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Publisher's Summary

The internationally best-selling memoir hailed as "authentically shocking" (Library Journal) and "an important document - proof that history never ends" (Profil).

When Jennifer Teege, a German-Nigerian woman, happens to pluck a library book from the shelf, she has no idea that her life will be irrevocably altered. Recognizing photos of her mother and grandmother in the book, she discovers a horrifying fact: Her grandfather was Amon Goeth, the vicious Nazi commandant chillingly depicted by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List - a man known and reviled the world over.

Although raised in an orphanage and eventually adopted, Teege had some contact with her biological mother and grandmother as a child. Yet neither revealed that Teege's grandfather was the Nazi "butcher of Plaszów", executed for crimes against humanity in 1946. The more Teege reads about Amon Goeth, the more certain she becomes: If her grandfather met her - a black woman - he would have killed her.

Teege's discovery sends her, at age 38, into a severe depression - and on a quest to unearth and fully comprehend her family's haunted history. Her research takes her to Krakow - to the sites of the Jewish ghetto her grandfather "cleared" in 1943 and the Plaszów concentration camp he then commanded - and back to Israel, where she herself once attended college, learned fluent Hebrew, and formed lasting friendships. Teege struggles to reconnect with her estranged mother, Monika, and to accept that her beloved grandmother once lived in luxury as Amon Goeth's mistress at Plaszów.

Teege's story is cowritten by award-winning journalist Nikola Sellmair, who also contributes a second, interwoven narrative that draws on original interviews with Teege's family and friends and adds historical context. Ultimately Teege's resolute search for the truth leads her, step by step, to the possibility of her own liberation.

©2013, 2015 Rowohlt Verlag GmbH, Reinbek bei Hamburg. © 2013, 2015 by Jennifer Teege and Nikola Sellmair. Translation © 2015 by Carolin Sommer (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Readable.. but barely.

The story is an interesting look at the psychological reaction to her discovery of her geritage. however, I feel it didn't live up to the summary. The way the author portrayed herself did not make her likeable to me. friends described her as happy and exuberant. however, she is downtrodden the whole book. If it seems like she should be because of the subject let me warn you. more than 50 percent of it is her life before finding out her relation to the commandant. The mother seems to be a much more compelling character.

I was turned off by the title which seemed attention grabbing and trite. Unfortunately, the editor continued to fail with this book. The story jumps around in time far too often, and also jumps to a third person narrative, while still using the same voice, accent etc

Overall while I was interested enough to listen in its entirety, I'm not sure it was worth one of my coveted credits.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Moving! Intense! Informative!

I had read many books about the Holocaust over the years. But this was the first from this perspective. I really appreciated the author's willingness to share her struggles, her pain, her growth so openly. Excellent book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

A history lesson

There was a lot of repetition. It's an interesting story, but it was depressing and I kept loosing interest. The ending was very touching.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Enlightening

Grateful to read such a heartfelt and compelling story. My heart aches for all who suffered and continue to endure. Shalom.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Very moving

Very moving, thought-provoking story ... the person reading the book is somewhat distracting from the story, however.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible Story

This is an incredible story about fate and the ability to learn of and let go of the past.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Very well written...

I enjoyed this audio.I was also able to empathize with her situation that she had nothing to do with.She just happened to be born with an evil past perpetrated by her grandfather.

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loved it

Very interesting story and I liked how it switched between Jennifer's perspective and historical facts.

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I was really moved

Part personal memoir, part family history surrounding the author's grandfather, a concentration camp commander, and part a description of living with depression and the trauma of uncovering that horrifying family secret. Wow. I'm glad the author wrote the book and goes on speaking tours. Silence is deadly. Speaking the truth is healing.

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A riveting examination of the role of identity!

Loved it! A fascinating story, well told! Thanks narration is perfect and the translation is great.