Receipts Oswald for SS Maasdam finally surfaced

Receipts Oswald for SS Maasdam finally surfaced

I did years of research into the important trip Oswald made from Minsk to Texas in June 1962, for my first book, published in 2008. Oswald travelled by train to to my own country, the Netherlands, and after that the ship SS Maasdam (from the Holland America Line) brought him from Rotterdam to Hoboken, New Jersey. He traveled with Marina and baby June.

I saw many photos and documents and ultimately I came in contact with people who were on this ship with Lee Harvey Oswald. I always claim that no element in the whole Kennedy investigation has been treated this undervalued. The investigation on this trip was poor and minimal. I wrote this article on my investigation: Oswald on SS Maasdam IV.

Despite of all my research, in December 2013 I received something which I had never seen before. A Dutch woman named Esther mailed me photos of a Maasdam document on Oswald, dated June 4, 1962, the day of the departure. It is the receipt Oswald signed before entering the ship. He purchased the tickets at American Express on Meent in Rotterdam; that address was known to me because of the mention in Oswald’s small note book. It is known that American Express still had some information in its archives about the transaction, but the company never wanted to release this information.

Below are two photos. On the left, the building of American Express on Meent in Rotterdam (in color: the situation in 2008). On the right, a fax from none other than Marina Oswald. It did not contribute to the request of British and Dutch journalists who were investigating Oswald’s activities in 1993: they wanted to obtain the documents but their efforts proved to be in vain.

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The woman e-mailed me the scans in the last month of 2013. In her message Esther told me that she owned the receipt together with her sister and two brothers. “Our father worked at Holland America Line almost all his life. My eldest brother told me last night, that my father came across the receipt at the accounting department after the Kennedy assassination and took it home with him. After all, it was ‘just’ a receipt and certainly not an important document.”

Article continues below the collage: front and back of the receipt and a enlargement of the signature

The owner of the receipt wanted to know if I might have any information about the value of the document. If I knew a buyer, they were perhaps willing to sell it. The contact fell through; I don’t remember why. In the end, I couldn’t really assist her – I’m not an appraiser. But wow, what a discovery!

Years went by and then I received a call. November 2020, I remember we were in a corona lockdown when I picked up the phone. A man introduced himself as a real estate investor/collector. I didn’t know him but I could have known him: Bert Degenaar was a regular expert on a Dutch tv show. In that show, sellers of special and valuable items were given the opportunity to sell their item to one of four experts. Degenaar told me he owned a remarkable treasure and, through mutual connections, reached out to me.

And what does he send me after the phone call? Photos of documents that I immediately recognize. Apparently, he is the new owner of the cash payment order that I already saw in 2013. I also received a photo of a new document; a deposit receipt. Photos below.

The lady that got in contact with me in 2013, had been in the tv show in 2017. She sold the receipts to Degenaar. The fact that Oswald’s documents had been on TV in 2017, had completely passed me by.

It’s a pity that the owners didn’t speak up earlier this century, during my initial research for my first book; after the publication that Rotterdam episode was big news in 2008.

Bert Degenaar and I discussed that we would get in touch again after the lockdown. Unfortunately, that never happened.

A remarkable treasure! Documents that have been sought after, not only by me but also by researchers long before my work began in this century. I wonder who owns them now. Perhaps it’s time to give that real estate investor a call soon?

Perry Vermeulen

Author of two books related to the assassination of JFK, published in The Netherlands in 2008 and 2012. Wrote a lot about this subject; built this website in 2023 to accommodate all those different stories. I will continue to produce new articles on the case.

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