It's hard to imagine a more arresting title, but in this instance, it is trumped by its sub-title 'a black woman discovers her family's Nazi past'. Daughter of a white German mother and a Nigerian father, Jennifer Teege was adopted out as a young child. However, at age 38, her random selection of a library book revealed photos of her biological mother and grandmother and even more shockingly, that her grandfather was Amon Goeth, a Nazi commandant known as the Butcher of Krakow.
This is the empowering story of the author's quest to confront the truth and understand her troubled legacy, supported by a intertwined narrative providing balanced analysis and historical context for this heart-felt testimony.
Highly rated by the group which made for a very spirited discussion.
Fascinating, and made more real if you'd seen Schindler's List. Not what you would expect when trying to figure out who you are and where you came from. We talked about how we'd cope in the same situation, and we all appreciated the read.
A complex study of divisions - in families, genes, nations, and adoption. Initially a reluctant read for some, all were glad of the insights.
While most of us found this a bleak book we had a great discussion about human emotions, and how , in the same situation as the author, would have reacted. At the end we all felt pleased we had had the opportunity to read it.
A really enjoyable read with a good discussion.
An amazing story well-written. What an extraordinary life this person has had - so far!
Our group were divided on this - 50% rated it 4 and 50% rated it 2 1/2.. Most didnt find the book enjoyable to read but definitely interesting and confronting. Some could relate it back to their German forebears. It generated a lively discussion on mental health, the difficulty to speak against the majority and the need, or not, to know where you come from. The journalist's voice was a refreshing balance against Jennifers internalising.
We had a very thoughtful and lengthy discussion, we all found it well written and enjoyed the 'two voices' with the narrator relating Jennifer's personal story to the context/research/history of the times. We found the descriptions of the concentration camps and treatment harrowing, several of the group have visited camps and all reported a disturbing atmosphere that lingered. We also got a clear idea of the effects of Nazism and war on families through the generations. The was also a good discussion on adoption, depression, relationships. Thoroughly recommended.
A very mixed response to this book. Not an easy/enjoyable read. We appreciated the interplay between the two writers' perspective of coping with the subject of personal history. It did generate good discussion.
Really enjoyed by all. The translation was very well done. We loved the "sayings".
We talked for over an hour about this book. We covered adoption - how does it feel to not know your roots and does it matter Colour/race, and being black in Germany -then discovering your grandfather murdered millions of Jews. How the children of Nazis cope with that knowledge. And much more. A very worthwhile read.
Good discussion on effects of war criminals' actions on their families, and the effect of war on our families, and the effect of visiting concentration camps on Israeli teenagers today.
Thoroughly engrossing, especially for those with an interest in 20th Century history. Horrifying in parts. Worthwhile reading.
We had a mixed reaction to this book mainly because the first chapters were difficult because of the description of the concentration camps, and Jennifer Teege's relationship with the commandant. Those of us who continued to read found the story of the author's coping with her adoption and depression more readable.
A different perspective on WWII and the Holocaust. Unusual but welcome, and surprising to realize the author is German when we are so used to Black American stories of the war. It prompted discussion of our ancestors' stories on both sides of the world wars.
A mixed reaction to this book. Some loved the story and how it was put together, and found it a fascinating read. Others found it a story that engendered depressing feelings in the reader.
Compulsive read, shedding insight into the lives of descendants of Nazi Germany in WWII.
Everyone agreed it was an easy read, and the dual writing style helped make it interesting. Great discussion on inter-generational guilt! We all decided that one can't choose one's relatives, it is the individual of the present and his/her values that make a person, and one should not carry the guilt for those before us.
Several members didn't finish this book. Most of us were pleased to have read it, but the general feeling was that it wasn't well-written, and was quite repetitive at the beginning.