Jennifer Teege, author of the book "Amon. My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me" attends the presentation of her book at the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow, Poland, on Feb. 25, 2014. STANISLAW ROZPEDZIK / EPA
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Jennifer Teege, a 44-year-old black woman from Hamburg, Germany was horrified to learn that her grandfather was a Nazi mass murderer.
As an adult, Teege happened to learn that she is the granddaughter of Amon Goeth, the former SS commandant of the Plaszow-Krakow concentration camp in Poland, where more than 8,000 people were murdered. Goeth was portrayed as a sadistic killer by Ralph Fiennes in “Schindler’s list.”
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Teege was born from an affair her mother, Monika Hartwig, had with a Nigerian student. Her mother placed her in an orphanage when she was just four weeks old.
A foster family took her in when she was 3 years old and then adopted her when she was 7. As a child, Teege saw her biological mother and her grandmother occasionally, but they never breathed a word about who her infamous grandfather was.
She’s told German journalists: “He would have regarded me as a sub-species.”
Teege learned about the family legacy by chance five years ago when she was drawn to a book with a red cover and a woman’s picture in Hamburg’s central library, which has 350,000 volumes. The book titled, “I Have to Love My Father, Right?” was a biography of her mother, who was pictured on the cover.
Teege’s book was published in Germany last fall and currently ranks third on the best-seller list for Der Spiegel, the leading weekly magazine. An English edition is planned for spring 2015.