When I heard about this book, I made a note of it and carried that note with me for many months. It did not appear on the shelf; I had to special order it and then surprised myself by reading it in just a few days. Usually I keep a pile of books for future “rainy days.”
This is not an easy book; but it is so well and simply written that it opens your heart to the story and its honesty. Who could imagine it? Discovering that your grandfather was a war criminal who was depicted in the movie “Schindler’s List” by Ralph Fiennes? A man who you realize would have shot you–a black woman–had he met you.
This is Jennifer Teege’s story: her unexpected, even random, discovery of the truth of her family heritage, and her journey in facing it. In it she shares her deepest feelings, fears, anger and confusion. It is a survivor’s story, but not only about the Nazi death camps. How did the German people survive the war? Are there secrets that affect the next generation, and the generations that follow? Who are we?
There is a lot of history in the book, clearly written and placed in the context of her personal experiences. There is much to think about and much to learn, but mostly there is so much to feel and to embrace about her story. It is not the heavy read I expected. It is liberating and courageous, and I’m grateful she wrote the book to share with us. It wasn’t easy, but it is deeply meaningful.