In 1915 the government of Nicholas II dispatched another uncle, Ferdinand von Mohrenschildt to Washington to plead for American intervention in the First World War. He stayed in the country and eventually married the step-granddaughter of President Woodrow Wilson.
After the Russian Revolution his father, Sergius Alexander von Mohrenschildt, was imprisoned by the Bolsheviks. In 1921 he was sent to Siberia but managed to escape with his family to Poland. His wife died soon afterwards from typhoid fever.
While a young man George de Mohrenschildt left Poland and spent time travelling around Europe. He later claimed that he was involved in a pro-Nazi plot to kill Joseph Stalin. De Mohrenschildt reached the United States in 1938. The British intelligence services warned the American government that they suspected that De Monrenschildt was working for German intelligence.
De Mohrenschildt went to live with his older brother, Dimitri de Mohrenschildt and new sister-in-law (Betty Hooker). He found employment with the Shumaker company in New York and worked under Pierre Fraiss who was connected with French intelligence. De Mohrenschildt agreed to collect information on people involved in "pro-German activity". In 1939 he went to work for Humble Oil, a company that was co-founded by Prescott Bush.
During this period de Mohrenschildt met George H. W. Bush. According to Bush: "I first met him in the early 40s. He was an uncle to my Andover roommate (Edward Hooker)." He also met Jacqueline Bouvier, who called him "Uncle George" and would sit on his knee.
In 1941 de Mohrenschildt went to work for his cousin, Baron Maydell, and his company, Film Facts, in New York City. Maydell was also known to have pro-Nazi sympathies. During this period he made a documentary about the resistance movement in Poland. Later that year he failed in his attempt to join the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).
After the Second World War de Mohrenschildt moved to Venezuela where he worked for Pantepec Oil, a company owned by the family of William F. Buckley. In 1950 he launched an oil investment firm with Edward Hooker with offices in New York City, Denver and Abilene. In 1952 De Mohrenschildt moved to Dallas where he worked for the oil millionaire, Clint Murchison. He joined the Dallas Petroleum Club and became a regular at Council on World Affairs meetings, a right-wing organization established by Neil Mallon.
De Mohrenschildt also joined the Texas Crusade for Freedom. Other members included Earle Cabell, Everette DeGolyer, Harold Byrd, Ted Dealey, Paul Raigorodsky, George Bouhe, Neil Mallon and Lewis MacNaughton.
In 1955 George De Mohrenschildt met Jeanne LeGon. The couple began a relationship. When Robert LeGon discovered what was going on, he wrote a letter to the FBI accussing her of being a "communist spy". This resulted in the FBI making inquiries about her political activities. According to Priscilla Johnson McMillan: "After Jeanne started seeing George de Monhrenschildt, Robert LeGon came twice to Dallas. He is said to have gone after his wife's admirer with a revolver, then hired a private detective. But, like so many others before him, he succumbed to the De Mohrenschildt charm. He declared that he would grant his wife a divorce on one condition - that De Mohrenschildt promise to marry her."
In 1957 George de Mohrenschildt met J. Walton Moore, the local CIA man in Dallas. According to Russ Baker, the two men had several meetings over the next few years. During this period he worked for a company called Cuban-Venezuelan Oil Voting Trust Company (CVOVT) that had been established by William Buckley Sr. During this period he got to know Jack Alston Crichton, who was one of several oil men who began negotiating with Fulgencio Batista, the military dictator of Cuba. Crichton later remarked that "I liked George. He was a nice guy."
George de Mohrenschildt married Jeanne LeGon in June 1959. The following year, George's only son died of Cystic Fibrosis. George wrote in his autobiography: "I asked my wife Jeanne to give up her successful designing profession and join me on an expedition on foot by the trails of Mexico and all of Central America." After the couple used all their savings in the trip to Mexico and Central America they returned to Dallas. George began writing a book about his experiences and Jeanne found a job in the millinery department of the Sanger-Harris department store.
According to Gregory Burnham George de Mohrenschildt was an "active member of 2 CIA Proprietary Organizations: The Dallas Council On World Affairs and The Crusade For A Free Europe." Other members included Abraham Zapruder, Clint Murchison, David Byrd, George H. W. Bush, Neil Mallon and Haroldson L. Hunt.
In 1961 George de Mohrenschildt was invited to lunch by J. Walton Moore. According to Edward Jay Epstein, during the meeting Moore told de Mohrenschildt about Lee Harvey Oswald living in Minsk. However, in his book on the case, I'm a Patsy (1977), he gives a different version of events: "Early in the summer of 1962 the rumors spread out among the Russian-speaking people of Dallas and Fort Worth of an unusual couple-the Oswalds. He was supposedly an ex-marine, an unfriendly and eccentric character, who had gone to Russia and brought back with him a Russian wife. He had lived in Minsk where I had spent my early childhood. And so I was curious to meet the couple and to find out what had happened to Minsk. Someone gave me Lee's address and one afternoon a friend of mine, Colonel Lawrence Orloff and I drove to Fort Worth, about 30 miles from Dallas."
Over the next few months George de Mohrenschildt took Oswald to anti-Castro meetings in Dallas. De Mohrenschildt later told Edward Jay Epstein that he was asked by J. Walton Moore to find out about Oswald's time in the Soviet Union. In return he was given help with an oil deal he was negotiating with Papa Doc Duvalier, the Haitian dictator. In March 1963, De Mohrenschildt got the contract from the Haitian government. He had assumed that this was because of the help he had given to the CIA.
In February, 1963 George de Mohrenschildt introduced Marina Oswald and Lee Harvey Oswald to Ruth Paine. On 24th April, 1963, Marina and her daughter went to live with Paine. Oswald rented a room in Dallas but stored some of his possessions in Ruth Paines garage. Ruth also helped Oswald to get a job at the Texas School Book Depository.
In June 1963 George de Mohrenschildt and his wife moved to Haiti. He later recalled what he did after Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the assassination of John F. Kennedy: "But since the official version had it that Lee Harvey Oswald was the main suspect, we made our deposition at the Embassy. We did know him and we were aware of the fact he owned a rifle. We would be happy to testify what we knew about him and about our relationship with him and his wife. But we did not believe he was the assassin."
George de Mohrenschildt was recalled to America to testify before the Warren Commission. He was asked about the claim of Marina Oswald that he knew about Oswald's attempt to kill General Edwin Walker. After giving evidence he returned to Haiti.
On 5th September 1976 De Mohrenschildt sent a message to George H. W. Bush, who was at that time director of the CIA: "Maybe you will be able to bring a solution to the hopeless situation I find myself in. My wife and I find ourselves surrounded by some vigilantes; our phone bugged; and we are being followed everywhere. Either FBI is involved in this or they do not want to accept my complaints. We are driven to insanity by the situation. I have been behaving like a damn fool ever since my daughter Nadya died from (cystic fibrosis) over three years ago. I tried to write, stupidly and unsuccessfully, about Lee H Oswald and must have angered a lot of people I do not know. But to punish an elderly man like myself and my highly nervous and sick wife is really too much. Could you do something to remove the net around us? This will be my last request for help and I will not annoy you any more."
Two months later George de Mohrenschildt was committed to a mental institution. According to his wife, Jeanne de Mohrenschildt, he was suffering from depression. He was taken to Parkland Hospital and underwent electroshock therapy.
In February 1977, Willem Oltmans, met George de Mohrenschildt at the library of Bishop College in Dallas, where he taught French. Oltmans later told the House Select Committee on Assassinations: "I couldn't believe my eyes. The man had changed drastically... he was nervous, trembling. It was a scared, a very, very scared person I saw. I was absolutely shocked, because I knew de Mohrenschildt as a man who wins tennis matches, who is always suntanned, who jogs every morning, who is as healthy as a bull."
According to Willem Oltmans, he confessed to being involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. "I am responsible. I feel responsible for the behaviour of Lee Harvey Oswald... because I guided him. I instructed him to set it up." Oltmans claimed that de Mohrenschildt had admitted serving as a middleman between Lee Harvey Oswald and H. L. Hunt in an assassination plot involving other Texas oilmen, anti-Castro Cubans, and elements of the FBI and CIA.
Oltmans told the HSCA: "He begged me to take him out of the country because they are after me." On 13th February 1977, Oltmans took de Mohrenschildt to his home in Amsterdam where they worked on his memoirs. Over the next few weeks de Mohrenschildt claimed he knew Jack Ruby and argued that Texas oilmen joined with intelligence operatives to arrange the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Willem Oltmans arranged for George de Mohrenschildt to meet a Dutch publisher and the head of Dutch national television. The two men then travelled to Brussels. When they arrived, Oltmans mentioned that an old friend of his, a Soviet diplomat, would be joining them a bit later for lunch. De Mohrenschildt said he wanted to take a short walk before lunch. Instead, he fled to a friend's house and after a few days he flew back to the United States. He later accused Oltmans of betraying him. Russ Baker suggests in his book Family of Secrets: "Perhaps, and this would be strictly conjecture, de Mohrenschildt saw what it meant that he, like Oswald, was being placed in the company of Soviets. He was being made out to be a Soviet agent himself. And once that happened, his ultimate fate was clear."
The House Select Committee on Assassinations were informed of George de Mohrenschildt's return to the United States and sent its investigator, Gaeton Fonzi, to find him. Fonzi discovered he was living with his daughter in Palm Beach. However, Fonzi was not the only person looking for de Mohrenschildt. On 15th March 1977 he had a meeting with Edward Jay Epstein that had been arranged by the Reader's Digest magazine. Epstein offered him $4,000 for a four-day interview.
On 27th March, 1977, George de Mohrenschildt arrived at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach and spent the day being interviewed by Epstein. According to Epstein, they spent the day talking about his life and career up until the late 1950s.
Two days later Edward Jay Epstein asked him about Lee Harvey Oswald. As he wrote in his diary: "Then, this morning, I asked him about why he, a socialite in Dallas, sought out Oswald, a defector. His explanation, if believed, put the assassination in a new and unnerving context. He said that although he had never been a paid employee of the CIA, he had "on occasion done favors" for CIA connected officials. In turn, they had helped in his business contacts overseas. By way of example, he pointed to the contract for a survey of the Yugoslavian coast awarded to him in 1957. He assumed his "CIA connections" had arranged it for him and he provided them with reports on the Yugoslav officials in whom they had expressed interest."
Epstein and de Mohrenschildt, broke for lunch and decided to meet again at 3 p.m. George De Mohrenschildt returned to his room where he found a card from Gaeton Fonzi, an investigator working for the House Select Committee on Assassinations. George De Mohrenschildt's body was found later that day. He had apparently committed suicide by shooting himself in the mouth.
On 11th May, 1978, Jeanne de Mohrenschildt gave an interview to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where she said that she did not accept that her husband had committed suicide. She also said that she believed Lee Harvey Oswald was an agent of the United States, possibly of the CIA, and that she was convinced he did not kill John F. Kennedy. She then went onto say: "They may get me too, but I'm not afraid... It's about time somebody looked into this thing."