Book Review: My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past by Jennifer Teege
One day Jennifer Teege picked up a book in a library in Hamburg Germany. The title was I Have to Love My Father Don’t It? written by Monika Goeth. This was her mother’s name! Looking inside the book she found pictures of her Grandmother Ruth Irene Kalder Goeth and of her Grandfather, the master of the Plaszow Concentration Camp…Amon Goeth! This event in a library was the beginning of the author’s research of her family’s Nazi past. The author relates her horror which propels her into depression. Slowly and inexorably she pulls together all the loose tendrils of her existence; her mother’s abandonment as a child, finding her Nigerian father, gradually reconciling the loving grandmother who cared for her with the woman besotted with love for a man who shot Jewish people for sport in the concentration camp near the grounds of their home. Jennifer Teege’s journey takes her to the sites of the Plaszow and Auschwitz concentration camps, to her friends in Tele vi and other parts of the Middle East who had family members impacted and finally to the families of survivors of the Holocaust.
This was a difficult read but so worth the effort. It brings a personal resonance to the horrors of a time past and helps the reader to understand that the effects of that time live on generations after the events. One weeps with and cheers Jennifer Teege’s courage, humility and willingness to open wounds to build understanding of a time we must never revisit.
Review by Karen