Now in paperback: The New York Times bestselling memoir hailed as “unforgettable” (Publishers Weekly) and “a stunning memoir of cultural trauma and personal identity” (Booklist).
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.
In this unforgettable memoir, Teege, writing with journalist Sellmair, discovers secrets about her family during WWII. Teege, a part-Nigerian German working in the advertising industry, shakes up her quiet married life after discovering a book, Matthias Kessler's I Have to Love My Father, that inspires her to unravel her convoluted family history. She's horrified to learn that her biological mother's father was infamous SS leader Amon Goeth. As depicted in Schindler's List, Goeth liquidated the Krakow ghetto in Poland, ran the Plaszow death camp, and was captured by Americans and hanged in 1946. Teege's travels in Poland, Germany, and the Middle East further expose her family's troubled legacy. Her biological mother, Monika, became pregnant with Teege after an affair with a Nigerian student, and placed the baby for adoption; Monika's unapologetic mother, Ruth, makes excuses for Goeth, who was her lover. Teege's quest to discover her personal history is empowering.
Jenny’s story is amazing, told with honesty
This book touched my heart in so many ways. The honesty, detail, soul-searching, love and despair. I would have read it straight through but I knew it needed to be given time to let her story soak in. It is amazing that she has lived it, and continues to learn and love. Thank you with my whole heart.
This is a very well written book. I like how it not only told Jennifer's story but also covered the historical portion well. I learned a lot and am interested in reading more on this topic. I have recommended this book to many people!!