Saturday, 25 February 2017 16:44

Was Oswald a Serial Wife Batterer?

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We re-present here the author's systematic analysis of the testimony taken by the Warren Commission from nineteen witnesses on the subject. With his usual acuteness, he managed to perform a tour de force of separating the wheat from the chaff on the issue.


dunne leaderOne of the main difficulties that the Warren Commission had in portraying Lee Harvey Oswald as the dual killer of President Kennedy and police officer J. D. Tippit was that, up until then, Oswald did not show any record of past violent acts. Therefore the Commission set to work to fill that lacuna. One obvious way they did so was by accusing him in the unsolved case of the April 10, 1963 shooting of General Edwin Walker. That was a case in which, during a time period of over seven months, Oswald had never even been considered a suspect. Author Gerald McKnight, in his fine book Breach of Trust, demonstrates that the indictment made against Oswald by the Warren Commission was genuinely dubious. (See pp. 48-59) Which explains why he was not a suspect in the shooting prior to November 22, 1963. The accusation rests largely on the questionable testimony of Marina Oswald.

Another way in which this was done was through the accusation that Oswald was a chronic wife beater. This was achieved almost exclusively through the testimony of the members of the White Russian community in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Upon their return from the Soviet Union, the Oswalds were introduced into this enclave by Russian translator Peter Gregory and the enigmatic George DeMohrenschildt. DeMohrenschildt and his family came from Russia and he was an active member of this community. He had also been in contact with the local Dallas CIA chief J. Walton Moore since at least 1957. The closeness of his relationship with DeMohrenschildt was a fact that Moore tried to cover up. (James DiEugenio, Destiny Betrayed, Second Edition, p. 153)   As the late Philip Melanson has written, many of the White Russians had been aided in their entry into the USA by the Tolstoy Foundation, an anti-communist lobby that received yearly stipends from the CIA. The Oswald biographer then added, “The Russian Orthodox Church, a centerpiece of the very conservative and religious White Russian community, also received Agency philanthropy.” (Spy Saga, p. 79)  One of the enduring contradictions about the allegedly communist Oswald is that upon his return from Russia in June of 1962 he associated so strongly with two distinctly anti-Communist groups: the anti-Castro Cubans in New Orleans and the White Russians in Dallas. The former wished to overthrow Fidel Castro and the latter wanted to overthrow the Communist dictatorship in the USSR.

As noted, it was through the latter that the Warren Commission depicted the Oswald who showed violent tendencies toward his wife Marina. (Warren Report, p. 417) And many Warren Commission supporters have used this characterization to convict Oswald as a serial spouse abuser. And also to portray this White Russian community as a collection of avuncular guardians who tried to protect and shelter Marina from her brutal husband.

Robert Charles-Dunne was a longtime poster at John Simkin’s Spartacus Educational web site, which has a JFK Assassination Debate forum. In May of 2013 he decided to go ahead and do a systematic analysis of this issue. He examined the testimony of 19 witnesses on the subject. With his usual acuteness, he managed to perform a tour de force of separating the wheat from the chaff on the issue. When the subject came up again recently, Tom Scully salvaged his post on the Wayback Machine. We present it here for the edification of our readers.

~ Jim DiEugenio


First, let’s clear the decks of the obvious padding.

Mahlon Tobias and his wife have already been dispatched to the remainder bin, as they both testified they personally neither saw nor heard anything except complaints from other tenants of their building. That leaves 18.


Ilya Mamantov (IX: 107)

 

Mr. Jenner.

Have you ever seen Marina Oswald in your life prior to that moment (in the DPD HQ on November 22)? Knowingly?

Mr. Mamantov.

No; sir.

Mr. Jenner.

Had you ever met her prior to that time?

Mr. Mamantov.

No, sir; I met her after that, accidentally.

Mr. Jenner.

No; this is prior--up to that moment, you had had no contact, no acquaintance whatsoever with her?

Mr. Mamantov.

That's correct.

 

Needless to say, people who had never met either of the Oswalds are hardly in a position to testify to anything about them, no matter how many times Paul Trejo pads his list with their names. Now we’re down to 17.


Igor Vladimir Voshinin (VIII: 466)

 

Mr. Jenner.

Did you ever meet either Lee or Marina Oswald?

Mr. Voshinin.

No, sir; thank God!

 

Thank you, Igor. We are down to 16.


John Ray Hall (VIII: 412)

 

Mr. Liebeler.

During that period of time that you knew Oswald, did you become aware of the fact that he and Marina were having difficulties with their marriage?

Mr. Hall.

We heard that she was living with someone else at one time, I don't know who. My wife can probably tell you. And we also heard that he beat her up one time.

Mr. Liebeler.

Did you ever see any indication that be had beaten her up?

Mr. Hall.

I didn't; no.

Mr. Liebeler.

Was it your impression that the Oswalds were having marital difficulties at the time Marina lived in your house or in Mrs. Hall's house in Fort Worth?

Mr. Hall.

No.

Mr. Liebeler.

The only reason that Marina lived there at that time was because Oswald didn't have an apartment in Dallas, is that correct?

Mr. Hall.

To give him a chance to get settled; yes.

 

One notes Hall’s observation: “And we also heard that he beat her up one time.” We’ll stipulate that John Hall was a lesser witness, as he had less interaction with the Oswalds. Nonetheless, we are now down to 15.


Mrs. Igor Vladimir Voshinin (VIII: 444)

 

Mr. Jenner.

Now, if you can remember any more, I wish you would tell us about De Mohrenschildt's comments with respect to the Oswalds and the impressions that you gained of the Oswalds---as to how they got along whether he treated her well or poorly?

Mrs. Voshinin.

Oswalds---his wife?

Mr. Jenner.

Yes.

Mrs. Voshinin.

Treated very poorly. Because De Mohrenschildt told us that he was beating her. Then, she ran away from him and De Mohrenschildt tried to help her, you know, to settle down and to separate somehow, but then, they reconciliated (sic). And after the reconciliation, Jeanne mentioned twice that Marina had blue eyes--was beaten again, you know.

Mr. Jenner.

Black and blue eyes?

Mrs. Voshinin.

Yes.

 

No doubt Mrs. Voshinin repeated accurately what she had been told. But she saw nothing with her own two eyes and could offer only hearsay testimony. Now we’re down to 14.


Max E. Clark Vol. (VIII: 345-46)

 

Mr. Liebeler.

Did your wife have the impression that there had been marital difficulties between the Oswalds at that time?

Mr. Clark.

Yes.

Mr. Liebeler.

Can you tell us any specific reasons why your wife thought that?

Mr. Clark.

None other than the conversations and the fact that Marina, seemed quite happy with him gone, more than the fact that she did not seem to miss him and the fact that he wasn't there.

 

Mr. Clark saw nothing, nor could he cite his wife having seen anything, regarding battery of Marina Oswald. His testimony contained the fact that he had heard about such an incident, but knew nothing of it first-hand, or even second hand from his wife. Mr. Clark is now excused, and we’re down to 13.


Gary E. Taylor (IX: 82-86)

 

Mr. Jenner.

It was, therefore, your impression, I take it, that your invitation was not tendered because of any difficulties between Marina and Lee, but rather to afford her a place to live temporarily until Lee became established elsewhere?

Mr. Taylor.

That's right. In Dallas.

Mr. Jenner.

I mean, my statement is a fair statement of the then atmosphere?

Mr. Taylor.

Yes; I, at that time, was not aware that there was any marital disharmony.

............................

Mr. Jenner.

All right. Tell us about that.

Mr. Taylor.

As I remember it, shortly after they moved, Mrs. De Mohrenschildt----

Mr. Jenner.

They moved where? Into your home or from your home?

Mr. Taylor.

Moved into their apartment here in Dallas--the first apartment they had, on Elsbeth.

Mrs. De Mohrenschildt came by and told us that she had seen Marina and that she had a black eye, I believe, and was crying and said that she and Lee had had a fight over the lessons and they had been taken from her, and----

Mr. Jenner.

Lee had struck her?

Mr. Taylor.

Yes; that Lee had struck her.

Mr. Jenner.

She said that to you?

Mr. Taylor.

Yes; this is Mrs. De Mohrenschildt now. This is not Marina that said that.

 

Again, Mr. Taylor was unaware of “any marital disharmony” when Marina lived in his home, but later heard about Lee abusing Marina from his stepmother-in-law. Second-hand hearsay testimony is inadmissable. We’re now down to an even dozen.


Mrs. Helen Leslie (IX: 163)

 

Mr. Jenner.

How did these people, Lee Oswald and Marina Oswald act toward each other on the occasion when you saw them?

Mrs. Leslie.

I will tell you something--I don't know if Bouhe told you or others too. When she was out at a place--she had a black eye and she has her tooth out, one tooth was out, so a second, man it was raised a question how she had this black eye and so on, and she said, "Oh, I hit the kitchen door. The baby was crying and I didn't want to make a light, the door was open and I hit it--the kitchen door."

And then, later, I heard from Mrs. Meller that he beat her, he was beating her, that he was always beating her and everybody was sympathetic with her. Frankly now, it is understandable. She was Russian, you know, it is some kind of a feeling of a Russian toward a Russian and they were mad at him and how he could beat his wife this is not proper--to beat his wife.

Mr. Jenner.

Well, now, we don't approve of that in America.

Mrs. Leslie.

No. All I say now is what other people like Mellers and like Fords told me that once he beat her so hard and threw her out in the street, so she took her baby as a result in just a little blanket--she didn't know where to go and she came to Mellers and she said, "I don't know where to go," that she wasn't talking good English and he wanted to talk Russian at home, so she didn't know what to do and the Mellers are very nice people, so they took her in their house and she stayed there a few days until they found a place for her. I don't remember, but they said "Oh, the awful things," and they took her--I think, you know, that she was staying with them.

I didn't know she was staying with Fords. I didn't know when, because I lost trace of her and so that's all I know about Oswalds. Actually, I didn't see her until when she was on television.

 

“...she had a black eye and she has her tooth out.” Marina seems to have given an explanation for her black eye—whether true or not—but it is troubling when a man beats a woman so hard she loses a tooth.

Only, the missing tooth wasn’t the result of marital discord, but provides a sterling example of how groundless gossip gets amplified with each re-telling and morphs into something else entirely Here is what happened to that tooth, courtesy of the former Mrs. Gary Taylor, with whom Marina briefly stayed:


Mrs. Donald Gibson (XI: 126-131)

 

Mr. Jenner.

You said that Marina was to receive some dental care?

Mrs. Gibson.

That is right.

Mr. Jenner.

Did she remain in the apartment all day after she arrived?

Mrs. Gibson.

After she came back from the dentist, she stayed there, I think she had a tooth, one or two pulled, and she stayed there that afternoon, after she came back from the dentist.

 

Mrs. Leslie saw nothing with her own eyes and repeated gossip heard from the Fords and Mrs. Meller, part of which was demonstrably untrue. It will prove interesting when we get to their own testimony. In the meantime, Mrs. Leslie is excused and we’re down to eleven remaining witnesses. Let’s get right to Mr. Ford:


Declan P. Ford (II: 325)

 

Mr. Liebeler.

Did Mrs. Oswald have any bruises on her at that time?

Mr. Ford.

Yes, she did. On her face.

Mr. Liebeler.

On her face. Was there any conversation about that?

Mr. Ford.

Not directly with me. My wife told me that Mrs. Oswald told her it was due to some accident of running into a door at nighttime while she was getting up to see what--the baby crying, something like that.

 

Thank you, Declan. You’ve reduced the number of witnesses to 10. Let’s hear from your wife, Mrs. Ford:


Katya Ford (II: 299-300)

 

Mr. Liebeler.

Tell us what Marina told you while she was staying there about her relations with Lee Oswald and particularly as to why she separated from him and what the difficulties were in their marriage?

Mrs. Ford.

I think mostly it was a mistreatment by him that she couldn't stand any longer, she was saying.

Mr. Liebeler.

Mistreatment by him?

Mrs. Ford.

Mistreatment by him; yes. That is what she was saying.

Mr. Liebeler.

Did she tell you any more specifically than that what the problem was?

Mrs. Ford.

No; she didn't really. She did not elaborate. She did not go into explanations of their living together.

Mr. Liebeler.

Did she mention that Lee Oswald was jealous of the Russian friends that Marina had?

Mrs. Ford.

Yes; she did. She told me that, that he was.

Mr. Liebeler.

Did they argue about that?

Mrs. Ford.

Well, I didn't know if they were arguing about that. I know she said that he was very jealous of them helping Marina and jealous for the reason that he wasn't able to provide her at the time with any of the things that they were giving Marina, clothes, and baby clothes, and I think that he was--it was making him rather mad because he said he was unable to buy the things for her at the time, and I know that he was not accepting things people were giving him. He was telling her not to take them but she was taking them because she needed them. I suppose they were arguing about that but I don't remember the particulars.

Mr. Liebeler.

Did you form an impression at the time that Marina lived with you for that week as to what the cause of their difficulties might be?

Mrs. Ford.

She mentioned one time that soon after marriage he told her he didn't love her any more in any way. So I don't know what is the difficulty, I don't know if that is what she mentioned. She did not explain and didn't go into explanations of this.

Mr. Libeler.

Do you think, did you form an opinion as to whether this separation and the difficulties they were having was primarily the result of Oswald's behavior or did you think Marina might have been partially responsible for it, what did you think?

Mrs. Ford.

My own opinion was that Marina was responsible for it. I think Marina was and I think now she is a rather immature girl.

The Chairman.

She is what?

Mrs. Ford.

I think she is rather immature in thinking.

The Chairman.

Oh, yes.

Mrs. Ford.

And a lot of times she agreed herself about provoking him in a way by arguing about his mother or things of some sort.

 

Mrs. Ford could not elaborate on the problems in the Oswald’s marriage, despite Marina living with her, and despite the fact that others claimed Mrs. Ford had told them about Marina being beaten. Since that seems to have come from gossip, rather than her own first-hand experience, or even what she might have been told by Marina, we are once again dealing with hearsay. We have nine witnesses remaining, and Mrs. Meller should go next, given that she was also among those who told Mrs. Leslie and others about the beatings:


Anna Meller (VIII: 390-91)

 

Mr. Liebeler.

Did you ever form an opinion as to who was responsible for these marital difficulties the Oswalds were having? Did you think it was mostly Lee Harvey's fault or did you think it was partly her fault, or what?

Mrs. Meller.

It was not easy to judge but I think since we do not know them very close and very long, let's say this way but it seems to me again that Lee Oswald was not normal because later I heard from somebody that he beat Marina and he did one time, I think even Marina told to me that when they moved in apartment the bulb is burned through and she has to put new lamp in it. He demanded when the master is home the bathtub supposed to be full with water so he can take bath before he sit down to eat and one time he come home and it was dark and she has to put lamp in the room, she did not have time to put water in the tub and he find tub was without water and he beat her.

Mr. Liebeler.

Marina told you that?

Mrs. Meller.

I think she told me that or somebody from our group; I do not recall who, but I remember that and I was shocked. I thought that something must be wrong with man if he is every time running to beat her.

 

Yes, there is something wrong with a man who beats his wife all the time. There’s also something wrong with a witness who contends such a thing without having seen it, or even being able to remember who told her, second or third hand. Please re-read Mrs. Meller’s shocking testimony and see if you can definitively identify where she learned this. We’re down to eight witnesses. Hopefully, we’ll soon encounter somebody who actually saw something.


Valentina Ray (VIII: 417)

 

Mr. Liebeler.

Did you talk to Mrs. Ford about the reasons for the Oswalds marital difficulties?

Mrs. Ray.

I asked her what was matter and she said he was mean to her; he beat her up and she left him because of that. I felt terrible sorry for her because Mrs. Ford described to me she could not speak English and didn't know anybody there. That's the only reason given to me that he struck her or beat her up.

Mr. Liebeler.

Mrs. Ford didn't go into any greater detail as to what reason for beating her up?

Mrs. Ray.

No, no; when Marina came to my house I hated to butt in since she was only with me 1 day and 2 days and didn't spend night. I don't like to question somebody right away what is trouble, why did you leave--I am not that nosey.

 

Interesting. In her own testimony, Mrs. Ford claimed that Marina hadn’t disclosed the nature of the difficulties between her and her husband, but here’s Mrs. Ray—among others listed and yet to come—who claim that Mrs. Ford was the source of gossip about her being beaten. Mrs. Ray chose not to make inquiries when Marina stayed with her, so didn’t even have second-hand information. Thank you, Valentina, you may now step down so we can hear from the remaining seven witnesses.


Elena Hall (VIII: 395-396)

 

Mr. Liebeler.

About the time that Marina lived in your house, did you understand that the Oswalds were having any marital difficulties?

Mrs. Hall.

Well, I think she was stubborn, and he was just cruel to her, and they would argue for nothing, just nothing. And he would beat her all the time.

Mr. Liebeler.

Beat her?

Mrs. Hall.

Oh, yes. In fact, first time when she came to my house with George Bouhe, she had black and blue over half of her face and I didn't ask at that time, but after she moved in my house, I said, Marina, what was on your face? And she told me that he beat her.

Mr. Liebeler.

The first time that Marina came to your house, can you remember exactly when that was?

Mrs. Hall.

In July. Sometime in July.

Mr. Liebeler.

And you noticed even in July that she had been bruised, is that correct?

Mrs. Hall.

Yes.

Mr. Liebeler.

But it wasn't until October or November----

Mrs. Hall.

October when she moved.

Mr. Liebeler.

That you learned that she had gotten those bruises as a result of her husband beating her, is that right?

Mrs. Hall.

Yes.

Mr. Liebeler.

At the time in October that Marina lived in your house, did she discuss with you her marital relations with Oswald?

Mrs. Hall.

Yes. Well, she is, I think she is very nice girl. And I told her, "Marina, you are in such a difficult financial situation, you'd better not have children for quite a while, and when you have a better financial situation, you can have them." And she said, "Well, I don't know."

And I told her, "If you want to, I have a lady doctor, Dr. Taylor. If you want me, I will take you there. She will give you some things." And she said, "No; I don't think so."

She said, "Our married life is so strange that I don't think I ever will have any children any more," because he was very cold to her.

Mr. Liebeler.

Did Marina indicate at that time that she and Oswald did not have normal sexual relations.

Mrs. Hall.

Very seldom. The thing that she told me, "Very seldom."

Mr. Liebeler.

Tell me everything that you can remember about that subject that Marina told you.

Mrs. Hall.

That was the only thing that was worrying me, her to not have children, because they are in such bad shape, and that is the only thing she told me.

And I said, "If you think you want any more." So it is none of my business, you know.

Mr. Liebeler.

Is that all that Marina said about that subject?

Mrs. Hall.

We didn't talk any more, because it was my suggestion to her to not have children, and she told me that, and that was all.

Mr. Liebeler.

Did she ever tell you that Oswald would--was not very much of a man in that sense?

Mrs. Hall.

Yes. That is what she told me.

Mr. Liebeler.

They very seldom had sexual relations?

Mrs. Hall.

Yes, sir.

Mr. Liebeler.

Did you ever discuss that question with her any other time?

Mrs. Hall.

No.

Mr. Liebeler.

Did you form an impression as to how Lee and Marina were getting along with each other at the time that Marina lived in your house, other than what we have already talked about?

Mrs. Hall.

No. Couple of times I told her, "Why do you argue with him about little things," and she said, "Oh, because he is not a man." That is what she told me. For instance, I like hot peppers and he didn't like it. Well, is nothing wrong with a man who doesn't like peppers. John doesn't like it at all. And at the table they were eating, and I ate the peppers, and he wouldn't touch, and she said, "He is afraid of everything, hot peppers."

And he said, he don't like it, and they had argument about that. And after he left I said, Marina, you shouldn't do that because, well, some people like them and some don't."

Well, things like that, she would start with him and they had an argument. Probably if I wouldn't be there, they would have a fight or something.

Mr. Liebeler.

Did you ever have the feeling that Marina was a good wife to Oswald, or did you have the feeling that she was not particularly a good wife?

Mrs. Hall.

Well, she is a little bit lazy one, and she can sleep 48 hours a day. That is the only thing. And maybe they had trouble because of this and little things, like I said about the peppers and so on.

Mr. Liebeler.

Did you ever see or hear of Marina making fun of Oswald in front of other people?

Mrs. Hall.

Who?

Mr. Liebeler.

Marina making fun of Lee?

Mrs. Hall.

Oh, yes; she would do it.

Mr. Liebeler.

Can you think of any specific examples?

Mrs. Hall.

She always was complaining about him. He was not a man. He is afraid. I don't know, not complete, I guess, or something like that. Not complete man.

Mr. Liebeler.

This may not seem to be too important, but we are not just curious, it might have a bearing on the Commission's determination of what kind of man Oswald was and what kind of person he was.

Did Marina make fun of Oswald's sexual inability in front of other people, or was it a more general thing?

Mrs. Hall.

Generally. I never heard sexual nothing; no. Only when I asked her about this, she told me. And that was, we don't talk any more about this. I didn't hear it. Maybe somebody else did. I didn't.

Mr. Liebeler.

You had the feeling, I gather from what you said, that if there were difficulties in the Oswald marriage, they were not entirely Lee Oswald's fault? It also would be some of the fault of Marina?

Mrs. Hall.

Yes.

Mr. Liebeler.

What is your opinion?

Mrs. Hall.

I think that she is stubborn, real stubborn, and she would pick up something little and go on and have an argument for nothing.

 

So, Mrs. Hall noticed half of Marina’s face was bruised, but didn’t initially ask why, when Marina first visited with George Bouhe. Perhaps it’s because an explanation had already been proffered. George Bouhe, one of the remaining six witnesses, may provide us assistance:


George A. Bouhe (VIII: 364-365)

 

Mr. Liebeler.

During the period in October and November of 1962, when, as I recall it, Marina and Lee Oswald were having a certain amount of marital trouble or difficulties, did you say that you gained Marina's confidence about those matters?

Mr. Bouhe.

Not I.

Mr. Liebeler.

She didn't tell you about her marital difficulties with Oswald?

Mr. Bouhe.

No; she talked to other people who told me.

Mr. Liebeler.

Who were these other women?

Mr. Bouhe.

Well, certainly to Anna Meller.

Mr. Liebeler.

Mrs. Ford?

Mr. Bouhe.

Mrs. Ford, undoubtedly.

Mr. Liebeler.

Do you think she confided in Anna Ray to any extent?

Mr. Bouhe.

Could have, although I was not present, but they had long sessions together, just girls.

Mr. Liebeler.

You spoke about these parties with Mrs. Ford and Anna Meller and Anna Ray.

Mr. Bouhe.

Well, the only time I have been bringing that up is when I saw or heard that she had a black eye.

Mr. Liebeler.

When did you see that?

Mr. Bouhe.

I would say within the first 2 weeks of September. One Saturday several of us arrived at their house.

Mr. Liebeler.

At Oswald's house?

Mr. Bouhe.

Yes.

Mr. Liebeler.

Where was that house located at that time?

Mr. Bouhe.

On Mercedes Street.

Mr. Liebeler.

In Fort Worth?

Mr. Bouhe.

Yes; and she had a black eye. And not thinking about anything unfortunate, I said: "Well, did you run into a bathroom door?" Marina said, "Oh, no, he hit me."

Mr. Liebeler.

Was Oswald there at that time?

Mr. Bouhe.

No.

 

Perhaps sensing that he was peddling gossip, about which he only knew what he’d been told by “Mrs. Ford and Anna Meller and Anna Ray,” he stated “the only time I have been bringing that up is when I saw or heard that she had a black eye.”

Which was it? Did he see it? Hear about it? Both? Neither? Same instance or different ones?

The allusion to “running into the bathroom door” in Bouhe’s testimony closely parallels Marina’s own explanation “Oh, I hit the kitchen door,” given to Leslie and others. Are several instances being telescoped into a single one, or is a single instance being extrapolated into more?

In any event, neither Hall nor Bouhe seemed overly disturbed in their testimony; Hall so little that she didn’t inquire what had happened to Marina, and in Bouhe’s account so little that he treated it as a joke and did not think it “anything unfortunate.” Certainly nobody called the police. Or suggested that Marina should do so.

Neither having witnessed anything first-hand, we are down to our final five witnesses. Before we get to two of them, here is what Igor Vladimir Voshinin—previously cited, who had met neither Oswald—says about them:


(Igor Vladimir Voshinin)

 

Mr. Jenner.

You had the impression, did you not--or did you--that the De Mohrenschildts saw the Oswalds frequently and were attempting to assist them?

Mr. Voshinin.

Yes; he was--only one time he was very bitter about Oswald when he beat up his wife.

Mr. Jenner.

Tell us about that.

Mr. Voshinin.

Well, once we saw De Mohrenschildt and his wife and he said, "Well, he doesn't behave like he should. What does he think he is, beating his wife?" But Mrs. De Mohrenschildt said, "Well, don't just judge people without knowing what's behind them." She said, "You always, George, you jump to conclusions. We don't know what happened."

I understand that she liked Lee much more than he did.

Mr. Jenner.

That Mrs. De Mohrenschildt liked Lee much more than George did?

Mr. Voshinin.

Yes.

 

Two counter-intuitive things shine through: Mrs. DeMohrenschildt told her husband he didn’t know what had actually happened, and that she was thought to favor Lee over Marina. Do either of these seem congruent with how a woman regards a known wife-beater? Hereafter, the relevant parts of the testimony:


George S. De Mohrenschildt (IX: 231ff.)

 

Mr. DE MOHRENSCHILDT.

Well, George Bouhe, started telling me that "George, Lee is beating Marina. I saw her with a black eye and she was crying, and she tried to run away from the house. It is outrageous."

And he was really appalled by the fact that it actually happened. And Jeanne and I said, let's go and see what is going on George Bouhe gave me their address, as far as I remember, there in Oak Cliff, because, I didn't move them---it was my daughter who moved them, I think.

So we drove up there to that apartment, which was on the ground floor, and indeed Marina had a black eye. And so either my wife or I told Lee, "Listen, you cannot do things like this."

Mr. Jenner.

Was he home at this time?

Mr. DE MOHRENSCHILDT.

I think he was. Or maybe he wasn't. I just am not so sure. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn't. But anyway, he appeared a little later.

Mr. Jenner.

While you were still there, he appeared?

Mr. DE MOHRENSCHILDT.

Yes.

Mr. Jenner.

And when you entered that apartment on the first floor, you observed that she had a black eye?

Mr. DE MOHRENSCHILDT.

A black eye, and scratched face, and so on and so forth.

Mr. Jenner.

Did you inquire about it?

Mr. DE MOHRENSCHILDT.

Yes.

Mr. Jenner.

What did she say?

Mr. DE MOHRENSCHILDT.

She said, "He has been beating me." As if it was normal--not particularly appalled by this fact, but "He has been beating me", but she said "I fight him back also."

So I said, "You cannot stand for that. You shouldn't let him beat you."

And she said, "Well, I guess I should get away from him."

Now, I do not recall what actually made me take her away from Lee.

Mr. Jenner.

Now, Mr. De Mohrenschildt. there has to be something.

Mr. DE MOHRENSCHILDT.

Yes, I know.

I do not recall whether she called us in and asked us to take her away from him or George Bouhe suggested it. I just don't recall how it happened. But it was because of his brutality to her. Possibly we had then in the house and discussed it, and I told him he should not do things like that, and he said, "It is my business"--that is one of the few times that he was a little bit uppity with me.

And then again George Bouhe told me that he had beaten her again. This is a little bit vague in my memory, what exactly prompted me to do that. My wife probably maybe has a better recollection.

 

Mr. DeMohrenschildt seems to recall very little with absolute certainty—down to conversations with Oswald that might not have happened because he might not have been there. He remembered taking Marina “away from Lee,” but not the reason why. Again, he had seen nothing with his own eyes, and knew only what he’d been told by George Bouhe, and even about that he was less than certain. He defers to his wife, one of four remaining names.


Jeanne De Mohrenschildt (IX: 309)

 

Mrs. DE MOHRENSCHILDT.

Well, you see, he mistreated his wife physically. We saw her with a black eye once.

Mr. Jenner.

And did you talk to him and to her about it?

Mrs. DE MOHRENSCHILDT.

Yes; we did. I called him just like our own kids, and set them down, and I said, "Listen, you have to grow up, you cannot live like that. This is not a country that permits such things to happen. If you love each other, behave. If you cannot live with each other peacefully, without all this awful behavior, you should separate, and see, maybe you really don't love each other."

Marina was, of course, afraid she will be left all alone, if she separate from Oswald--what is she going to do? She doesn't know the language, she had nobody to turn to. I understand they didn't get along with Oswald's family.

Mr. Jenner.

Now, this is what you learned in talking with them?

Mrs. DE MOHRENSCHILDT.

Yes, yes; through them actually, by facing them.

Mr. Jenner.

I want you to identify your sources of information.

Mrs. DE MOHRENSCHILDT.

Yes, yes.

Mr. Jenner.

You learned through Marina and Oswald, also, that they didn't get along well with their----

Mrs. DE MOHRENSCHILDT.

I cannot say through them, because maybe people talked about it, you know. She couldn't live in her sister-in-law's home, they didn't get along. And I understand that later on somebody mentioned that the reason was that she was just too lazy. She slept in the morning.

 

Mrs. DeMohrenschildt speaks of what seems to be a single occasion, and it was the cause for her and her husband to separate Marina and Lee. An occasion on which Marina said either that it was a nighttime accident, or that she'd been beaten, depending on which version one credits as correct.

The DeMohrenschildts each seemed eager to see Lee and Marina separate, first arranging for Marina to stay with a daughter, then various other friends in the White Russian community. It was through George DeMohrenschildt that the Oswalds met Ruth Paine, who would aid the continued separation of Oswald and wife.

The DeMohrenschildts played upon the sympathies and generosity of the White Russian community in Dallas in Marina’s name and to her benefit. In the period that she guestroom-surfed in various homes, she was given small sums of money, two cribs, various household items and something approximating 100 dresses, according to sworn testimony. As the DeMohrenschildts played up Oswald’s purported abuse, the sympathy increased to Marina’s benefit. The testimony on this is clear, if one but bothers to read it. Visiting any of the pages of testimony I have cited above contributes to a keener sense of what was at play.

It is also clear that several of the benefactors who took in Marina and her child, or provided money and material goods to her, later felt they’d had their generosity abused. Perhaps it was because she was just a lousy house-guest. Or perhaps they had come to realize their sympathies had been over-played upon by DeMohrenschildt for the specific purpose of keeping Marina and Oswald apart.

Despite their hearsay testimony, neither DeMohrenscildt witnessed an actual instance of abuse of Marina by Lee. Now down to three witnesses, we come to the daughter with whom Marina initially stayed—also the former Mrs. Gary Taylor and by the time of her testimony she was Mrs. Donald Gibson. Perhaps she can offer some insight:


Mrs. Donald Gibson (XI: 126-131)

 

Mr. Jenner.

Would you tell us about this lack of rapport between Marina and Lee Harvey Oswald?

Mrs. Gibson.

Well, they fought quite a bit. They fought in Russian, always verbally when I saw them, but when she was living with Mrs. Hall in Fort Worth, I was told that he beat her up on numerous occasions, physically assaulted her, and that Mrs. Hall and her, oh, I don't know what you would call him, her fiancee, Alex--

Mr. Jenner.

Is that Alex, Alexander Kleinlerer?

Mrs. Gibson.

I guess so. I don't know his name.

Mr. Jenner.

Describe him to us.

Mrs. Gibson.

Describe him?

Mr. Jenner.

Physically.

Mrs. Gibson.

He was short, very dark, moustache, black moustache, European dresser, an accent, very much the gangster type in his looks, very oily looking, very oily in personality, actually a rather creepy customer. He spoke Russian fluently. I think he spoke quite a few languages fluently. He, I believe, was born or originated in Paris. I have no idea what his occupation was. But he did not get along with Lee at all. He had numerous arguments with him over Marina and how he beat her.

Mr. Jenner.

Did any of this occur in your presence?

Mrs. Gibson.

One afternoon he was telling Lee off very, very--

Mr. Jenner.

Tell us where this occurred?

Mrs. Gibson.

This occurred in Mrs. Hall's home in Fort Worth.

Mr. Jenner.

You were present?

Mrs. Gibson.

And my husband; we were both present.

Mr. Jenner.

And who else please?

Mrs. Gibson.

Mrs. Hall and Marina were in the other room. Lee and Alex, and he was telling Lee off in no uncertain terms about how he beat up Marina, and about his whole outlook on life. He was really giving him a tongue lashing.

Mr. Jenner.

And what response did he obtain from Lee?

Mrs. Gibson.

Very sullen, very sharp answers. In fact I thought there was going to be a fight there for a minute.

Mr. Jenner.

Did Lee deny at that time in your presence, these accusations being uttered by Alexander Kleinlerer?

Mrs. Gibson.

He said it was none of his business.

Mr. Jenner.

But he didn't deny that he had done this?

Mrs. Gibson.

No.

Mr. Jenner.

He just said it was none of Kleinlerer's business?

Mrs. Gibson.

That is right.

Mr. Jenner.

Had either you or your husband ever--did either you or your husband ever talk to Lee Oswald about his treatment of Marina?

Mrs. Gibson.

No; we never talked to him about beating his wife.

 


And so it is that we finally come to the second last witness, the redoubtable Alexander Kleinlerer.

It is to his credit that he forcefully came to Marina’s aid, thinking she’d been repeatedly beaten. And he is unique among all the witnesses, for he swore he had witnessed an instance wherein Oswald slapped his wife, the only one to do so. In the final affidavit used by the Warren Commission, the tale had expanded in key respects when compared to his original statement. But in both versions of his tale, he was the only one who witnessed an episode of violence by Lee toward Marina.

He is also unique for another reason. The Commission deposed and took testimony—much of it hearsay—from each of the 19 “witnesses” with one exception: Kleinlerer. The Commission could not, for whatever reasons, manage to depose Kleinlerer in person. Perhaps there was a perfectly valid reason for their inability to obtain an audience with Kleinerer, but in the absence of such an explanation, one is left to assume that the single-most valuable witness to Oswald’s temper was not thought important enough to interview in person. This is doubly odd, for his affidavit was taken and sworn in Texas, while Commission counsel was in-state, thus making his inability to testify for said counsel more than a little mysterious.

But there may be a reason for the Commission’s reticence. Kleinlerer’s affidavit contained something—a passing comment—that could have demolished the carefully constructed and nurtured depiction of the Oswalds’ tawdry relationship, had he inadvertently mentioned it during testimony as he did in his affidavit.

It is in his affidavit—Vol. XI, p. 122—and clearly states a suspicion anathema to the Commission’s attempt to blacken Lee Oswald's name, and certainly at polar extremes from Paul Trejo’s conjectures:

“25. I expressed to Mrs. Hall and to my friend George Bouhe, and to others that I thought that they were only worsening things because the Oswalds did not appear appreciative of what was being done for them. He acted as though the world owed him a living. I had the impression from time to time that Marina was pretending and acting.”

Consequently, even the one person who presumably—but not demonstrably—witnessed Oswald slap his wife “had the impression from time to time that Marina was pretending and acting.” And why shouldn’t she embellish her tale of woe? Every time she alleged she’d been abused, she was showered with more of the things she desired.

Despite this fact, Kleinlerer thought both spouses were undeserving of the White Russians' largesse due to a lack of appreciation for what had been provided to her: “because both Oswalds did not appear appreciative of what was being done for them.”


We are now down to our final witness on the list of nineteen: Marina Oswald.

I will be uncharacteristically brief and suggest only that one takes seriously what this witness has to say at one’s own peril. For in key respects, of all the Commission’s witnesses, nobody’s narrative has been more flexible, elastic, malleable, changeable, than Marina’s.

Physical abuse of spouses is no laughing matter, irrespective of gender, class, religion, et al. It should be condemned at every turn.

It is remarkable that so few of the above nineteen witnesses bothered themselves to do so.

Equally remarkable is that not one of them, including the victim, thought to notify the police.

It is conceivable that the entire group of them didn’t care enough, but that is belied by their generosity to and solicitude toward Marina.

The alternative, needless to say, is that the issue was blown out of all proportion—for a specific purpose—when Oswald was alive, and magnified even further by the Commission for its own purpose after his death, in taking testimony of those who could only offer hearsay conjecture, while inexplicably giving the cold shoulder to the only puported witness to Oswald slapping his wife.

That this fraud continues to be cited as probative today only illustrates the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of those who traffick in this fiction.

 

Originally posted on the Education Forum, 12 May 2013, 07:13 PM

[Reprinted here with slight corrections and reformatted for legibility.]

Last modified on Wednesday, 01 March 2017 00:48

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