Oliver Stone's JFK


Through the Looking Glass:
The Cameos

Willem Oltmans
(George De Mohrenschildt)

Willem Oltmans (left) with Gary Oldman


Baron George De Mohrenschildt -- he did not use the title, but claimed it based on his Swedish grandfather's commission from the Queen of Sweden -- was born in Czarist Russia near the Polish border. He spoke at least six languages; was married four times; and is alleged to have performed services for at least three intelligence agencies, including the CIA, the OSS (the CIA's predecessor), and French intelligence. His biography remains one of the great marginal mysteries related, at least by circumstance, to the Kennedy assassination. De Mohrenschildt could at various points of his life count as personal friends such notables as President Lyndon B. Johnson, Texas oil billionaire H. L. Hunt, then-Zapata Oil chief George Herbert Walker Bush, and Janet Auchinchloss, mother of Jacqueline Kennedy. Not to mention Lee Harvey Oswald.

De Mohrenschildt told the Warren Commission that, while living in Texas, he'd heard from friends of a young Russian-speaking American with a Russian-born wife living in Fort Worth, and was intrigued enough to arrange a meeting. He said he'd informally inquired about Oswald with a friend, J. Walton Moore of the CIA's Domestic Contact Service. According to the Baron, Moore informed him that Oswald was "just a harmless lunatic." Moore adamantly denied ever discussing Oswald with De Mohrenschildt, but acknowledged that he had a long-standing relationship with the Baron.

In 1977 De Mohrenschildt was recovering from a nervous breakdown. He tracked down at his daughter's home in Florida by author Edward Jay Epstein, then researching his Oswald biography, Legend. The Baron claimed that he'd deceived the Warren Commission on one significant issue: He hadn't asked J. Walton Moore about Oswald; Moore had first mentioned Oswald to him, as far back as 1961, when the "defector" was still in the USSR. Upon Oswald's return, Moore suggested De Mohrenschildt look into Oswald, as the Domestic Contact Division was anxious to debrief Oswald, and apparently Oswald had refused their overtures. In exchange for some assistance from the Agency in smoothing out bureaucratic details of his planned move to Haiti, De Mohrenschildt befriended Oswald and allegedly passed along information to Moore. (Perhaps correctly, perhaps not, Epstein did not believe him.)(1)

De Mohrenschildt's life took a serious turn for the worse after the assassination of President Kennedy. Called back from Haiti to testify before the Warren Commission, De Mohrenschildt would later claim he'd told the Commission what he believed it wanted to hear, characterizing Oswald as "an unstable individual, mixed-up individual, uneducated individual."(2) "He had nothing. He had a bitchy wife, he had no money, was a miserable failure in everything he did."(3)

By 1975, when he was interviewed by Dick Russell, De Mohrenschildt had changed his tune. "Whatever you write," he told Russell, "Lee Harvey Oswald was smart as hell. . . . He was . . . ahead of his time, really, a kind of hippie in those days. . . . And I will tell you this -- I am sure he did not shoot the President."(4) "I will tell you this, too," he added, "Lee was too good in his knowledge of the Russian language not to have been instructed by someone before he took his trip to Europe. You hear the way I speak English. I've been here thirty-five years and I still have a foreign accent. And Lee hardly had a foreign accent in Russian, a much more difficult language than English."(5)

A year later Russell interviewed him again, and found the Baron in the midst of considerable personal turmoil. De Mohrenschildt at first seemed willing to talk, but when his wife Jeanne volunteered her opinion that Oswald had been sent to the Soviet Union by the CIA, De Mohrenschildt exploded. "It is defiling a corpse!" he cried. "Defiling a corpse! I don't want to talk about it, it makes me sick!"(6)

Indeed, the Baron's opinion of the accused assassin, as expressed in his unpublished manuscript on Oswald, is one that the average American would find utterly shocking. "I should explain why I had introduced the Oswalds to my daughter Alex and to her husband," he writes. ". . . Gary [his son-in-law] was a scatter-brained, simple-minded but pleasant young man, and as most of his financial schemes failed, he had plenty of time on his hands. His fondest ambition consisted of becoming rapidly another Clint Murchison or H. L. Hunt [Texans, two of the world's richest oilmen] and that was hard to achieve, Frankly, I hoped that my daughter and her husband Gary would acquire some of the worldwide interests that Lee certainly possessed. His serious approach to life contrasted sharply with the foolish flippancy of Gary's . . ."(7)

De Mohrenschildt's manuscript makes at least one thing clear: Whatever else was on his mind during his last years, at least one of his demons was pure, old-fashioned guilt. He wrote that his Warren Commission testimony "can be seen so clearly by me now . . . as if it were somebody else['s] deposition, deprived of a warm feeling for Lee, full of my own stupid jokes, which makes me sad now. I was not expressing myself really, I didn't defend Lee vigorously and passionately enough, which I am sure he would have done if he were to defend me in a similar situation. I was cleverly led by the Warren Committee [sic] counsel, Albert Jenner, into saying some things I had not really want[ed] to say, to admit certain faults in Lee, which I wasn't sure were his; in other words I consider myself a coward and a slob who did not stand up to defend proudly a dead friend, whatever odds were against him."(8)

In his manuscript, George De Mohrenschildt explains how he came to meet Willem Oltmans.


After our return from Haiti, we were literally assailed by a great number of journalists, who wanted to interview us. The most interesting among them was Willem Oltmans, United States representative of NOS Television (Dutch State Television) with headquarters in New York.

Oltmans, a Dutchman but educated in the United States -- a Yale graduate -- told me how he became interested in the President's murder in 1964, while we were still in Haiti. He flew to Dallas on March 9, 1964 on an American Airlines from Kennedy airport in New York to address the next day the criterion Club in Wichita Falls, Texas. At the counter in New York he ran into Marguerite Oswald. The two sat together during the following dinner-flight and it was during this journey that Oltmans first began to doubt to truth as to Lee Oswald being the killer of President Kennedy all by himself and miserably alone. It was Marguerite Oswald who told him that the chief of police in Dallas interrogated Lee for forty-eight hours, without making a tape-recording of the hearing and even keeping his notes. When the Warren Commission asked the Dallas police official whether they didn't think Oswald an important enough subject to borrow a tape-recorder for the investigation of the murder of the president of the United States, the answer had been negative.

Upon returning to the Netherlands. Oltmans discussed his conversation the Marguerite Oswald with the famous clairvoyant, Gerard Croiset in Utrecht, the Netherlands. It was Doubleday who had published in 1964 the biography of this amazing dutchman, who has been solving crimes and murders all over the world, including in the United States.

It was Croiset who first described to Oltmans in a tape-recorded interview (which is being kept at the Institute of Parapsychology of the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands) that I existed. Croiset told Oltmans that Lee had a friend in Dallas, in his fifties. He described some of my physical features, including that my name held the letters sch and the word de.

Oltmans immediately consulted the chief of programs of National Dutch Television in Hilversum, Carel Enkelaar. He received the assignment to return to Dallas and try to locate this mysterious friend of Oswald's, who, according to the Dutch clairvoyant, was of noble decent and was a geologist. He, mysterious X, was, according to Croiset, the architect of the ambush in which Kennedy had been killed. Oswald was only the fall guy.

Oltmans returned to Fort Worth and visited Mrs. Marguerite Oswald. It was Lee's mother who, following Croiset's description, pointed to a volume of a complete set of the Warren Report and indicated our name and existence to the Dutch journalist.

Oltmans reported back in Hilversum that Croiset's indication had been correct. There was a friend, in his fifties, and his name did match the words de and sch. He was George De Mohrenschildt.

NOS Television then instructed Willem Oltmans to phone me April 22, 1967, to ask for a TV interview. I replied that I had to attend the World Petroleum Congress in Mexico City and that he should contact me in two weeds. I did not hear from him again until later that year.

When Oltmans reported to Hilversum that he had contacted me, the Dutch television presidium felt Oltmans was in grave danger. They reasoned that so many people, directly or indirectly connected with trying to unravel the Kennedy assassination had been killed or mysteriously disappeared, that Oltmans was immediately instruted to contact the office of Robert F. Kennedy, at the time the Senator of the State of New York.

This office was located at the US Post Office building, near 43rd street. Oltmans saw Tim Hogan, Robert F. Kennedy's press assistant, and explained the situation, including Croiset's analysis, that Kennedy had been killed in a plot an that I was the engineer of the ambush.

Tim Hogan said the Senator was making a speech in Albany that morning and was flying back at 1 pm in the "Caroline." He would inform the Senator immediately relaying Oltman's request whether he could have some protection from FBI. NOS Television had figured that Robert Kennedy, former Attorney-General of the United States was as safe a person to ask advice in this delicate manner.

Tim Hogan called back around 2 p.m. in Oltmans's apartment in Kew Gardens, New York. He relayed to Oltmans that RFK had personally picked up the phone and talked to J. Edgar Hoover in Washington, D.C. FBI agents were to contact him later that day.

Indeed, already at 4 p.m. two agents called at Oltman's apartment. They stayed two full hours, but Oltmans only relayed to them that he was instructed to interview us in Dallas and that, at the same time, NOS TV had told him to contact Robert Kennedy.

When the agents left the Oltmans apartment, they assured him that from that moment on he would be 24 hours a day under surveillance of the FBI and there would be nothing to worry about.

The next evening Oltmans wanted to visit an Indonesian friend in Greenwich Village, an architect, who was designing a cover for a book Oltmans was writing about the late President Sukarno of Indonesia.

Driving southward on Westside drive at around 8 pm in a Sunbeam Tiger, with a V-8 motor, a convertible sports model, with aluminum racing wheels, at a speed of about sixty miles per hour. Oltmans was being overtaken by a cab with a passenger riding in the back-seat. The cab cruised for a while next to Oltmans's car until the 53rd Street exit was reached. Then the cab made a fast move, in which Oltmans was cut of in such a way that he crashed in the rails. his car was a total loss. His head was bleeding. He was brought to the Kew Gardens hospital, where he was examined, bandaged and sent home. The insurance awarded him within ten days a new car, which Oltmans quickly shipped to the Netherlands. He himself left a few days afterwards.

Two months later, Oltmans received in his bungalow in the country near Utrecht a telephone call from a certain Glenn Bryan Smith, attorney from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Smith announced that he was conducting an investigation into the JFK murder for ________, the author of Green Berets. He wanted to discuss with Oltmans the Dallas affair and compare notes. Oltmans agreed to a meeting in Hotel Terminus in Utrecht, but only in the presence of Carel Enkelaar, NOS TV boss. It so happened.

During the conversation, however, Glenn Bryan Smith slipped in some threats. He cautioned Oltmans in the presence of Enkelaar to stop investigating President Kennedy's assassination because "you would not be the first person to die or disappear in this matter. What they do is, they will kidnap you in a New York street, drive you to a private airport, and dump you over the Atlantic Ocean. You would not be the first person to die this way either."

Oltmans says that he remained unperturbed. He waited a few months more publishing an extensive report on his automobile accident in the leading weekly magazine Haagse Post, showing on the cover pictures of John F. Kennedy and myself. Oltmans then returned to the United States in October 1967 and came to film us with the Dallas CBS TV crew on October 15th. It was a very pleasant meeting for us.

From that moment on, this Dutch journalist, who initially approached us, because he had received indications that we might be involved indirectly through Oswald with the Kennedy assassination, became a very personal friend. He has visited us every year since 1967.

He will by now be convinced, that we had nothing to do whatsoever with the JFK assassination. As a matter of fact, he told us, that despite of Gerard Croiset's great gifts for solving crimes, at the same time some forty percent of his indications and prognoses are always false.

Nevertheless, Oltmans relayed to us as recently as the summer of 1976, that this famous Dutch clairvoyant is still deadly convinced that I am the man who tricked Lee Harvey Oswald, and who set up, financed by the Dallas oil lobby, the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I am supposed to have done it from Haiti, probably through some voodoo trick.

I probably should have sued that Dutch clairvoyant but I presume that he is probably broke and an international law suit would be very costly.(9)


Much of De Mohrenschildt's final months was spent in the company of Willem Oltmans. The episode will probably remain something of a mystery, as Oltmans's account of that period seems implausible at times, but it is the only account we have.

In December 1976, Oltmans arrived in Dallas to find that Jeanne De Mohrenschildt had committed her husband to the Parkland Hospital Medical Clinic for observation. He was reportedly receiving heavy drug treatment and experiencing difficulties with his memory.(10)


After six weeks, De Mohrenschildt was released from the hospital and resumed teaching at Bishop College. Meeting in a quiet corner of the college library, Oltmans says the baron told him he "felt responsible for Oswald's role" and wanted to talk about it. But he had been receiving death threats for some time and begged Oltmans to take him to Europe.

So he did. On March 5, 1977, while a book contract was being drawn up with a Dutch publishing company, Oltmans says he and De Mohrenschildt took a flight to Europe. They drove together to the Belgian capital of Brussels, where Oltmans wanted "to keep a luncheon appointment with an old friend, the Soviet charge d'affaires, Vladimir Kuznyetsov." The baron told the pair he was going for a walk, but would meet them for lunch in about an hour. Then De Mohrenschildt simply disappeared.

. . . Then, on March 25, De Mohrenschildt suddenly surfaced at a villa near Palm Beach, Florida, where his daughter was also staying. According to Oltmans, De Mohrenschildt sent him a telephone message, thanking him for his efforts to protect him but saying he had been "too scared to go through with his confession."(11)


In a letter of March 11, 1977, De Mohrenschildt made a statement expressing his side of the story. "Oltmans," he wrote, "wanted to sully me into admitting things I did not do."(12)

On March 29, 1977, HSCA field investigator Gaeton Fonzi drove out to the home of Alexandra Taylor, the Baron's daughter. Fonzi left his card with Taylor, who delivered it to her father when he returned. The Baron quietly thanked her, walked upstairs, put the barrel of a shotgun in his mouth, and pulled the trigger.




You may wish to see:

Who's Who in the Jim Garrison Case

Jim Garrison's New Orleans Photo Gallery

Articles and resources on Jim Garrison's New Orleans conspiracy investigation,
including the Clay Shaw trial transcript

Articles and resources on the JFK assassination


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1. Edward Jay Epstein, The Assassination Chronicles (New York: Carroll and Graf, 1992), pp. 555-69.

2. Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. IX, p. 237.

3. Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. IX, p. 274.

4. Dick Russell, The Man Who Knew Too Much (New York: Carroll and Graf, 1992), p. 277.

5. Dick Russell, The Man Who Knew Too Much (New York: Carroll and Graf, 1992), pp. 277-78.

6. Dick Russell, The Man Who Knew Too Much (New York: Carroll and Graf, 1992), p. 278.

7. George De Mohrenschildt, I Am a Patsy! I Am a Patsy! (unpublished manuscript), House Select Committee on Assassinations, JFK Vol. XII.

8. George De Mohrenschildt, I Am a Patsy! I Am a Patsy! (unpublished manuscript), House Select Committee on Assassinations, JFK Vol. XII.

9. George De Mohrenschildt, I Am a Patsy! I Am a Patsy! (unpublished manuscript), House Select Committee on Assassinations, JFK Vol. XII.

10. Dick Russell, The Man Who Knew Too Much (New York: Carroll and Graf, 1992), p. 280.

11. Dick Russell, The Man Who Knew Too Much (New York: Carroll and Graf, 1992), p. 280.

12. Dick Russell, The Man Who Knew Too Much (New York: Carroll and Graf, 1992), p. 281.


Who's Who in the Jim Garrison Case

Jim Garrison's New Orleans Photo Gallery

Articles and resources on Jim Garrison's New Orleans conspiracy investigation,
including the Clay Shaw trial transcript

Articles and resources on the JFK assassination


Search this site
    powered by FreeFind

Dave Reitzes home page