Like most adopted children, Jennifer Teege knew very little about her biological family history. But in 2008 Teege stumbled upon a library book that revealed the scandalous truth about her personal story: Her grandfather is the notorious Nazi Amon Goeth—the villain played by Ralph Fiennes in the Oscar-winning film Schindler’s List.
Among other disgusting deeds, Goeth is known for shooting many Jewish prisoners from his front porch at the Plaszow concentration camp. The book that changed Teege’s life, I Have to Love My Father, Right? is based on an interview with her biological mother. “The first shock was the sheer discovery of a book about my mother and my family, which had information about me and my identity that had been kept hidden from me,” she explained.
The second shock, of course, was learning about the atrocities her grandfather committed. “For the first six months…I lapsed into silence, I slept a lot and I wasn’t really functioning,” Teege recalls. Around this time she started seeing a therapist to help her process the situation. The therapist himself burst into tears when she told him the story. Luckily, he was able to help her accept the facts, piece by piece.
Through this, Teege learned more about the lives of her mother and grandmother. Teege was born in 1970 in Munich to Monika Hertwig, after a brief fling with a Nigerian man. When Teege was one month old, Hertwig brought her to a Catholic children’s home where she was cared for until the age of three.
At three, she was taken in by a foster family who formally adopted her when she was seven. Hertwig was the result of an extra-marital affair. When Oskar Schindler introduced Ruth Irene Kalder to Amon Goeth, Goeth was married to a woman living in Austria. But this didn’t stop Goeth and Kalder from fostering a relationship in Poland, which resulted in a child, Hertwig.
According to Haaretz, Goeth had plans to divorce his wife and marry Kalder, but Goeth never got the chance. He never even met his daughter before he was arrested and executed in September 1946. Teege has recounted every emotional detail in her memoir Amon, which was published in German in 2013. The English version, titled My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past, is set for release this April.
source: WOMAN’S DAY