Book Review by Kam Williams
We can choose our friends, but unfortunately, none of us can choose our family. They just are, and there is nothing we can do about it.
What if you you finally discovered that your mother had left you at an orphanage at less than a month-old, and that she was the daughter of an infamous Nazi killer who took pleasure in killing people and ran a concentration camp?
That is exactly what happened to Jennifer Teege. At 38 years of age, she discovered that her grandfather was Amon Goeth, a Nazi monster who not only ordered the extermination of thousands of Jews, but took sadistic pleasure in participating in the torture, maiming and killing of jews and others.
While he was the warden of the Plaszow death camp in Poland, Goeth would shoot Jews for sport from the balcony of his home overlooking the prison yard. Schindler’s List, the Academy Award-winning Best Picture documented this example of Goeth’s numerous atrocities. Goeth was played by Ralph Fiennes in a chilling, Oscar-nominated performance.
Once she discovered her genealogy, Jennifer became severely depressed. She is of African-German extraction, being the product of a brief relationship between her mother and a Nigerian. Jennifer discovered many things, including that her white supremacist forebear was so proud of his mass murder of people he considered subhuman, that his last words before his death by hanging were a defiant “Heil Hitler!”
“When Jennifer Teege, a German-Nigerian woman, happened to pluck a library book from the shelf…she discovered a horrifying fact: Her grandfather was Amon Goeth, the vicious Nazi commandant chillingly depicted in Schindler’s list-a man known and reviled the world over.
Although raised in an orphanage and eventually adopted, Jennifer had some contact with her biological mother and grandmother as a child. Yet neither revealed that her grandfather was the Nazi ‘Butcher of Plaszow,’ executed for crimes against humanity…
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.”
– Excerpted from the Bookjacket
It is easy to see why Jennifer went into an emotional tailspin, as her bubble was burst, given how orphans are more inclined to fantasize that they’re descended from royalty than the scum of the Earth. After she discovered she had the blood of an inveterate anti-Semite coursing through her veins, she wondered how she could have been adopted and raised by a loving couple who encouraged her to speak fluent Hebrew and get a college degree from Tel Aviv University in Israel.
My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past represents the culmination of a bittersweet quest for closure uncovering some of the most disgusting skeletons imaginable. In fascinating fashion, Jennifer recounts her two-year, intercontinental trek during which she both confronted her long-estranged, biological mother and revisited the concentration camp and Jewish ghetto where her despicable granddad did his dirty work.
Amon Goeth is either spinning in his grave or rotating on a spit in Hell about his black Hebrew-speaking granddaughter, but much more importantly than what happened to him is that Jennifer turned out to be so different. The horribly twisted family tree thankfully got straightened out along the way and now has blossoms on it.
It must be karma!
To order a copy of My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1615192530/ref%3dnosim/smallbusin0f7-20
My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me
A black woman discovers her family’s Nazi past
By Jennifer Teege
with Nikola Sellmair
The Experiment Publishing
230 pages, Illustrated