By John Ensor •
Published: 09 Dec 2023 • 15:13
Arrest card of Lee Harvey Oswald on November 23, 1963.
Credit: Dallas Police; Warren Commission
Public domain/Creative Commons
Could a secret trip to Finland hold the key to an unresolved chapter in American history?
Documents that were kept secret for 60 years have finally been released by the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo), according to YLE.
On the night of October 10, 1959, Lee Harvey Oswald checked into Helsinki’s Hotel Torni. His passport identified him as an American, and he booked room 309 for five days.
However, after just two nights, Oswald abruptly left, claiming a desire to return to the US, a statement later proven false.
Oswald’s actions in Finland puzzled authorities. After leaving Hotel Torni, he moved to Klaus Kurki Hotel on October 12, signing for room 607. He stayed there for three nights.
The Finnish security police, Supo, tried but failed to understand Oswald’s motives or activities during his stay. A memo from July 9, 1964, admitted, ‘There are no other means of controlling Oswald’s movement anymore.’
The Warren Commission report revealed that Oswald applied for a Soviet visa in Helsinki on October 12, receiving it surprisingly fast by October 14. On October 15, he left for the Soviet Union, contradicting initial reports that he travelled to Stockholm.
The Commission noted, ‘The protection police inspector was right when he assessed that Oswald had been in Helsinki “apparently waiting for a visa”.’
Oswald’s route to Helsinki remained unclear. Supo’s records, based on hotel registries and passport lists, didn’t clarify his movements before arriving in Finland. Supo concluded he likely travelled via Stockholm, but the exact details were lost as passenger lists were destroyed by 1963.
Oswald’s passport application, filled out in Los Angeles on September 11, 1959, mentioned aspirations to study at the University of Turku, Finland. However, his true destination was the Soviet Union.
After defecting and living in Minsk until 1962, Oswald returned to the US, where he was implicated in the assassination of President Kennedy in November 1963. He was shot by Jack Ruby two days later, before a trial could take place.
The Warren Commission concluded Oswald acted alone, but questions about his time in Finland and the rapid acquisition of a Soviet visa remain part of the enigmatic backdrop to one of the 20th century’s most notorious events.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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