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

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2017-04-02 14:38Z by Steven

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

The Experiment
2016-04-05
240 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9781615192533
Paperback ISBN: 9781615193080

Jennifer Teege and Nikola Sellmair
Translated by Carolin Sommer

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.

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Mixed-race descendant of Nazi murderer tells of life

Posted in Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, Europe, Media Archive on 2015-11-20 02:33Z by Steven

Mixed-race descendant of Nazi murderer tells of life

San Diego Jewish World
2015-11-18

David Strom, Professor Emeritus of Education
San Diego State University, San Diego, California

My Grandfather Would have Shot Me [Amon: Mein Großvater hätte mich erschossen], by Jennifer Teege and Nikola Sellmair. The Experiment, Pub. 2015, 221pp

SAN DIEGO — At the age of 38 Jennifer Teege was at the Hamburg central library. There she glanced at a book with a red cover and was drawn to it. From photographs in the book, Jennifer discovered that it was about people she vaguely remembered—her mother and grandmother. She took the book home and read it from cover to cover. The most amazing and shocking thing she learned was that her maternal grandfather, Amon Goeth, the butcher commandant of Plaszow concentration camp near Krakow, was not killed fighting in the war but was hanged for his crimes (The actor Ralph Fiennes played Amon Goeth in the movie Schindler’s List.)

Now she understood why no one told her or spoke about her background. Jennifer knew that her grandfather would have murdered her since she was a mixed-race black German-Nigerian. Learning the truth about her ancestry threw Jennifer in a deep depression. But it did lead to a rather tentative reconnection with her mother, Monika Hertwig, who she hadn’t seen in years…

Read the entire review here.

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Editorial January 2014: On Reading Two Recent Memoirs by Afro-Germans

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, Europe, Media Archive on 2014-01-18 04:08Z by Steven

Editorial January 2014: On Reading Two Recent Memoirs by Afro-Germans

The Collegium for African American Research (CAAR)
January 2014

Gundolf Graml, Associate Professor of German and Director of German Studies
Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Georgia

Two recent memoirs by German authors with an African connection emphasize that German history cannot be written without including the histories and perspectives of black Germans (as well as that of many other non-white people).

In Deutsch sein und Schwarz dazu [Being German and also Being Black], published in 2013 with Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag, author Theodor Michael takes a long and probing look back at his experiences as a black German. Born in 1925 to a white German mother from the Eastern Prussian provinces and a black Cameroonian father, Michael’s childhood and youth coincided with the decline of the democratic German Weimar Republic and the rise of National Socialism.

In a low key style Michael recollects his participation in the infamous Völkerschauen [colonial peoples exhibits] organized by circusses and zoos. He describes his attempts to get by as hotel page and as extra in some of the Third Reich’s anti-British colonial films. And he details the toll that life under the Nuremberg race laws took on his body and mind. While his siblings managed to get out of Germany, Theodor Michael stayed behind, spending the last years of the regime as a forced laborer in a factory outside of Berlin, where he survived the war. After liberation, he managed to get into the Western zone, where he then tried to rebuild his life…

…Jennifer Teege’s memoir, Amon: Mein GroĂźvater hätte mich erschossen [Amon: My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me], published in 2013 with Rowohlt Verlag, addresses the topic from the perspective of the second postwar generation of Germans. Teege, born in 1970 to a white German mother and a Nigerian father, grew up in an orphanage and later was adopted by a white middle-class German family. Decades later she finds out that her mother’s father, her grandfather, was Amon Göth, the concentration commander of Plaszow near Krakow, whose brutality and inhumanity are depicted in Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List. For Teege, who has lived in Israel for several years and worked with Holocaust survivors, the sudden discovery of a biological connection to one of the most infamous Nazi perpetrators was surpassed only by the shock that the grandmother to whom she has been attached so closely was Göth’s girlfriend and one of his most ardent defenders…

Read the entire review of the books here.

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Amon: Mein Großvater hätte mich erschossen [Amon: My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me]

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Europe, Media Archive, Monographs on 2014-01-17 20:08Z by Steven

Amon: Mein Großvater hätte mich erschossen [Amon: My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me]

Rowohlt Verlag
2013-09-20
272 pages
Hardcover ISBN 978-3-498-06493-8

Jennifer Teege with Nikola Sellmair

Es ist ein Schock, der ihr ganzes Selbstverständnis erschüttert: Mit 38 Jahren erfährt Jennifer Teege durch einen Zufall, wer sie ist. In einer Bibliothek findet sie ein Buch über ihre Mutter und ihren Großvater Amon Göth. Millionen Menschen kennen Göths Geschichte. In Steven Spielbergs Film «Schindlers Liste» ist der brutale KZ-Kommandant der Saufkumpan und Gegenspieler des Judenretters Oskar Schindler. Göth war verantwortlich für den Tod tausender Menschen und wurde 1946 gehängt. Seine Lebensgefährtin Ruth Irene, Jennifer Teeges geliebte Großmutter, begeht 1983 Selbstmord.

Jennifer Teege ist die Tochter einer Deutschen und eines Nigerianers. Sie wurde bei Adoptiveltern groß und hat danach in Israel studiert. Jetzt ist sie mit einem Familiengeheimnis konfrontiert, das sie nicht mehr ruhen lässt. Wie kann sie ihren jüdischen Freunden noch unter die Augen treten? Und was soll sie ihren eigenen Kindern erzählen? Jennifer Teege beschäftigt sich intensiv mit der Vergangenheit. Sie trifft ihre Mutter wieder, die sie viele Jahre nicht gesehen hat.

Gemeinsam mit der Journalistin Nikola Sellmair recherchiert sie ihre Familiengeschichte, sucht die Orte der Vergangenheit noch einmal auf, reist nach Israel und nach Polen. Schritt fĂĽr Schritt wird aus dem Schock ĂĽber die AbgrĂĽnde der eigenen Familie die Geschichte einer Befreiung.

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