Ten Green Bottles by Vivian Jeanette Kaplan
The True Story of One Family's Journey from War-torn Austria to the Ghettos of Shanghai

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To Nini Karpel, growing up in Vienna during the 1920s was a romantic confection. Whether schussing down ski slopes or speaking of politics in coffee houses, she cherished the city of her birth. But in the 1930s an undercurrent of conflict and hate began to seize the former imperial capital. This struggle came to a head when Hitler took possession of neighboring Germany. Anti-Semitism, which Nini and her idealistic friends believed was impossible in the socially advanced world of Vienna, became widespread and virulent.

The Karpel's Jewish identity suddenly made them foreigners in their own homeland. Tormented, disenfranchised, and with a broken heart, Nini and her family sought refuge in a land seven thousand miles across the world.

Shanghai, China, one of the few countries accepting Jewish immigrants, became their new home and refuge. Stepping off the boat, the Karpel family found themselves in a land they could never have imagined. Shanghai presented an incongruent world of immense wealth and privilege for some and poverty for the masses, with opium dens and decadent clubs as well as rampant disease and a raging war between nations.

Ten Green Bottles is the story of Nini Karpel's struggles as she told it to her daughter Vivian so many years ago. This true story depicts the fierce perseverance of one family, victims of the forces of evil, who overcame suffering of biblical proportion to survive. It was a time when ordinary people became heroes.


About Vivian Jeanette Kaplan

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Vivian Jeanette Kaplan was born in Shanghai, where her parents were married. As her family originated in Vienna, her mother tongue is German. When she was two years old, her parents arrived in Canada, settling in Toronto. She graduated from the University of Toronto, where she studied English, French, and Spanish. She is married and has three sons. For a number of years the family owned and ran a lakeside lodge in Muskoka, north of Toronto. For twenty years she had her own business, Vivian Kaplan Oriental Interiors, an import-export firm with interior design showrooms specializing in décor from the Far East. Ten Green Bottles, which tells her own true family saga, is her first book.
Published November 2, 2004 by St. Martin's Press. 316 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

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Characterizing her work—winner of the Canadian Jewish Book Award—as “a memoir in the creative non-fiction genre,” the author, who was born in Shanghai and now lives in Canada, tells the story in the voice of her mother, Nini Karpel, the youngest daughter of a prosperous and patriotic Viennese dep...

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Publishers Weekly

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Although Vienna is rebuilt and a daughter (the author) is born, Communist troops arrive, and Nini and Poldi move again, this time to Canada.

Sep 06 2004 | Read Full Review of Ten Green Bottles: The True S...

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