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My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family's Nazi Past
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My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family's Nazi Past

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  3,706 ratings  ·  648 reviews
An international bestseller—the extraordinary memoir of a German-Nigerian woman who learns that her grandfather was the brutal Nazi commandant depicted in Schindler’s List.

“I am the granddaughter of Amon Goeth, who shot hundreds of people—and for being black, he would have shot me, too.” In an instant, Jennifer Teege’s life turns upside down; the shock of discovering her a
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published April 15th 2015 by The Experiment (first published January 1st 2013)
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3.78  · 
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 ·  3,706 ratings  ·  648 reviews

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Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-writers
This is one of the hardest reviews I ever had to write.

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.

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 mas
Jul 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I struggle between giving this 2 or 3 stars. This was poorly written (possibly because it's a translation?), repetitive, and when all is said and done, I really didn't learn much. She always knew who her birth mother was and had some contact with her in her youth, and had a wonderful family that adopted her and loved her and that she loved, but I found it very odd and sad that the minute she found out who her maternal grandfather was she immediately decided to stop calling her adoptive parents m ...more

Family secrets are toxic.

Everyone wants to know who they are. I think the question is especially keen for adopted children—who are my people and why am I not with them?

What if the answer to that question brought unbelievable turmoil?

Jennifer Teege is a grown woman with children of her own, part of a loving adoptive family. Despite this, in her late thirties, she is struggling with depression. While in the library’s psychology section, looking for books on depression, she happens to pick up a l
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of three books about Amon Goeth that I own and the second one I've read. I knew most of the facts about Goeth but hearing the author's story was interesting and I'm glad I purchased this book. It was well written and I liked the dynamic - several pages about her and then a shorter bit of historical facts. The chapter about Israel was so much fun for me seeing as I spent a couple weeks there last summer. I repeatedly wanted to shout "I know where that is!" and "I've walked down that s ...more
I love this book for various reasons.

1: I love fucked up families. It's such a familiar territory.

2: I love Jennifer Teege's personal telling of her story. She doesn't focus on her grandfather, she doesn't make the entire book about guilt or victims or something. Instead, she tells the story of her life and her active search for truth after one key incident: Finding a book about her mother, her birth family.
Basically, she shows how a Nazi descendant without any prior knowledge of that ancestry d
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley for an opportunity to read an advance copy of My granfather Would have Shot Me. The title does not do justice to this book. Jennifer Teege was born in Germany. Her mother was German and her father was Nigerian. Her mother gave her up for adoption when she was around three. She had a happy childhood with her adoptive family, but had good memories of her birth mother's mother and mixed memories of her birth mother. In her early 20's she spent a few years ...more
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A biracial woman who was adopted by a German family uncovers a shocking family secret; her biological grandfather was the notorious Nazi war criminal Amon Goeth. Jennifer, who had friends in Israel, read to elderly Holocaust survivors, and had remained estranged from her biological family, was related to evil. What had in happened in her family history that led to this? This was a great read that was overall about putting the past behind us and a journey of self-discovery.
What an interesting read!
This came across my desk awhile ago and I was arrested by the title so I put it on hold and have just finished listening and my thoughts are all a-whirl because, here's the thing, this could possibly be my story. Not the part about a black woman because I'm white but the part about discovering one's surprise Nazi heritage. I could very well unknowingly have Nazi ancestors and there's no way I would know or even suspect.
Jennifer didn't know or suspect until she accidental
Betsy Robinson
Apr 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Riveting memoir by a black German woman who discovers that her grandfather was Amon Goeth, the mass murdering Nazi commandant called “the butcher of Plaszow.” Teege, the progeny of a white German woman who was the daughter of Goeth’s mistress and a Nigerian man, was put in an orphanage by her mother and then foster care at age three with a family who subsequently adopted her. Her journey into her past, alternating with the first-rate journalism and history by her co-author, Nikola Sellmair, make ...more
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
Jennifer Teege (a 38 year old woman of African/German ethnicity) discovers she is related to Amon Goeth, the commandant of the Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp. How she comes to terms with this revelation is both heart breaking and uplifting. Her journey to find peace with herself and her family is a version of a journey we must all take.
May 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book but the writing is very awkward and disjointed, made even more so because Ms. Teege and another person alternate in telling the story. I am not sure if something was lost in the translation but I never connected with the author or understood the feelings and relationships she seemed to be trying to share. I would not recommend this book.
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting story; bad writing and editing.
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I went into this book knowing very little about the Holocaust, concentration camps, or the Nazi's involved but I closed the book feeling as if I received an important history lesson, both on an educational and emotional level. Jennifer Teege had gone almost 40 years knowing very little of her ancestry until she sees a picture of her mother on the cover of a book in the library. The book, titled "I Have to Love My Father, Right?", was a detailed autobiography of her mother, specifically that she ...more
Charles Weinblatt
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
“What is family? Is it something we inherit, or is it something that we build? The book was the key to everything, the key to my life. It revealed my family secret, but the truth that lay before me was terrifying. I went to Kraków to get closer to the overwhelming figure of Amon Goeth, to understand why he destroyed my family. I didn’t have the courage to admit who I was to a Jewish tourist I happened to meet. I couldn’t even tell my friends in Israel who I really was.”

More than 60 years after t
Isis Ray-sisco
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: net-galley-books
I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions or the content of the review.

I never read biographies or memoirs but this one caught my eye. Being of mixed race I have often wondered about my lineage because my mom doesn't know much about my biological father at all. It is something that plagues many people. I found My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family's Nazi Past very moving.I could totally identify wi
This book is an exploration of horrendous history, guilt, depression, and healing. I never knew this story and I’m glad Jennifer Teege decided to share it with the world.
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir
My Review: The title of this book piqued my interest immediately. And when I found out that it was a memoir written about a bi-racial woman who finds out her grandfather was one of the most brutal Nazis I knew I wanted to read this book because it took a look at the effects of WWII from a totally different viewpoint. It brings to light the question of how the family members of Nazi war criminals came to terms with their family member's horrific past deeds.

Teege gives her readers a glimpse into
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rift Vegan
Apr 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
The author JT discovering her biological family in a book at the library, was such an emotional scene, I still remember it, a year after reading the book. The book was a page turner, and the two different voices worked for me: JT telling her story and her co-author NS providing historical facts.
Tamara Dahling
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
In her late 30s, married with 2 children, Jennifer Teege, the adopted daughter of a German family discovers completely by chance that she is the granddaughter of Amon Goeth, the notorious concentration commandant portrayed in Schindler's List. She knows she is adopted and remembers her birth mother as a rather cold distant woman, but has warm, happy memories of her grandmother who, she discovers was Goeth's mistress/wife. Her life upended, she struggles to understand why she was never told, how ...more
Jennifer Teege, a German-Nigerian young woman, arrived at the library after dropping her sons off at preschool. While browsing the shelves, she picked up a book with an unusual title: I Have to Love My Father, Don’t I? As she paged through it, she saw some familiar faces- -photos of her mother and her grandmother. But then, as she read a bit more, she discovered that her grandfather was Amon Goeth, the brutal Nazi concentration camp commandant depicted by Ralph Fiennes in the movie Schindler’s L ...more
I love anything Holocaust/WWII related, and I loved this book just as much. I appreciate Jennifer Teege's very personal insight.

I cannot image browsing in my own library and finding such a haunting book on my own family, let alone wanting to write about it, and its impact for all the world to read. That being said, I give Mrs. Teege a TON of credit. Credit for taking such a history and delving head on into it emotionally, psychologically and physically.

Going into this, I knew Amon Goeth was a
Just A. Bean
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction, wwii
I had wondered if the book would be too much what Teege herself calls "Public therapy," but while it had an element of that, it was an effective story. Teege's emotional responses and reflections were well balanced by Sellmair's historical and cultural analysis and interviews. This was especially insightful in the sections about Teege's attempts to reconcile with her her birth family.

The story is an emotional journey, yes, concluded with her acceptance and attempts to teach, but I was more inter
Kris Dickinson
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, arc-s
I was lucky enough to be able to read the ARC of this. It was on my TBR shelf and then the other day, I was reading a magazine that had book reviews in it and this was one of the books mentioned. After reading that article, I got right up and grabbed that book off my shelf. Im glad I did. It was an interesting perspective from the grandchild of a Nazi commandant. Even though she never me him, what he did affected Jennifer deeply. She felt extreme guilt for what he did and actually removed hersel ...more
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is just such a bizarre family story and it should have been a four star rating for that. But when it comes down to readability and and having a solid structure, this book was just frustrating. On top of it, despite the emotional topic it left me very disconnected for the most part.
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Everybody wants to know where they come from, who their parents and grandparents are. Everybody wants to be able to tell their complete story, with a beginning and an end. Everybody asks: What is unique about me? (199)

Teege had very little contact with her birth mother & grandmother after she was adopted at age 7—a common practice at the time, when it was believed that a 'clean break' was best for adopted children. It was not until Teege was 38 and paging through a book that she learned more
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: have-it
A cross between a personal history and a research article, this book gives some insight into how the descendants of survivors (and the Nazi commandants) react to knowing more about the atrocities of the Holocaust. Jennifer is an interesting case, because she grew up in Germany and spent time in Israel, so she has seen how people in both countries have been impacted. It seems like she was able to find peace and understand her mother and grandmother, even if she didn't like what she learned.
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
I had wanted to read this book since I heard about it on NPR, so I was excited when it was on the "new" books shelf at work. It took me awhile to get through the book, which disappointed me since I'm usually a fast reader.

I have a few reasons for why this might have happened:

1) Translation issues. The original book was written in German, then later translated into English. Some of the English seemed overly formal, yet at the same time, elementary. It is hard to explain. Some of the syntax also
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: justice-racism
Jennifer Teege's personal story is interesting. The information about the Holocaust and how subsequent generations of Germans (including her) have processed it is informative. The translation is stellar; I wouldn't have known is wasn't written in English. And, even though the subject matter is intense, the book is easy to read.

But, while Teege seems likable, there's something about her viewpoint, or her motive, that puts me off. Was writing the book some kind of reaction to her birth mother's bo
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Okay, the basic story itself is like a real-life movie. It's fascinating, heart wrenching and unbelievable. There is a shocking story to be told and truly good, historical content in this book. The author is (forgive my tactlessness) nothing short of melodramatic. Maybe I'm being insensitive and misunderstanding her deep depression but this book is 60% about her identity crisis, years of grief and massive burdens that haunt her to a crippling point. It's probably 40% about what actually happened ...more
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UF Hillel: April/May 2018: My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me 1 3 May 17, 2018 01:49PM  
April/May book 1 3 May 09, 2018 12:51PM  
Mid-Continent Pub...: Book Group Title of the Month: July 2015 2 34 Jul 25, 2015 07:51AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: My Grandather Would Have Shot Me by Jennifer Teege 1 11 May 08, 2015 08:20AM  
Interview with the Author 1 9 Apr 15, 2015 06:26AM  

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“Schindler crossed limits that he didn’t need to cross.” Still, in the end she finds for Schindler: “Amon Goeth and Oskar Schindler, they both had power. One used it to kill, the other to save lives. Their example shows that everyone has a choice.” 3 likes
“It's easy to hate Amon Goeth. If the Germans and their allies can turn into murderers, then we, too, can become murderers. I hope that my sons will always remember that. I hope that they will always see the Palestinians as human beings, not as enemies.” 3 likes
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