In Memory Of
Michael Stuart Bernstein
United States of America / Seat 47D
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Michael Stuart Bernstein
Deparment of Justice Attorney
July 03, 1952 - December 21, 1988 (Age: 36)

Michael Stuart Bernstein, a U.S. Justice Department attorney from Bethesda, Maryland, was returning from Vienna. Austria, where he was representing the Department in negotiations with the Austrian government on deporting Nazi war criminals from the United States to Austria. Mr. Bernstein had the mission of finding and prosecuting Nazi war criminals who succeeded in entering the United States after World War II without having their wartime activities disclosed. So impeccable was his preparation of these investigations that he had a reputation for eliciting confessions from suspects without ever having to go to trial. Although he was personally responsible for the Office of Special Investigation's deportation of seven out of 24 former Nazis, he never touted his success. He loathed pretense and pomposity among lawyers. Known for his unpretentious manner, Michael was a persistent investigator, skillful negotiator, gentlemanly coworker, and a thoroughly compassionate human being.

Michael was a native of New York and graduated from the University of Michigan "with distinction" in 1973. He earned an M.A. in American History from Johns Hopkins University in 1975 and a J.D. degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1979. He was an associate editor of the law review at Chicago. From 1979 to 1985 he was an associate with Covington and Burling, a Washington. DC, law firm. He joined the Office of Special Investigations as a trial attorney in 1985 and was appointed assistant deputy director of the unit early in 1988.

Michael loved to read the works of 20th century philosophers and traveled for a month around India and Nepal, learning about Hinduism and Buddhism. He possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of rock music as well. But his "secret vice" was a passion for his college football team, the University of Michigan Wolverines.

In all he did Michael adhered to his belief in what is referred to in Hebrew as tikkun olam—both the perfectibility of the world and the moral imperative of working toward the goal.

Michael leaves his wife, Stephanie; a daughter, Sara; and a son, Joseph; as well as his mother, Janet. He was especially inspired by his father's courageous battle over many years against a debilitating illness, and by his mother's selfless devotion to her husband. His father died in the summer of 1988.

Michael got his strength as well from the loving family that he and Stephanie had created. Stephanie, his college sweetheart, was his love and confidante. Each shared fully in the satisfaction of the other's professional accomplishments and together they lavished love and attention on their two beautiful children. A supremely devoted father, he was provider, protector, teacher, and playmate all wrapped into one.

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