The Umbrella Man, Otto Skorzeny, and the Assassination of JFK

Paz Marverde
11 min readOct 7, 2021

Michele Metta’s book, Accomplishing Jim Garrison’s Investigation on the Trail of the Assassins of JFK, contains highly interesting elements linking the Nazi Otto Skorzeny, the so-called Umbrella Man, and the assassination of JFK. I publish this excerpt with Metta’s kind permission. Don’t forget to buy his book, available on Amazon.

Despite Skorzeny’s collaboration with two Third Reich pillars, Adolf Eichmann and Hjalmar Schacht, the Mossad did not hesitate to recruit him for military operations against Egypt. The link between Skorzeny and the Mossad gives us the opportunity to scrutinise another very enthralling aspect about Skorzeny.

Let’s start with the fact that the film by Abraham Zapruder and several other films and photos taken on that fateful day, November 22, 1963, all clearly show too strange a bystander situated extremely close to John Kennedy. This figure is popularly known as The Umbrella Man because, despite it being a sunny day, he not only was the only person with an umbrella, but he even opened it in front of JFK who, immediately after, reacts by clutching his own throat in pain.

On November 8, 1978, in her testimony to the HSCA, [1] Ms. Rose Mary Willis declared she did notice the Umbrella Man and thought he looked “conspicuous.” Why did she think that? Because he “appeared to be more concerned with opening and closing the umbrella than dropping to the ground like everyone else at the time of the shots.”

This for sure too unusual conduct did provide the assassination scholars Richard E. Sprague and Robert Cutler with an excellent reason to analyse what happened. They both reached the conclusion that this umbrella was utilised to fire a dart with a paralysing agent at President Kennedy, to restrain his muscles, and make him an immobile target which would be absolutely far easier to kill. [2] This realistic explanation was fully endorsed by Colonel Prouty, one of the most relevant whistleblowers on the assassination, as we know. Actually, in 2008, a noted Washington psychiatrist, Dr. Alen J. Salerian, wrote a scientific study along the same lines that was published in Medical Hypotheses under the title President Kennedy’s Death: A Poison Arrow-Assisted Homicide. [3] What Salerian discovered became also the subject of a lecture he presented on March 21, 2009, at the 27th Annual Symposium of the American College of Forensic Psychiatry in San Diego, California, [4] where he asserted that “President Kennedy’s throat wound was caused by a flechette-transported poison, probably with a main chemical or chemicals […] with rapid paralyzing action.” Dr. Alen J. Salerian explained that because of that paralysis, John Kennedy “was immobilized and speechless for several seconds before a frontal entry bullet shattered his skull.”

That also said, let’s now instead focus on a CIA document written in December 1944. [5] It reveals convergent testimonies, given by an impressive number of Nazi soldiers, about an evidently failed plan by Skorzeny to kill Dwight Eisenhower in France. What is so interesting is that all these Nazi soldiers unanimously declared that poisoned ammunition would have been utilized to reach the goal. Actually, when Skorzeny was eventually caught at the end of WWII, a really strange bullet inside his sized pistol immediately drew the attention of his jailers due to the very weird presence of a red cross on its top. This circumstance became obviously the subject of an interview now among the MI5 papers at the United Kingdom National Archives. Let’s read this meaningful passage: [6]

At Skorzeny’s request the Kriminal Technisches Institut der Sipo, Berlin, manufactured special 7.65 caliber pistol bullets containing poison. The poison was an aconite compound and escaped through slits in the sides of the bullets. The bullets were supplied to Skorzeny at Friedenthal. […]. Skorzeny at first tried to persuade the interrogators that these bullets were manufactured and issued solely for suicide purposes. […]. He finally admitted that they were intended for assassinations. He claims that they were not to be used without special orders.

The Kriminaltechnisches Institut der Sipo was the place where the Nazis studied the use of very dangerous chemical agents against the enemies of the Third Reich. In fact, the making of chemically poisoned bullets was one of its objectives. Aconite, a highly toxic Western and Central European flowering plant, was perfect for this purpose. The reason is that it produces almost immediately a severe and pronounced motor weakness and numbness and a paralytic action. Very cruelly, the subject is completely conscious once poisoned, and clear-minded to the last. At first sight, the only postmortem signs are those of asphyxia.

A second meaningful Central Intelligence Agency paper, this time written at the beginning of February 1963, adds these pieces of information: [7]

The following background information on the arrest order issued by the Austrian Government against Otto Skorzeny, former Nazi SS colonel, has been received:

The arrest order was issued on the basis of new evidence procured by the Jewish community of Vienna from East Bloc countries. This evidence had been recently turned over to the Austrian authorities.

Headquarters Comment: According to a Washington Post article of 4 February 1963 Skorzeny is now a real estate dealer in Madrid. According to the Austrian press of 2 February the arrest order against Skorzeny was issued by the public prosecutor’s office on the basis of documentary testimony that Skorzeny tested a “poison pistol” on inmates of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. See CS-3/515,312. in which it was reported that Dr. Eduard Rabofsky, a resident of Vienna, Austrian Communist Party member, who was in close contact with the East German regime, collected information on neo-Nazism and war crimes, and that in May 1962 he called at the Jewish Documentation Center in Vienna where he tried to interest the leaders in cooperating with him in the exposure of war criminals.

Now, if we go back to Colonel Prouty, we discover that he stated that he was directly aware of a weapon efficiently capable of firing a poisoned bullet. Colonel Prouty explained that it was made at Fort Detrick, the top centre for the US biological weapons programme for a quarter of a century, from 1943 to 1969. [8]

Colonel Fletcher Prouty’s claims are completely corroborated by Charles Senseney. This latter was a former member of the Special Operations Division at Fort Detrick. When heard by the Church Committee [9] — the US Senate select body which, as told before, investigated in the 1970s the abuses made by the CIA, the NSA and the FBI — Senseney talked about the elaboration of a secret system. Its code name was M-1, and it was capable of firing a poisoned dart from anything. When asked about the effects, Senseney answered:

It depends on the agent. If you are using a lethal agent, it would probably kill. If it was a debilitating thing, it would just make you sick for a while.

And when asked to give more details, Charles Senseney made this very clear statement:

Yes; an M-1 projectile could be fired from a cane, also an umbrella.

But there is another testimony that is certainly worth reporting here, and it is the one offered by Pierre Finck, a pathologist present during the President’s autopsy at the Bethesda Naval Hospital. Doctor Pierre Finck gave this testimony during the trial of Clay Shaw, when the Centro Mondiale Commerciale member was accused by Jim Garrison of conspiracy to kill President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. On that occasion, Doctor Pierre Finck astonishingly said that he did not dissect the track in the neck. Asked to absolutely explain why by Alvin Oser, the then Assistant District Attorney, Doctor Pierre Finck’s testimony incredibly went on like this: [10]

Col. Finck: As I recall I was told not to, but I don’t remember by whom.

Mr. Oser: You were told not to but you don’t remember by whom?

Col. Finck: Right.

Mr. Oser: Could it have been one of the Admirals or one of the Generals in the room?

Col. Finck: I don’t recall.

Mr. Oser: Do you have any particular reason why you cannot recall at this time?

Col. Finck: Because we were told to examine the head and the chest cavity, and that doesn’t include the removal of the organs of the neck.

Mr Oser: You are one of the three autopsy specialists and pathologists at the time, and you saw what you described as an entrance wound in the neck area of the President of the United States who had just been assassinated, and you were only interested in the other wound but not interested in the track through his neck, is that what you are telling me?

Col. Finck: I was interested in the track and I had observed the conditions of bruising between the point of entry in the back of the neck and the point of exit at the front of the neck, which is entirely compatible with the bullet path.

Mr. Oser: But you were told not to go into the area of the neck, is that your testimony?

Col. Finck: From what I recall, yes, but I don’t remember by whom.

The terrible, awful implications — to say the least — of Colonel Finck’s abysmal assertions were forcefully emphasised by the District Attorney Jim Garrison himself during his Final Argument for that same trial. These are the enlightening words he pronounced about:

A plane landed from Washington and out stepped Dr. Finck for the defense, to counter the clear and apparent evidence of a shot from the front. I don’t have to go into Dr. Finck’s testimony in detail for you to show that it simply did not correspond with the facts. He admitted that he did not complete the autopsy because a general told him not to complete the autopsy.

In this conflict between power and justice — to put it that way — just where do you think Dr. Finck stands? A general, who was not a pathologist, told him not to complete the autopsy, so he didn’t complete it. This is not the way I want my country to be. When our President is killed he deserves the kind of autopsy that the ordinary citizen gets every day in the State of Louisiana. And the people deserve the facts about it. We can’t have government power suddenly interjecting itself and preventing the truth from coming to the people.

Doctor Finck failed another scrutiny the very same way. It was in 1996, this time before the Assassination Records Review Board. Besides, Abraham Zapruder’s film actually clearly shows the very first wound to hit JFK as the one in the neck and the president’s complete paralysis from that moment on.

The Warren Commission obviously pretended that the wound in the neck was an exit wound. It was the only way to not only pretend that none hit JFK from the front, but to likewise pretend that the bullet that hit John Kennedy in the throat was also the same bullet that, soon afterwards, hit the other politician present in the presidential car: John Connally. This is popularly known as the Magic Bullet Theory — the typical kind of definition which says it all.

However, this theory is first of all contradicted by the incontrovertible laws of physics, of course. Besides, there is what is pointed perfectly out by Gaeton Fonzi in his book titled The Last Investigation, which is what stated by Ronald Coy Jones, a doctor who worked on JFK at Parkland Hospital, the place where the POTUS was cured before being translated into a totally arbitrary way to the Bethesda Naval Hospital. Coy Jones, in fact, maintained that if it were an exit wound, the only way to justify its minimal size was to suppose that it would have been inflicted by a bullet of extremely low velocity, slow “to the point that you might think that this bullet barely made it through the soft tissues and just enough to drop out of the skin on the opposite side.” If so, it would certainly not have had enough force left to smash through Connally. It goes without saying that a wound from the front is an excellent proof that JFK was murdered by a conspiracy, since the Warren Commission itself places Lee Oswald behind Kennedy.

And since we also have now a series of evidence about the support given by former Nazi criminals to the development of the experiments at Fort Detrick, [11] this matter would certainly deserve a further investigation. We can affirm this also because of what was exposed by the Hearings of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research into the top-secret Project MK-ULTRA, which is this:

Under an agreement reached with the Army in 1952, the Special Operations Division (SOD) at Fort Detrick was to assist CIA in developing, testing, and maintaining biological agents and delivery systems. By this agreement, CIA acquired the knowledge, skill, and facilities of the Army to develop biological weapons suited for CIA use.

That being clarified, there is another very relevant aspect to certainly put into consideration. To adequately recount it, let’s start by saying that Otto Skorzeny’s personal papers were auctioned in 2012 in the United States. It is how this archive, which ranges from 1947 to around the period of Skorzeny’s death, is now in the hands of Ralph P. Ganis, a veteran of three services: the USMC, the US Army, and the United States Air Force. Among this key material, there is a photograph. It portrays Skorzeny with CIA officers David Atlee Phillips and Cord Meyer, the divorced husband of Mary Meyer, a mistress of John Kennedy murdered in 1964 for having information on the network that killed JFK. The trio in the picture is on a Learjet, and it is very relaxed and friendly to each other.

This same image is also relevant in light of a memorandum that we already had the opportunity to recount. It was the paper autographed by Cord Meyer himself on the relationship existing between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Centro Mondiale Commerciale. Finally, this image is also relevant because of a phrase that we have already highlighted. It was written by the son of RFK, Robert Kennedy, Jr., in one of his books, and it states that investigators of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which in the 1970s reopened the enquiry into the killing of his uncle, considered Phillips, along with his then boss, Harvey, as central suspects in the murder. [12] As we know, Harvey was actually part of the anti-JFK front along with the CMC-linked Italian spymaster Renzo Rocca, of whom Harvey was a direct accomplice.

Due to all the above facts, it is undoubtedly indispensable to talk about how Skorzeny takes us back to Giuseppe Pièche, a CMC member who, as you will see when buying Metta’s book, was a NATO stay-behind top agent.

Please, read also Assassination of JFK: Even the Owner of the Texas School Books Depository Was Connected to Clay Shaw’s Centro Mondiale Commerciale

[1] House Select Committee on Assassinations, HSCA Appendix to Hearings — Volume XII, Presence of Possible Gunman on the Grassy Knoll

[2] GALLERY: Sprague, Cutler, The Umbrella System: Prelude to an Assassination, June 1978

[3] MEDICAL HYPOTHESIS, Allen J. Salerian, President Kennedy’s death: a poison arrow-assisted homicide, Volume 71, Issue 4, October 2008

[4] Its title was: The Double Murders of President Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald Are Not Good for America: The Evidence

[5] CIA, Special Collection, Skorzeny mission against General Eisenhower, Document Number (FOIA)/ESDN (CREST): 519bdece993294098d514475, December 27, 1944

[6] United Kingdom National Archives, KV 2/403 (Skorzeny)

[7] CIA, Special Collection, Arrest Order Against Otto Skorzeny, Former Nazi SS Colonel of Austria, Document Number (FOIA)/ESDN (CREST): 519bdecd993294098d5143d1, February 2, 1963

[8] GALLERY: Sprague, Cutler, The Umbrella System: Prelude to an Assassination, June 1978

[9] Report of the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, Vol. 1

[10] State of Louisiana vs. Clay L. Shaw, Criminal District Court, Parish of Orleans, State of Louisiana, 198–059 1426(30) section C

[11] Carroll, Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government’s Secret Germ; Loftus, The Belarus Secret

[12] RFK, Jr., American values. See also FAIR PLAY MAGAZINE: Christopher Sharrett, The Assassination of John F. Kennedy as Coup D’Etat, May — June 1999. And: Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations, Alleged assassination plots involving foreign leaders, November 1975