A Tribute to Arthur Bernklau
Executive Director / Founder
by Webmaster David Todeschini
We are exceedingly sad to
announce the passing of
Art Bernklau, Executive Director
Visitors who knew Art personally, or have had personal experience
with Art, are asked to send a letter of testimony of how he affected
your life, or helped you battle the powers-that-be. Email your
letter to Art's wife at
I am very sad to inform you that one of the
most effective and persistent Veterans Advocates - Mr. Arthur
Bernklau of Veterans For Constitutional Law
has passed away. A
Marine's Marine, Art spearheaded the passage of
which affects over 600,000 disabled and injured veterans who fight
the VA for their disability benefits. He is survived by his wife
Nina Gervais Bernklau, his two (grown) children Allen and Dina, and
three grandsons Cody, Jesse, and Wyatt.
I met Art in July 2004, when he appeared on
Radio Liberty with Doctor
Stan Monteith. I was the next guest on the program that day, and
although the nearest affiliate station was not in our listening area
in Long Island City where I was living at the time, I was able to
hear most of the broadcast over the phone as I was waiting to be
introduced as the next guest. I wrote his telephone number down and
called him the next day. Since both of us were involved in
corruption related to the Veteran's Administration, we had much in
common. I met Art in person a few weeks later, and from that point
forward, we became the best of friends.
Art was a dog lover, as am I. His two German shorthaired Pointers
named Starr and Belle, were the love of his life. He fed them
gourmet meals; things like shrimp, freshly-cut fruits and
vegetables, and even yoghurt. I once told Art
"Those dogs eat better than me!"
When I first saw the dogs, I asked him
"What kind of dogs are they?"
He called his dogs
"Foonics", and had me going crazy looking up this
(fictitious) breed on the search engines, using every variation of
the spelling I could think of. My two dogs Rocky and Ziggy (who are
no longer with me) came to visit Art and his "Foonics" a number of
Art was also a consummate artist. His oil paintings of wildlife are
truly remarkable. His unfulfilled dream and plans before he died was
to go to Italy to finish an art apprenticeship he started many years ago.
Art had a "Three Stooges" sense of humor. He used to regularly call
a friend of his at 3AM in the morning as "Bubba" from "cell block #3
in Attica", telling him that he was being considered for a starring
role in a new film titled
Art was a computerphobe; he (reluctantly) checked his email on the
average of once per week. Despite this, I was able to get enough
attention with the Web site to keep his phone busy. Hundreds, if not
thousands of veterans have called him and received the help and
needed. There is still much work to be done.
Over the 8 years that I knew him, we worked together on several
projects the most important of which was the passage of Senate Bill
§3421, and getting the information out to the veterans who
needed to know. The latter function seemed an insurmountable task to
accomplish by personal (snail-mail) correspondence and
word-of-mouth, so I donated the domain and hosting for this Web
site, added hundreds of pages of information, and promoted the site
with the major search engines. As a result of our efforts
efforts of others in the organization (Veterans For Constitutional
a major victory for injured and disabled veterans was won
with the passage of Senate Bill
Over the 30 years or so that Art has been a veteran's advocate, he
never drew a salary (VFCLL paid him a token $1.00 per year), and
indeed, Art contributed a major portion of his personal income to
keep the small organization functional. He felt that veterans
particularly injured or disabled veterans
had enough of a
financial burden laid upon them and had made a sufficient enough
sacrifice with their lives, their limbs, their health, and their
sanity to be required to pay "dues" to an advocacy organization.
"They already paid their
dues", he used to say, when I
suggested that the organization collect dues from its members. In
fact, I was the first member of VFCLL to pay "dues"
he take my $50.00 check for the cause. Art reluctantly accepted the
check, and had a copy of it framed for posterity.
Veterans For Constitutional Law is the only veteran's advocacy group
that is NOT subsidized (and thereby controlled) by the Veterans
Administration. We are simply a loose-knit organization of unpaid
volunteers; all of us veterans
who simply want to see our brothers
and sisters in arms be respected if not honored for their sacrifices
for this country. We want to end the abuse of our soldiers, and
punish the depraved indifference of the politicians and government
officials who exploit the patriotism of our young men and women in
order to commit war crimes, or for their own personal gain.
There are a few people in the Veteran's Administration who are
breathing sighs of relief, now that Art Bernklau has gone to his
just reward... however, these same people
who know who they are
don't realize that there are many more of us out here who Art has
passed the torch to, that have the capability to be much more of a
thorn in their side than Art Bernklau ever was; and indeed, we have
a moral obligation to our fellow veterans to do so.
Art was my best friend. He was dearly loved by those who knew him,
and hated by the bureaucrats in DC. Art fought the good fight and
won, and for 30 years, donated his time and a major portion of his
personal resources to the cause. Art was perhaps best known for his
prank of sending dog shit parcels to Senator Arlin Specter when he
was in charge of Veteran's Affairs, and lately to Nancy Pelosi. When
the contents were deemed to be "not aromatic enough", he added a few
drops of a substance called "Liquid Ass" to
"enhance the recipient's olfactory
experience". He had a method to his
"madness" defying them to have him arrested so that he could
appear in front of a jury and explain before a court, the REASONS
for his sending the "doo-doo" packages. It would be a fitting
tribute to the man who gave the best years of his life to help his
brothers-in-arms, if just 100 of us would emulate his prank just
once in his memory; there would be belly-laughs in heaven that day.
The next mission of the organization that Art and I discussed at
length before his passing, is the repeal of Judicial Immunity a victory that
would far surpass the passage of
and have crooked politicians scurrying for cover like cockroaches in
Arthur N. Bernklau 76 years old of Port Jefferson, New York,
passed away on March 8, 2012 at the Northport VA Hospital. He was
born in Brooklyn, New York in 1935 and resided most of his life on
Long Island. His mother was Marion Batterman and his father was Alan
Bernklau. He is survived by his wife Nina, his children Allen
Bernklau and Dina Kail, and three grandsons Cody, Jesse, and Wyatt.
Art was a marine veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars, and after
discharge from the service, he entered the ART Student League in New
York City and completed his studies of art with Harold Stevenson of
the Stevenson Art Academy in Seacliff, Long Island. Art was a gifted
realist artist in oil painting and was recognized as an accomplished
painter of the human figure as well as specializing in painting
dedicated the greater part of his life to serving the veterans of
this country, and founded Veterans for Constitutional Law which gave
veterans the assistance they needed to receive the benefits they
were entitled to. Art was so devoted to his cause, he was forced to
make many sacrifices which included giving up
his love of painting,
and surviving on his $1.00 a year salary as a veterans advocate. He
was known throughout the country as a guest speaker on many radio
shows, and kept the veterans informed of their rights and any
changes in the law that affected them.
Another great passion of Arts was his two German Shorthaired
Pointers Belle and Starr. Art insisted on preparing their gourmet
meals himself and got more joy out of seeing them eat their meals
rather than eating himself. Arts last request was to be buried with
the ashes of his beloved dogs.
Although his burial arrangements are
going to be private, donations can be made towards his cause to help
continue assisting veterans receive the benefits that they deserve.
Any questions, donations, or condolences can be sent to
In loving memory of a good friend I am Dave
I'll miss you, my
friend. Semper Fi!
I've known Art Bernklau since June or
July of 2004 - not a very long time by anyone's reckoning. I met him by
hearing him as a guest on Radio Liberty,
talking with Doctor Stan Monteith about Veteran's Disability
Compensation, and calling him after the program.
Art Bernklau was a former Marine (USMC),
and a veteran of the Korean War, and served multiple tours in Vietnam.
His battlefield is now at home, fighting for the rights of Veterans and
Active Duty Servicemen as an unpaid volunteer.
Art was been a Pit-Bull for Veterans and active
duty servicemen for well over a quarter of a century. This is the Web site for
the organization he founded, and has worked for as a full-time, unpaid volunteer
for all of that time; and in fact, he contributed a major portion of his
personal income for all of that time towards keeping the organization viable.
Some of his methods for getting the
attention of Washington Politicians were... shall we say, "unique".
If ever there was an example of dedication and
persistence in the face of overwhelming opposition, Art Bernklau was the epitome'
of that example. Due largely to his efforts, and the efforts of a few very
active members of this organization, a MAJOR VICTORY was won for Veterans and
Servicemen by the passing of
Senate Bill §3421.
This bill allows a serviceman or veteran to hire his or her own attorney, and
Sue the Veteran's Administration in Federal District Court at any point during
the farce of the VA claims process,
if their legitimate claim for benefits or disability compensation for
service-connected injury or illness is denied.
It is not every day that one has the honor of
meeting a man who, almost single-handedly, fought one of the biggest and most
corrupt and cumbersome agencies of the Federal Government and WON!! - But there
is still much work to be done, and I am honored to be a part of it. By
donating the time to do this Web site, I am playing a small but vital role in
securing the respect, honor, and the just compensation for their unselfish
sacrifice that our brave men and women render every day in the service of their
country. No, we do NOT support the war in the Middle East - In fact, we do NOT
support ANY war - but we DO support and defend
those Americans who are called to fight them.
A look at Art's office - which is in his home -
reveals mountains of paperwork, files, and equipment, and hundreds of audio
tapes of talk show programs that he duplicates one at a time, and labels
meticulously by hand
(with very small hand-printed cassette labels) which are sent out to members,
and anyone else who requests them.
Art has personally helped hundreds - if not
thousands of Veterans who had previously battled the Veteran's Administration
for years, and sometimes decades
- and sometimes until the
day they died; Veterans who had been represented by a number
of "Service Organizations" including VFW, DAV, and a host of others who had
failed to prevail in the complex and corrupt VA claims adjudication process.
These NVSOs do not prevail against the VA because they are funded by, and
affiliated with the VA - a conflict of interest if there ever was one.
Well, thanks to Art Bernklau and Veterans For
Constitutional Law, the conflict of interest and the negative effect it can have
on your legitimate service-connected injury, illness, or disability claim - for
those who know the law - has been rendered moot. The purpose of this Web site is
to educate Veterans and Active-Duty personnel on the LAW.
If you have a service-connected injury, illness,
or disability and are unsuccessfully fighting the VA for your benefits, read
this Web site - then get yourself a lawyer, and then and ONLY then, call
Veterans For Constitutional Law for a free consultation. We are here to help you, but you have to be
willing to help yourself.
I count Arthur Bernklau as one of the few best
friends I ever had... and those are exceedingly rare; believe me! I will miss
Art Bernklau (R)
and myself (L) working with Art's computer (2009)
Art Bernklau in his home office -
deep in thought, busy at work.
sent audio tapes of his radio programs to anyone who wanted them, or
for those who don't have computers and therefore wouldn't know what
to do with an .mp3
file. The tapes were duplicated from a master tape at double speed (I
call it "chipmunk mode") one at a time, and he labeled them by hand.
This takes took the patience of Job.
One of Art's great passions was his
love of genuine Italian food (chased down with a bottle or two of
or a few swigs of
Art and his two Spotted German
Short-Hair Pointers (aka "Foonics") were inseparable. Art
actually prepared gourmet meals including shrimp, yogurt, cut green
beans, chicken filets, et al. for his two companions, and I
once commented to him "Those dogs eat better than I do".
You can tell a lot
about a person by his or her love of animals.
My dog Rocky (A
Shepherd / Terrier mix, (R)) was an occasional visitor. This photo
was taken on the beach in the summer of 2009.