More confirmation of the existence of two different Minox can be found in the DPD reports showing the evidence seized from the Paine house the weekend of the assassination. In addition to the black case and chain found with the "small German camera," page three of the handwritten inventory also shows "brown case (camera) on long chain." (see above)
Although the chain attaches to the camera, it goes through an opening on the bottom of the case. If you detach the chain from the camera, the chain will stay with the case, kept in place by a stop on either end of the chain. In other words, although the chain attaches directly to the camera, it is actually a part of the case. (see photo below)
If you look closely at the chain, you will notice several beads spaced several inches apart. These are actually used as measuring aids for doing close-up work (which the Minox excels at). They correspond to the distances on the focusing knob, and the chains are matched to the camera depending on whether it uses inches or metric.
It is my contention that DPD found one Minox camera with a black case and chain, plus an additional empty brown case and chain which belonged to the Paine camera. (Minox cases did come in both black and brown, as well as some other less common colors).
The photos above (from Gary Savage's First Day Evidence) show some of the evidence taken from the Paine house the weekend of the assassination. Although Mr. Savage claims that a Minox camera is visible in the photo, I do not agree. I believe that Mr. Savage is mistaken, even though it would put to rest any doubt that DPD did confiscate a Minox belonging to Lee Oswald that weekend. However, there is absolutely no doubt that there is a Minox case and chain clearly visible in the photo. I believe that this case is the empty case belonging to the Paine camera.
What is significant is that NO Minox case was listed on the DPD/FBI transfer logs on 11/26/63!!! But the FBI authorized the return of a Minox camera case (B2) to Ruth Paine the following June!!! This is page 2 of a letter from J. Edgar Hoover to the Dallas SAC instructing that these items be turned over to DPD for release to Ruth Paine:
Please note that while most items have a number that corresponds to the DPD/FBI transfer sheets, there are three items that do not appear on those sheets, and they are numbered differently:
All these items can be seen in the photo from First Day Evidence, and none of them appear on the official 11/26/63 transfer sheets. How and when did the FBI obtain these items???
As we noted in the original Minox article, the FBI sent one of the rolls of Minox film found in Oswald's possessions to the New York lab on 11/25/63, a day before the official transfer of evidence. If you examine the First Day Evidence photo carefully, you will notice what appears to be a roll of Minox film (marked #3) by the bottom right-side of the case, partially covered by the Michael Paine name tag. You can compare it to the roll of Minox film found just above the Minox camera in the color photo at the top of this page. Could this be the roll sent to the New York lab???
What else did the FBI obtain with these items??? The fact that the case is B2 and Ruth Paine's name tag (marked #2) is B18 likely indicates that there were at least 18 items cataloged at that time. Three of them are known for sure, and the film sent to the New York lab would probably be a fourth item.
The Minox Light Meter Sleight of Hand
As discussed in the original Minox article, DPD gave a Minox camera they had in evidence to the FBI in the 11/26/63 transfer of evidence to the FBI. Despite a great deal of evidence to the contrary, the FBI later claimed that the camera they inventoried and signed for was actually a Minox light meter.
There is a Minox light meter in a case (circled) visible in the First Day Evidence photo (full-frame on the left). Is it possible that DPD confused this light meter for a camera as the FBI claimed??? No, considering the following:
Since several of the items in the photo made their way to the FBI through some back-door channel, it seems likely that the light meter might have been taken at the same time as the case and name tags. When the camera inconveniently appeared on the transfer sheet a few days later, the FBI already had the light meter in its possession and it was a simple matter to switch it for the camera. Especially since there was no record of the transfer of items B1 thru B18.
On June 10, 1964, Warren Commission General Counsel Lee Rankin wrote J. Edgar Hoover regarding the return of the Paine's photo equipment. According to the letter, Ruth Paine asked that these items be returned:
Rankin indicates in his letter that the Commission found these "...various items of personal property of the Paines included on the list which are no longer of any interest to the Commission." Rankin then list the various item along with their id number. He lists item B2 as a "Minox light meter case."
However, Hoover's letter to the Dallas SAC 9 days later (see copy above) identifies B2 as a Minox camera case, NOT a light meter case. Here is a copy of that portion of Rankin's signed letter (top), along with an unsigned photocopy of it (bottom). Notice that the unsigned copy has been altered to correctly show that B2 was a camera case, which indicates that the final signed copy was knowingly sent with the error unchanged.
The items were finally returned to Ruth Paine on 8/12/64 by G.W. Hill of DPD property department. The invoice, signed by Ruth Paine, correctly shows B2 as a Minox camera case. Why would the Paine's ask for the Minox accessories to be returned and not the camera???
Click here to read Jim Hargrove's article showing that the FBI secretly took possession of the evidence before November 26, 1963. Return to the Minox Article Return to Home Page