South San Francisco, CA May 30, 2019 Submitted by Robert Riechel, SB Patch (Originate with Congresswoman Speier’s Office)
San Mateo, CA – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14) will present a replica of the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to the men and women of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) to Bernd Stevens (born Bernd Steinitz,) 98, on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 10 a.m. at his residence in South San Francisco. Steinitz, then a Jewish teenager from Munich, escaped Nazi Germany in 1939 and returned four years later as Sergeant Steinitz in an American uniform. His service as a paratrooper conducting espionage behind enemy lines earned him multiple medals, including the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He was captured and escaped twice from the Nazis.
“Bernd Stevens personifies the courage and heroism that allowed the United States to defeat the Nazis and end World War II,” Speier said. “I can’t think of a more deserving group of people to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. It will be my distinct honor to thank Mr. Stevens for his history changing contributions in person. He truly is one of the few remaining men of the Greatest Generation.”
“We’re very grateful to Representative Speier for presenting the OSS Congressional Gold Medal to Bernd Stevens,” said OSS Society President Charles Pinck. “OSS founder General William Donovan said its personnel performed ‘some of the bravest acts of the war.’ That’s a perfect description of Mr. Steven’s service.”
The OSS was the United States’ first spy agency and a predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM.) In 1944, OSS employed as many as 13,000 men and women. Today, fewer than 100 are still alive.
Last year, the U.S. Congress bestowed the Congressional Gold Medal, its highest civilian honor, on the OSS men and women who served in World War II and had previously not been recognized for their service.
Presentation of Congressional Gold Medal
Thursday, May 30, 2019
Damenik’s Home – Assisted Living Facility
851 Baden Avenue
South San Francisco, CA 94080