Albertine Henriette Fraenkel was born on Sunday, 7 March 1915, at her parents' home in Den Haag, Holland. She was named after her paternal grandfather and was the eldest of 5 children—two boys and three girls. When she was 9 months old, her family moved to Amsterdam, where her father started working for The Telegraaf—the largest newspaper in Holland.
Bertie started school in 1921 and always loved it. All her life she has had an insatiable thirst for knowledge. She took piano and dancing lessons, which she also loved. At the end of 1925 she became very ill with osteomyelitis in her right femur. As there were no antibiotics at that time, she spent a year in hospital. She was tutored there and also learnt French and how to play chess. During her matric year, there was a boy in the next class who invited Bertie to a party after the school play. His name was Jan van der Linden. They both decided that this was 'it,' so they planned their marriage in 5 years' time! After school she completed a BSc degree in chemistry. She would have loved to study medicine, but she felt that being a wife, a mother, and a doctor could not be combined satisfactorily.
After both she and her husband completed their studies, the young couple were married on 13 January 1937 and left on their wedding day to embark on life's adventures. They flew to London, and from England they boarded the Dunbar Castle to bring them to Cape Town, South Africa! Bertie loved her new country from the first minute and has ever been a wonderful ambassador for South Africa. She gave birth to seven children—one son and six daughters! She tackled motherhood with the greatest enthusiasm, earnestness, perseverance, love, and courage that she could muster. Good education, good cultural exposure, love of the garden and the outdoors, and love of pets of all shapes and sizes were the priorities the children grew up with.
In the late 1950's, tragedy struck the family, and Bertie became a single mother with five daughters still at home. The eldest two children were studying at university. This too was tackled in her usual manner, and she started teaching private maths lessons at home. This she did very successfully and taught till she was 95 years old! Out of the tragedy came the best decision she ever made in her life!.She became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was baptised on 11 November 1961. She has been and still is a stalwart member, giving unstinted service for the last 55 years. Her great passion in life became family history, and she has submitted thousands of names for temple ordinances.
Bertie served three missions, the first of which was at the London Temple. On her return, she was called to serve a
proselyting mission in the Johannesburg mission, and later she served a mission at the Johannesburg temple. She loves the gospel and never misses an opportunity to share it with all she comes in contact with.
And now another milestone has been reached. One hundred years of rich living, with seven children, 36 grandchildren and 80 great-grandchildren, and another two expected in 2015. What an elect lady. What an example of having lived a full and glorious life.