Few could imagine the horror of discovering that a relative of theirs was a key person involved in one of the most-heinous crimes against humanity in modern history, but author Jennifer Teege (pictured), a biracial woman of Nigerian and German descent, has lived this reality after learning her grandfather was a Nazi killer.
As reported by the AFP, Teege’s upcoming book, “Amon: My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me,” focuses on Amon Goeth (pictured at right, also styled as Göth), who was known as the “Butcher of Plaszow.”
Goeth’s legacy lives on in infamy due to Steven Spielberg’s film “Schindler’s List,” where he was shown sadistically killing Jews held inside the Plaszow concentration camp in Poland.
Goeth was later hanged for his crimes in 1946.
Teege was born after her father, a Nigerian student, and Goeth’s daughter had a brief affair. Giving away their daughter to a children’s home at just weeks old, an affluent family in Munich adopted her.
Teege’s birth mother (pictured below) and Grandmother visited early on but that eventually ceased. As an adult, Teege studied in Israel and encountered several survivors of the Holocaust.
However, Teege, 43, would make the shocking discovery about her grandfather five years ago, after doing some research in a German library.
From the AFP:
Half a lifetime later looking through the stacks of her local library in the northern city of Hamburg, she stumbled upon a title that resonated with her own fractured personal history: “Ich muss doch meinen Vater lieben, oder?” (I Have to Love My Father, Right?).
The middle-aged woman pictured on the book’s sleeve looked faintly familiar and a quick scan of the biographical details revealed a perfect match with those of her birth mother.
‘It was like the carpet was ripped out beneath my feet,’ Teege told AFP.
‘I had to go lie down on a bench. I called my husband and told him I couldn’t drive and needed to be picked up. Then I said to my family that I did not want to be disturbed, went to bed, and read the book cover to cover.’
Teege works in advertising as a copywriter and has two children of her own. Co-written with journalist Nikola Sellmair, the book serves as a method of catharsis while also connecting with a part of her past that was formerly unknown to her. She also intends to research her African roots with the same fervor as well.
“Of course my story is gripping and original,” Teege said. “But it’s also more generally about the fact that it’s possible to move beyond repression to gain a kind of personal freedom from the past by finding out who you really are.”