Bertie was born in Amsterdam, Holland, in April 1936. In January 1943, Bertie and her mother were ordered out of their home and transported to a theater that was being used as a temporary jail at the time. Imprisoned and waiting for transport elsewhere, her mother made a phone call to her father, from whom she was divorced, to ask for his help to get Bertie out of the jail. Through networking, her father was able to obtain help and she was abducted when she was walking at night across the street in front of the theatre with hundreds of other children, by someone from the Dutch Underground (Resistance).
The next morning Bertie was picked up by her non-Jewish stepmother who risked her life to take Bertie to her sister’s family in the Eastern Netherlands. She was “hidden” in their home for almost two and a half years. During that time, Bertie was not allowed to move outside of the confines of the house and hid every time company came to visit.
Finally, in early April 1945, the town Bertie was living in was liberated by Canadian forces. After liberation, she returned to Amsterdam in the late spring and entered school for the first time as a fourth grader.
During the war, Bertie’s mother was sent to Westerbork (a transit camp in the eastern part of the Netherlands), and then to Vught and Theresienstadt concentration camps. Her mother survived the camps and also returned to Amsterdam in the summer of 1945.
Bertie’s father was hidden for several years in an attic room of a house in a city in the center part of the Netherlands. He was liberated by American Forces in September 1944. He was an attorney, spoke English very well, and thus served as a liaison between the American Army and the Dutch Government.
Bertie finished high school and college in Holland. In 1959, she and her husband immigrated to the United States. A year later, they moved to Seattle. Bertie has her own home-based business.
Bertie is an active member of the Holocaust Center's Speakers Bureau.
“Amsterdam” - United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Online Encyclopedia