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Marina Testifies – Day Two

The second of day of Mrs. Oswald's testimony was taken at 200 Maryland Avenue NE in Washington D.C. by the Warren Commission – again led by general counsel J. Lee Rankin – revealed Mr. Oswald's contentious relationship with the FBI, domestic issues between the Oswalds, and several letters sent to the Soviet Embassy declaring Mrs. Oswald's intentions to return to the Soviet Union.

As the first witness to be called by the Warren Commission, Mrs. Oswald spent most of the morning identifying and validating various documents, letters, and photographs for admission to evidence, including the photographs Mr. Oswald took of General Walker's residence.

The Commission continued to be interested in Mr. Oswald's living arrangements, whereabouts, and social activities in the months prior to the assassination; presumably to determine if he had associates who influenced his behavior or assisted him in the preparation of the assassination (thus far no evidence has surfaced indicating additional suspects, but it remains a concern).

Mr. Oswald was a devoted family man who participated in the raising of his children and performed domestic chores such as preparing supper, shopping for groceries, and changing diapers.

Mrs. Oswald gave birth to their second child, Audrey Marina Rachel Oswald, on October 20, 1963. Mr. Oswald was ever the doting father and cried upon meeting Rachel the first time.

Mr. Oswald was given to moods and would become cold, distant, and withdraw to his room to read, write in his diary, type his memoirs, or plan assassinations. During these times he would snap often at Mrs. Oswald over trivials matter, such as when he himself forgot to set the butter on the table for supper.

By September 1962 the warm welcome extended to the Owalds by Dallas area Russians had been squandered by Mr. Oswald’s anti-social behavior and outward hostility; among them Mr. George Bouhe and Mr. and Mrs. George de Mohrenschildt. Although the de Mohrenschildts continued to look in on the Oswalds until the spring of 1963.

Mrs. Oswald ascribed Mr. Oswald’s irritability, at least in part, to the FBI's interference in their lives. Mr. Oswald had several encounters with the FBI that exacerbated his obsession with privacy and secrecy, according to testimony. The precise number and nature of these encounters could not be determined because Mrs. Oswald was not privy to all of them, but the Commission clearly knew more than it disclosed.

Mr. Oswald was known to give false names to landlords to prevent being evicted for having lived in the Soviet Union, but Mrs. Oswald also suspected that he may have trying to avoid the FBI.

At her husband’s instruction, Mrs. Oswald recorded the names and vehicle license numbers of the agents who visited Ruth Paine’s residence on November 5, 1963, Hosty and Wilson.

Mrs. Oswald wrote at least three letters to the Soviet embassy in Washington D.C. requesting to return to the Soviet Union. These were in her own hand and not dictated by Mr. Oswald, according to testimony. However, Mrs. Oswald protested that these letters were written under duress at the direction of her husband, who wished that his wife and children should return to the Soviet Union to be with family and improve their living situation. He requested that their visas be processed separately to avoid unnecessary bureaucratic delays.

The recurring problems in their marriage led Mrs. Oswald to confide in a former lover from the Soviet Union via letter that she was ‘very lonely’ and ‘regretted’ marrying Mr. Oswald. The letter was returned for insufficient postage and discovered by Mr. Oswald who read it aloud to Mrs. Oswald, followed by a physical altercation.

Mr. Oswald also expressed jealousy over Mrs. Oswald’s friendships with older gentlemen within the community.

Mrs. Oswald baptized their daughter June into the Russian Orthodox Church without telling Mr. Oswald. Being irreligious, Mr. Oswald was indifferent to the baptism, but took offense to the secrecy (an ironic position, given the secrecy surrounding his own life).

Additional testimony was given about Mr. Oswald’s attempt to enter Cuba, but was not clarifying. Mr. Oswald’s motivations and intentions remain indeterminate as to whether he sought to reside in Cuba or use it a stepping-stone to the Soviet Union. Testimony resumes tomorrow.