jennifer Teege
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2015
    240 pages
    Genre: Biographies/Memoirs

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Book Summary

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 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 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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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Jennifer Teege's new memoir traces the pain of discovering her grandfather was the real-life 'Nazi butcher' from Schindler's List." - People magazine

"Haunting and unflinching... A memoir, an adoption story and a geopolitical history lesson, all blended seamlessly into an account of Teege's exploration of her roots." - Washington Post

"A stunning memoir of cultural trauma and personal identity." - Booklist, starred review

"Unforgettable... . Teege's quest to discover her personal history is empowering." - Publishers Weekly

"An important addition to narratives written by descendants of war criminals. A gripping read, highly recommended for anyone interested in history, memoirs, and biography." - Library Journal, starred review

"A powerful account of Teege's struggle for resolution and redemption, the book [is] itself a therapeutic working-through of her history, as well as a meditation on family." - The Independent (UK)

"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. Readers won't help but feel for her. Teege discovers, however, that history's shattering truths have the potential to make us more whole." - Seattle Times

"[Teege's] message is an important one - that we have the power to decide who we are." - Seattle Weekly

"In honest, direct, and absorbing prose, Teege and coauthor Nikola Sellmair confront highly personal repercussions of the Holocaust... . The book's real triumph is in its nuanced, universally appealing portrait of an individual searching for her place in the world. Just as Teege's chance encounter with a library book led her to question the fundamental assumptions of her life, so too the reader... will be forced to reconsider the wide-ranging impact of past injustices on present-day relationships." - The Jewish Book Council

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DestaneFly

My Grandafther Would Have Shot Me
When someone is writing a review of a book it's all about if the book was good or bad or if they liked it or didn't like it. For me my book was “My grandfather would have shot me”. Which was honestly one of the best books I have read in a long time. The book is about a girl who finds out that her grandfather was apart of the nazi. The granddaughter of a mass murder, she says. I recommend this book to everyone is this global studies class and outside of class maybe about 16. Just so you can actually get the full understanding of how the holocaust worked and how it was finding out something that huge, that important and no one told you had to find out from the front of a book! Overall the book was very, very well written and I suggest the book to all.

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More Information

More Information

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 singular story.

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