Photo courtesy of the Holocaust Museum L.A. Facebook

Holocaust Museum L.A. Showcases Rare Items of Heroic WWII Spy

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A new virtual exhibit from the Holocaust Museum L.A. will feature items the public seldom gets to see, all from the collection of a Jewish man who escaped Nazi Germany, then became a spy for the United States. 

According to the Holocaust Museum L.A. (which recently changed its name from The Museum of the Holocaust), only a small percentage of its collection is on display at any given time, while the rest remains hidden away in its extensive archives. This virtual show will be an opportunity to see much more of the museum’s Bernd Stevens collection than is typical. Jordanna Gessler, VP of Education & Exhibits, and Christie Jovanovic, Collection Manager, will guide guests through the items.

Bernd Stevens, formerly Bernd Steinitz, left Germany in 1939 when he was just a teen. He enlisted in the U.S. Army, then transferred to the intelligence agency, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), where he served as a paratrooper and a spy. He was captured and escaped Nazis twice during the war. For his service, he received a Purple Heart and, in 2019 at age 98, an OSS Congressional Gold Medal. According to KQED, Stevens thanked his father in his acceptance speech, who was killed just a day after he helped his son flee Nazi Germany.

The Bernd Stevens collection includes items and documents from his childhood in Germany, his service during the war and his life after settling in California.

“Inside the (Acid-Free) Box: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Bernd Stevens Collection” is on Sept. 22 at 4 p.m. A minimum donation of $12 is requested. Other virtual tours of different collections are scheduled for Oct. 20 and Nov. 17. 

Los Angeleno