Berit Berg von Linde was a central figure in the Svenska Lottakåren (Swedish Women’s Voluntary Defence Service). She served as secretary-general of the association for almost 25 years.
Berit Berg von Linde was born in 1900 and was the second child in the von Heijnes family, an estate-owning family in Småland. Her father, like his father before him, owned Lillienäs Fideikomiss (an entailed estate, also known as Lilla Lillienbergska fideikommisset) in Torskinge parish, where Berit spent her childhood years. She attended the Högre konstindustriella skolan in Stockholm (later known as the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design) and graduated in 1921. The same year she became engaged to the lawyer Bertil Berg von Linde, whom she later married. The couple had two sons, Otto and Wilhelm.
Toward the end of the 1920s Berit Berg von Linde returned to Småland, where she leased a poultry farm with adjoining housing in the vicinity of Tenhult manor. In the spring of 1930 significant parts of the poultry farm were destroyed by fire. Berit Berg von Linde lost not only nearly 500 hens and chickens, but also much of her personal property. Nevertheless, she continued her poultry business for a few more years and was also active in the Swedish poultry club, including a stint as one of the few female show judges. Afterwards, she spent a few years running her own business in tabletop decorations.
During the years leading up to the Second World War, Berit Berg von Linde, along with tens of thousands of other women, joined the “lotta” movement. Amongst other things, she held typewriting classes for civilians called up for emergency service and worked as the secretary for the national office of the Swedish Landstormskvinnor (the precursor to the Svenska Lottakåren). By the end of 1942 the Landstormskvinnor seceded from the “landstorm” movement and became an independent organisation named Riksförbundet Sveriges Lottakårer (the Swedish Women’s Voluntary Defence Corps or “lotta” corps). The then 43-year-old Berit Berg von Linde was appointed as the organisation’s first secretary-general. She remained in post for 24 years.
As secretary-general of the “lotta” corps, Berit Berg von Linde was responsible for running the national office of the organisation, located in the van der Noot palace in Södermalm, Stockholm. She worked closely with the four different “lotta” chiefs who succeeded one another during her period as secretary-general: Maja Schmidt, Märta Stenbäck, Ingrid Norland and Louise Ulfhielm. Further to her managerial responsibilities at the national office, Berit Berg von Linde also gave many talks and held courses within the organisation, for example on techniques for running associations and meetings as well as public speaking. Over time she started lecturing on these themes even outside the organisation and was sought out as a judge in public speaking competitions.
Berit Berg von Linde was also active in the temperance movement and was one of the well-known women of her era whose work in support of abstinence was noted in the journal Våra umgängesformer, published by the Kvinnoföreningarnas samarbetskommitté för nykterhetsfrågor (the Womens’ Joint Committee on Temperance Matters) in 1948 and 1949.
Berit Berg von Linde was rewarded for her efforts within the “lotta” movement in 1958 when she received the national organisation’s highest commendation. Her contribution was also noted outside the organisation. In 1960 she became a member of the Order of Vasa and some years later she was awarded the Kungl. Patriotiska Sällskapet’s major gold medal. Upon her retirement from the post of secretary-general in 1967, she was made an honorary member of the “lotta” movement.
Berit Berg von Linde died at the age of 78 in 1978.