George de Mohrenschildt was born in Mozyr in Tsarist Russia, near the border of Poland (his birthdate was April 4, old-style Russian Julian calendar). His wealthy father, Sergius Alexander von Mohrenschildt, an anti-Communist, was arrested and put in prison by the Bolsheviks shortly after the Russian Revolution. After being sentenced to life as an exile in Siberia, he managed to escape with his family to Poland during the 1920s, where George graduated from a military academy in 1931. He received the equivalent of a doctor of science of international commerce from the University of Liège in 1938.
When de Mohrenschildt immigrated to the United States in May 1938, British intelligence reportedly notified the U.S. government they suspected he was working for German intelligence and by some accounts he was under FBI surveillance for a time. At first, de Mohrenschildt worked for the Shumaker company in New York City, purportedly under Pierre Fraiss, who had connections with French intelligence and according to de Mohrenschildt (see his Warren Hearing testimony) was engaged in gathering information about people engaged in "pro-German" activities, such as Nazi bidding for U.S. oil leases before the U.S. became involved in the war. In his testimony, de Mohrenschildt makes it clear that his data-collection was anti-Nazi activity, since it was aimed at helping the French, by out-bidding the Germans.De Mohrenschildt spent the summer of 1938 with his older brother Dimitri on Long Island, New York, where he became acquainted with the Bouvier family, including young Jackie, future wife of John F. Kennedy, and became a close friend of Jackie's aunt Edith Bouvier Beale.He dabbled in the insurance business from 1939 to 1941, but failed to pass his broker's examination. In 1941, de Mohrenschildt became associated with Film Facts in New York, a production company owned by his cousin Baron Maydell who was said to have pro-Nazi sympathies (de Mohrenschildt flatly denied any Nazi sympathies of his own, since he was helping raise money for the Polish resistance). De Mohrenschildt made a documentary film about resistance fighters in Poland but when the United States entered World War II his application to join the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was rejected.George's elder brother Dimitri von Mohrenschildt was a staunch anti-Communist and member of the OSS and one of the founders of the CIA's Radio Free Europe and Amcomlib (aka Radio Liberty) stations. His contacts included top officials of the agency. Dimitri died at the age of 100 in 2002.George received a master's degree in petroleum geology from the University of Texas in 1945. After the war de Mohrenschildt settled in Dallas, Texas, and took a job with oilman Clint Murchison as a petroleum geologist. He became a U.S. citizen in 1949. Described as sophisticated and articulate, he became a respected member of the Russian emigre community in Dallas, teaching at a local college, working for various oil companies as a geologist and traveling throughout the Americas with his fourth wife, Jeanne, whom he married in 1959.Lee Harvey Oswald and his Russian wife Marina Oswald were introduced to de Mohrenschildt in the summer of 1962 in Fort Worth, Texas. De Mohrenschildt had heard of the Oswalds from one of the Russian-speaking group of émigrés in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. George and Jeanne befriended them, tried to help them as best they could, and introduced them to the Russian community in Dallas. In his Warren Commission testimony in 1964, de Mohrenschildt stated that he believed he had discussed Oswald with J. Walton Moore, of the Dallas office of the CIA, whom de Mohrenschildt had known since 1957. De Mohrenschildt asserted that shortly after meeting Oswald he asked Moore and Ft. Worth attorney Max Clark about Oswald to reassure himself that it was "safe" for the de Mohrenschildts to assist Oswald. According to his testimony, de Mohrenschildt was told by one of the persons he talked to about Oswald, although he said he could not remember who it was, that "the guy seems to be OK." (Moore said in a 1978 interview for the House Select Committee on Assassinations that the allegations that de Mohrenschildt asked Moore's "permission" to contact Oswald were false.)On April 13, 1963, three days after Oswald's alleged attempt on the life of conservative activist General Edwin Walker at his home in Dallas (for which the police had no suspects), the de Mohrenschildts visited the Oswalds' apartment. George, knowing Oswald's dislike of Walker, joked to Oswald upon entry, "Hey, Lee! How is it possible that you missed?" Lee and Marina looked at each other but said nothing. Jeanne de Mohrenschildt later saw a rifle standing against the wall in a room that served as Oswald's study. When she and George asked why Lee owned a rifle, Marina and Lee both replied that it was for target shooting.In June 1963, de Mohrenschildt moved to Haiti, where he and other investors had set up an industrial development enterprise whose work was to include conducting a geological survey of Haiti to plot out oil and geological resources on the island. After Kennedy was assassinated, he testified before the Warren Commission in 1964. (For this testimony in the hearing record, see and following pages). The de Mohrenschildts left Haiti in 1967 and returned to Dallas. For reasons unknown, George and Jeanne de Mohrenschildt quietly obtained a divorce in Dallas, Texas on 3 April 1973, after nearly fourteen years of marriage. It was not reported in the local newspapers, and the couple continued to present themselves as husband and wife. By the early 1970s, reportedly, de Mohrenschildt's behavior leaned towards the erratic. On September 17, 1976, the CIA requested that the FBI locate de Mohrenschildt, because he had "attempted to get in touch with the CIA Director." De Mohrenschildt had "written a letter to the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency asking for his assistance. It seems that Subject feels he is being harassed as a result of his involvement with the OSWALD case." George Bush wrote back:Let me say first that I know it must have been difficult for you to seek my help in the situation outlined in your letter. I believe I can appreciate your state of mind in view of your daughter's tragic death a few years ago, and the current poor state of your wife's health. I was extremely sorry to hear of these circumstances. In your situation I can well imagine how the attentions you described in your letter affect both you and your wife. However, my staff has been unable to find any indication of interest in your activities on the part of Federal authorities in recent years. The flurry of interest that attended your testimony before the Warren Commission has long subsided. I can only speculate that you may have become "newsworthy" again in view of the renewed interest in the Kennedy assassination, and thus may be attracting the attention of people in the media. I hope this letter had been of some comfort to you, George, although I realize I am unable to answer your question completely. George Bush, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. [CIA Exec Reg. # 76,51571 9.28.76]On November 9, 1976, Jeanne had him committed to a mental institution in Texas for three months, and listed in a notarized affidavit four previous suicide attempts while he was in the Dallas area. In the affidavit she stated that George suffered from depression, heard voices, saw visions, and believed that the FBI and the Jewish Mafia were persecuting him.In 1977 Dutch journalist Willem Oltmans went to Texas and brought de Morenschildt to Holland. What happened then is disputed. Michael Eddowes says Oltmans plied Morenschildt with pharmaceuticals, which Oltmans denies, saying instead that he rescued Morenschildt from a mental institution to bring him to "famous" clairvoyant Croiset (see above). According to Oltmans, Croiset supposedly agreed Morgenschildt was the man he saw in his vision. About this episode Lobster Magazine subsequently commented: Between psychiatrists on one side and a psychic on the other — and even if the CIA were not involved — [de Mohrenschildt] did not have much of a chanceOn March 16, 1977, de Mohrenschildt returned to the United States from a business trip in Belgium. His daughter talked with him at length and found him to be deeply disturbed about certain matters and had expressed a desire to commit suicide. De Mohrenschildt contacted Kennedy assassination researcher Edward Jay Epstein, told him that he needed money, and accepted $4,000 for an interview to be published in Reader's Digest, during which he claimed that in 1962 a CIA operative in Dallas named Moore asked him to learn what he could about Oswald's activities in the Soviet Union. De Mohrenschildt said that in exchange he received help in an oil transaction he was attempting to negotiate with Haitian dictator Papa Doc Duvalier. When the Haitian government gave de Mohrenschildt the contract in March 1963, he presumed it was payment for assisting the CIA. On March 29, 1977, while on a break from the interview, de Mohrenschildt received a card from Gaeton Fonzi, an investigator for the House Select Committee on Assassinations. That afternoon, he committed suicide by shooting himself in the mouth with a shotgun.Edward Jay Epstein, an author who interviewed de Mohrenschildt shortly before his death, wrote the following diary entry (29 March 1977)David Bludworth, The State's Attorney, was a folksy, charming and savvy interrogator. He began by telling me that De Mohrenschildt had put a shotgun in his mouth and killed himself at 3:45 p.m. There were no witnesses — and no one home at the time of the shooting. The precise time of his death was established by a tape-recorder, left running that afternoon to record the soap operas for the absent Mrs. Tilton, and which recorded a single set of footfalls in the room and the blast of the shotgun, which was found on the Persian carpet next to him. No suicide note or other clue was found. He said I was probably the last person to talk to him. Then, he asked whether I had in my possession De Mohrenschildt's black address book. I replied "No." He politely rephrased the question, and asked me again — about a half-dozen times, whether I had the black book.Three people were at home at the time: the housekeeper was downstairs in the kitchen, and the cook and gardener were in the backyard. Days later, on April 1, 1977, Jeanne de Mohrenschildt gave the House Select Committee on Assassinations a photograph taken of Lee Harvey Oswald, by his wife Marina, standing in his Dallas backyard holding two newspapers and a rifle, and with a pistol on his hip. The existence of this print, while similar to others which had been found among Oswald's effects on November 23, 1963, was previously unknown. On the back was written To my friend George from Lee Oswald, and the date “5/IV/63” [this is in non-USA convention with day in front and month in Roman numerals, and means 5 April 1963. It is worth noting that the US military uses the day/month/year format, though does not utilize Roman numerals.] along with the words “Copyright Geo de M”' and a Russian phrase translated as “'Hunter of fascists, ha-ha-ha!” Handwriting specialists later concluded that the words “To my friend George…” and Oswald's signature were written by Lee Harvey Oswald but could not determine whether the rest was the writing of Lee Oswald, George de Mohrenschildt or Marina Oswald. Some historians have speculated the Russian line was written by Marina, in sarcasm. (George de Mohrenschildt in his memoir translated it as "This is the hunter of fascists, ha, ha, ha!" and also assumed that Marina had written it sarcastically).George de Mohrenschildt wrote in his manuscript (reference and pages cited above) that he had missed Oswald's photograph in packing for the move to Haiti in May, 1963, and this was why he hadn't mentioned it to the Warren Commission (though he had noted in his manuscript that Oswald had a rifle in April, 1963, because he had seen it in the apartment at Easter and scoffed to Lee that he had missed General Walker, remembering in memory that Lee had blanched at the joke). According to de Mohrenschildt, the photo was not found among his stored papers until his wife found it in 1967. When analyzed by the HSCA in 1977, this photo turned out to be a first generation print of the backyard photo already known to the Warren commission as CE-133A, and which had probably been taken on March 31, 1963. Jeanne de Mohrenschildt also gave the HSCA committee a copy of a manuscript called I Am a Patsy! I Am a Patsy! which George de Mohrenschildt had recently written about his relationship with his "dear, dead friend" Oswald, wherein he said that the Lee Oswald he knew, while capable of violence and petty meanness, would not have been the sort of person to have killed John F. Kennedy. In part this judgment was based on de Mohrenschildt's estimation of Oswald's political views and Kennedy's liberal ideas. The memoir has never been published as a trade book but has been available online since the entire typescript was published as an appendix in the HSCA report .. De Mohrenschildt's testimony to the Warren Commission in early 1964, however, paints a quite different view of Oswald — a man de Mohrenschildt said he considered a "kid" and not a friend. Due to the largely complete conflict in point of view between these two accounts (one given under some duress and the other written ostensibly for money) most historians give neither account of de Mohrenschildt great historical value.