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Captain Fritz and Postal Inspector Harry Holmes

I will make a brief detour here, while discussing Dallas Police Captain Will Fritz, to focus on one of the people who was with Lee Harvey Oswald (hereafter LHO) during the final hour of his life in the office of Captain Will Fritz. I am speaking of Dallas Postal Inspector Harry Holmes.

The main reason that I find the Warren Commission (WC) testimony of Harry Holmes to be suspicious, is because it is 30 pages long and very detailed, and yet we have no way of confirming it. Although Harry Holmes attended the final interview of LHO, he presented what he remembered of the interview in a deposition memo nearly four weeks later. Furthermore, his WC testimony poorly matches that memo.

Although the notes that Captain Will Fritz produced months later closely harmonized with notes of most others present at the many interrogations of LHO, we should be amazed that the WC testimony of Harry Holmes is so very different from all the others. Before I present my CT interpretation of Harry Holmes' WC testimony, given on April 2, 1964, let me first summarize it here.

1. Harry Holmes, 57, Dallas Postal Inspector for 22 years, was in his office on the 5th floor of the Terminal Annex building at the Southwest corner of Houston and Commerce Streets, about two blocks south of the TSBD building.

2. Holmes was in his office, watching with binoculars as the JFK parade turned from Main onto Houston, toward the TSDB, and then West on Elm toward the triple underpass, going about 15 miles an hour. Holmes clearly saw JFK, Jackie, Governor Connally and Mrs. Connally.

3. As it turned in front of the TSBD, Holmes heard three firecrackers. Holmes thought somebody was throwing firecrackers into the JFK limo. He saw dust fly up like a firecracker. He saw JFK fall over onto Jackie, and then saw Jackie try to climb out of the limo, and a man trying to help her back into the limo.

4. Holmes saw many people down on the ground. Policemen jumped off of the motorcycles that were along the route, with drawn pistols. He saw a policeman rushing into the TSBD. He saw people from every direction hunting around the railroad yard and among the cars parked there.

5. Holmes watched for more than an hour, hoping to see someone running across the railroad tracks, but nobody ever did. Holmes decided to do all he could to help the Police and FBI.

6. An hour later news came over the radio that Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested in the Tippit shooting. One of Holmes' mail clerks exclaimed, "We rented a box here to Lee Harvey Oswald recently!"

7. So Holmes and his clerks rushed to check the records, and they found a box rental application by Lee Harvey Oswald. Name of business: "FPCC" and "ACLU." Kind of business: "Nonprofit." Business address: "3610 North Beckley." Signed: "Lee H. Oswald." The PO stamp read, "Date box opened: November 1, 1963," and, "Box Number, #6225."

8. Holmes took that form from the records and wrote his initials on it, along with the date of the JFK assassination. He turned it over to an FBI agent a few days later. Today this form is marked, "Holmes Deposition Exhibit #1".

9. The Postal employee who rented the box to Lee Oswald could not identify Oswald from any photographs, however, this clerk remembered that Oswald definitely filled this form out himself.

10. After the JFK assassination, Holmes' clerks kept a continual surveillance on this box until December 31st. Two Russian newspapers from Minsk were received in that box. Also, "The Daily Worker." No first-class mail.

11. Only one key was given out for the box, according to Postal records. The Dallas Police has the key with the other evidence.

12. On Saturday morning, November 23, an FBI agent called Holmes to identify a PO money order. Holmes' clerks told him that only the Washington DC Postmaster keeps those records.

13. Later the FBI called Holmes, and told him that a 6.5 caliber, Manlicher-Carcano rifle had been purchased from Klein's Sporting Goods in Chicago, delivered to a PO box in Dallas, and that a PO money order for $21.95 had been used to pay for it on March 20, 1963.

14. Holmes and his clerks searched Dallas Post Office records for it. Holmes asked his secretary to go out and buy a half-dozen sporting magazines off the rack, like Field and Stream, to search for the ad for this rifle, and they found it. It is now "Holmes Deposition Exhibit #2." The ad said the price of the rifle was $19.95 plus $1.50 Postage and Handling. That was $21.45, not $21.95.

15. Still Saturday, about 11 AM, Holmes called the Chicago Postal Inspector with this data. In another hour, Postal Inspector McGee of Chicago called back and verified the correct amount was $21.45. The Chicago Post Office received the money order on March 13, not March 20. They gave Holmes the PO money order stub number; the only way to trace the original money order.

16. Holmes and his clerks then searched Dallas records for the issuing record. They quickly found it. It was issued at the main Dallas Post Office, early on the morning of March 12, 1963.

17. Holmes contacted the main office to get data about the Dallas PO box that LHO rented. They found it, as follows: Name: Lee Harvey Oswald. Address: 3519 Fairmore Avenue, Dallas. Signed: Lee Harvey Oswald. The PO stamp read, "Date box opened: October 9, 1962," and, "Box Number, #2915." The box was closed on May 14, 1963. "Holmes Deposition Exhibit #3," is a copy of that rental application,

18. Holmes phoned the Dallas Postmaster with all this data, who phoned Washington DC immediately, and relayed the data. About 7 PM Saturday night, Washington DC found the original PO money order. They sent it to the Chief of Secret Service at Washington DC. A Washington DC Postal Inspector then called Holmes and told him that it had been issued to A.J. Hidell. The Dallas Police then told Holmes that Hidell was an alias of Oswald.

19. All Saturday, Holmes kept sending his discoveries to the FBI, the Secret Service and the Dallas Police. In the process, Holmes learned that Oswald had also rented a PO Box at the Lafayette Square Station New Orleans on June 3, 1963, as follows: Name: Lee H. Oswald. Address: 657 French Street, New Orleans. Box number: #30016. Marina Oswald and A.J. Hidell were named to receive mail at this PO Box. This box was closed on September 26, 1963, with instructions to forward all mail to 2515 West 5th Street, Irving, Texas.

20. On Sunday, November 24, at about 9:30 AM, Harry Holmes dropped his wife off at Church, and drove to Dallas Police Headquarters to offer Captain Fritz any help. Fritz invited Holmes to the final interrogation of LHO in Fritz's office, and Holmes accepted. Present in this closed, 10x15' office were: Captain Fritz, Forrest Sorrels of the Dallas Secret Service, Thomas Kelley of the Washington Secret Service, three guards, and Lee Harvey Oswald, handcuffed and seated at the desk. The office had a window to the hallway, with Venetian blinds. The Venetian blinds were closed.

21. "Holmes Deposition Exhibit #4" is Holmes written memo of that interview. He dictated it nearly one month later -- on December 17, 1963. The following, however, is taken from the verbal WC testimony of Harry Holmes. Here is my summary of what Harry Holmes remembered under oath:

21.1. There was no formality to the interrogation. Each man would question Oswald at liberty. Oswald was composed. He answered readily, although he denied any knowledge of the JFK assassination or the murder of Officer Tippit.

21.2. Oswald had a good memory about his PO Boxes. Holmes had the PO Box data in front of him, and Oswald knew the PO Box numbers, and verified all of Holmes data.

21.3. When somebody asked, "Do you have an attorney?" Oswald said, "Well, I tried to get a fellow from New York who looks after the interests of the ACLU in New York, but I couldn't reach him."

21.4. Captain Fritz mentioned a map of Dealey Plaza found in Oswald's North Beckley room, with markings on it. Oswald explained that he used that map to look for jobs. The TSBD was marked on that map with an "X".

21.5. When somebody asked him about his Communism, he said, "I am not a Communist. I am a Marxist. A Communist is a Lenin-Marxist, and I am a true Karl-Marxist."

21.6. A Secret Service inspector asked him about religion. Oswald said he read the Bible, but he said it wasn't a reasonable or intelligent philosophy.

21.7. They asked Oswald, "Do you own a rifle?" Oswald replied, "Absolutely not. How would I afford a rifle? I make $1.25 an hour. I can hardly feed myself."

21.8. Somebody asked Oswald, "We have a picture of you holding this rifle that came to this PO Box. What about that?" Oswald refused to talk about it.

21.9. Captain Fritz described a fellow who had seen Oswald at his address on Neely Street, and Oswald just ignored him.

21.10. Holmes asked Oswald, "Did you receive a package through Box #2915 under the name of A.J. Hidell?" He said, "No, absolutely not. Nobody got mail out of that box but me; no, sir." So Holmes asked Oswald, "Well, who is A.J. Hidell?" And Oswald said, "I don't know any such person." Holmes showed Oswald the rental application for the PO Box in New Orleans, where it says "A.J. Hidell." Oswald said, "I don't know anything about that."

21.11. Fritz asked, "We found a draft registration card in your wallet, naming A.J. Hidell." For the first and only time, Oswald showed a little anger, and snipped, "You have the card yourself, and you know as much about it as I do!"

21.12. Holmes asked Oswald why he put the "FPCC" and "ACLU" on his rental application for Box #6225 at the main Dallas Post Office. Oswald said, "I don't know why I put that on on there." He wouldn't talk about it.

21.13. Fritz asked Oswald about the FPCC in New Orleans, and Oswald said, "Actually, it was a loosely organized thing and we had no officers, but probably you could call me the Secretary-Treasurer, because I did try to collect a little money to get literature and work with. In New York they have a better organization."

21.14. Somebody asked Oswald, "Is that why you came to Dallas, to organize an FPCC cell in Dallas?" And Oswald replied, "No, not at all...I was too busy trying to get a job."

21.15. Somebody asked Oswald why he left the TSBD after the shooting. Oswald said that when lunchtime came, one of the Negro employees asked him if he would like to sit and each lunch with him, and he said, "Yes, but not now. You go, but send the elevator back up for me." Oswald admitted he was still in the building when JFK was assassinated. Oswald added, "I just went on downstairs to see what all the commotion was about, and a police officer stopped me, and started to ask me some questions, and my superintendent stepped up and told the officer that I am one of his employees, so he told me to step aside he will get to me later."

21.16. Oswald said, "Just as I exited the front door, a man came rushing by and asked for the telephone, introduced himself and flashed his credentials. I just pointed to the front desk, and he went, and I left."

21.17. Somebody asked Oswald about shooting Tippit, and he said, "I don't know what you are talking about. The only thing that I am in here for is because I popped a policeman on the nose in a theatre on Jefferson self-defense."

21.18. Holmes asked Oswald why he kept so many PO Boxes, and Oswald replied, "It was much easier to have my mail reach me through PO forwarding, than to try to get somebody in Russia to change my address on a newspaper.

21.19. Somebody asked Oswald about Russia. Oswald replied, "I met my wife in Minsk; that was her hometown. I met her at a dance. I took these two Russian newspapers for her benefit. She enjoys reading about the home folks."

21.20. Somebody asked Oswald where he got the money to travel to Mexico City. Oswald said, "It didn't cost much money. My room cost $26, and some ridiculous small amount to eat. I went to the Cuban Embassy to try to get permission to get to Cuba. They refused me and I got angry and burst out of there. I went to the Russian Embassy and said I wanted to go to Russia by way of Cuba, but they told me to come back in 30 days. I left there angry and disgusted."

21.21. Holmes added in his WC testimony, just in case anybody doubted him: "I didn't just pick this up from reading the papers. This is what Oswald said in there."

22. Toward the end of the interview, Chief Curry would rap on the door and crack the door and look in, apparently impatient to transfer Oswald to County Jail. Captain Fritz told those present to take their time and ask Oswald all their questions.

23. Chief Curry came in with someone who offered Oswald some clothes on a hanger. It was a sports shirt, and a couple of pair of slacks and two sweaters. Oswald took the black, slipover, V-neck sweater. They uncuffed him and he slipped his arm in and they handcuffed him again.

24. In the meantime, Chief Curry and Will Fritz whispered to each other in the corner. Then the guards walked Oswald out of the office, while Holmes stayed in the office with the two Secret Service men.

25. Holmes offered Sorrels a ride to his office, because they would have a good view of the County Jail front door. Sorrels declined, so Holmes went back to his office alone. By the time Holmes entered his building, a clerk there told him the news. Lee Harvey Oswald was dead.

There is a succinct summary of the WC testimony of Dallas Postal Inspector Harry Holmes. Next week I'll present my CT interpretation.

Best regards,

--Paul Trejo

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