“My mind has become silent,

my thoughts wander to times gone by,

and I write.”

– Birgit –

I was born in the Netherlands and moved permanently to British Columbia, Canada, in 2011. I have a background in Communications, worked in various communications positions in the Netherlands, and was the director-founder of freelance agency Flexconnection and recruitment agency women-at-work. HIDING BEHIND BAMBOO is my first book — literary non-fiction, that is based on the life story of my father, Victor.

I’ve written the book in Dutch, my mother tongue, and the book will be launched in August, 2020 in the Netherlands and Belgium by HarperCollins Holland. I hope other language versions will be available soon!

Passionate about writing 

I’ve written all my life. I’ve always liked to write, but I mostly wrote short copy for business purposes, letters, website texts, brochures, and mailings. I soon found out that writing a book is something completely different. Writing a book is sometimes confrontational, a struggle that can be uncomfortable. It’s like a puzzle with an infinite amount of puzzle pieces, and sometimes it feels like the puzzle will never be complete.

The creation of this book was an extraordinary journey I traveled with my Dad, which further deepened our bond.

A true family story

Victor Treipl was born in Bandung, West-Java, the Dutch East Indies, the only child of an Austrian immigrant couple. Because at the time, Austria was part of the German Reich, Victor and his family members were declared “dangerous to the state” by the Dutch at the outbreak of World War II. Their assets, including Grand Hotel Lembang, were confiscated and sold. Family members disappeared in Dutch camps. An uncle drowned on the Dutch merchant ship Van Imhoff and Victor and his aunt were locked up in an isolated mountain village, guarded by the Japanese. Victor was then nine years old and an orphan.

An intimate family secret lies dormant under the horrors of the colonial war, which is only revealed when Victor and his aunt Hilda are transferred to a camp in Batavia in 1949. It marks Victor’s quest for identity and a voice of his own in times of war, injustice, and loss.

Both Victor and Birgit Treipl are available for interviews.