Finland releases secret documents on Kennedy assassination shooter after 60 years

Documents detail Oswald's 5 days in Helsinki

3 mins read
Oswald was assassinated on Elm Street in Dallas (Reuters)

The Finnish intelligence service SUPO has declassified 60 years of documents related to the visit to Helsinki of Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of former US President John F. Kennedy.

Four years before the assassination in 1963, Oswald had traveled to Helsinki, where it was discovered that he had applied for a visa for the Soviet Union.

The day after Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963, Finnish intelligence was activated and prepared a report on Oswald’s days in Helsinki.

The documents show that Oswald, who was 19 years old at the time, made a reservation for five nights at the Torni Hotel in Helsinki on October 10, 1959, but stayed only two nights.


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Finnish media, citing declassified documents, reported that Oswald said he was looking for schools in Switzerland or Finland when he applied for a passport in the US.

Finnish authorities did not have access to detailed information about Oswald’s time in Helsinki, and it was stated in the declassified documents that Oswald did not apply to any university.

The Warren Commission, which was set up to investigate the Kennedy assassination in the US, found in its investigation at the time that Oswald had applied for a visa at the Soviet Union embassy in Helsinki on October 12, 1959, and that this application was approved “unusually quickly”.

How Oswald reached Helsinki was also a matter of debate for a long time, and it was not clear whether the 19-year-old American citizen had crossed into Finland from Britain or Sweden.

SUPO’s secret documents state that Oswald probably traveled by plane or boat from Stockholm to Helsinki, where he waited for a Soviet visa.

The documents show that Oswald applied to become a citizen of the Soviet Union as soon as he arrived in Moscow and stayed in the country for 2.5 years.

Documents declassified by the US government last year contained information about Oswald obtained from officers in the KGB, the Soviet Union’s intelligence organization. In these documents, it was stated that Oswald never worked for the KGB and was considered “crazy and unpredictable” during his years in the Soviet Union.

Lee Harvey Oswald, who never renounced his American citizenship, returned to his country in the summer of 1962 and was shot dead in custody two days after the assassination in 1963 by businessman Jack Ruby. Ruby, who ran a nightclub in the US, said he committed the murder out of anger over the Kennedy assassination. Jack Ruby, who was sentenced to death, died of cancer while in prison in 1967.

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