Public Housing is the logical connection to Schindler, but there are other logical considerations. The Schindlers had some serious connections to individuals under investigation for espionage activities. Investigations into suspected espionage activities at the Berkeley Radiation Lab and within the FAECT (Federation of Architects, Engineers, Chemists, and Technicians) had been underway for years.
Any investigation into the Schindler’s activities, and we know that the FBI Field Office in Los Angeles was directed to do just that in mid-November of 1946, might have revealed some level of complicity , regardless of where, or how it originated.
Pauline Schindler-FBI instruction to investigate-November 18, 1946
If Beth had somehow been coaxed into doing spy work for someone, she might have drawn the short straw for such an assignment, especially if she had penetrated communist circles on the housing front (consider the communist party meetings held at Bayview Terrace in SanDiego). Bayview Terrace-San Diego, the Black Dahlia and Rudolph Schindler, by Crow
In this way, a cover-up might have been orchestrated in order to protect a corporate image. It was Walt Disney, co-founder of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, that had originally urged Jack Tenney to investigate reds in Hollywood, and it was Tenney who had investigated Alexander and Wilkinson on the public housing front.
Disney and Tenney
Disney lived across the street from the Del Amos in the 1940’s and the FBI could have consulted Del Amo on matters of mutual concern using Disney as a point man.
It will be recalled that Beth was reportedly taking Spanish lessons from Michael Anthony Otero, who was referred to as her Spanish teacher, and who was associated with the Del Amo Foundation. Otero’s Spanish book was found in her effects following the murder.
Beth had also lived with another Spanish teacher prior during her time in Florida (Carmelita DeVaul) and, as stated in Beth’s FBI file, by a soldier she once dated, had a run in with a car load of five men, “all appearing dark complexioned, possibly all Mexicans.” So there is ample evidence to support the plausibility of this scenario.
Beth had an interest in Spanish for some reason.
It is also well documented that the Del Amo Foundation was an information conduit to Spain. Michael Anthony Otero may have been a “go between” . Elizabeth Short’s meetings with him could have been for the main purpose of exchanging information.
The Del Amo Foundation was located about 500 feet away from the Crown Grill, and it’s possible that an escape to Spain was arranged for Otero after the murder to cut off this line of pursuit.Michael Anthony Otero, The Black Dahlia and Rudolph Schindler, by Crow
A couple of things worth noting that could be related:
(1) Espionage was a high risk game and was about to get even riskier. The switch from military control to civilian control of domestic atomic energy development, ushered in new legislation which featured the death penalty, thus making it “a matter of life and death” for anyone convicted of major violations.
(2) Major Bud Uanna, who was head of security for both the Manhattan Project and the newly forming Atomic Energy Commission, was born and raised in Medford Massachusetts , went to Medford High, and graduated from Tufts College in Medford/Somerville, where he gained status as a local sports hero before joining Army Counter Intelligence in 1941, and soon was in command of 300 agents operating out of First Service Command in Boston.
In 1946, as Chief of the Central Personnel Clearance Office at the newly formed Atomic Energy Commission, he named and established the criteria for the Q Clearance. He was a well-known and respected figure in Medford ,which would have enhanced any local recruiting efforts. And this alone raises the odds that Beth may have known, or was personally involved with someone in the intelligence community..
***** Please Note: I have not established the identity of the woman in the photograph. A positive i.d. would enhance an espionage theory but is not required. The relationships that existed between Rudolph Schindler, the Lansburghs, and the Chevaliers, in and of themselves, is sufficient to merit consideration along these lines*****
This photo was taken on the Chevalier Estate and is dated simply 1947 – if the family had a more specific date, they might have used it . In my opinion, the woman in the photo bears a strong resemblance to Elizabeth Short, especially when compared to her appearance in the Marshall High photos (see below). I may be stating the obvious, but the flowers that Beth used to wear in her hair would be a great place to conceal a couple of hidden microphones.
(To date, I have checked with the San Francisco Main Library, The Stinson Beach Library, and The Marin County Historical Society, none of which can confirm that this event was publisized. The Song of Norway returned to the Curran Theater in May of 1947, but this may not have been when the party was held. The Song of Norway ended it’s Broadway run, and the screen rights were sold, in September of 1946 – two major events – and it makes sense to think that the party might have been held sometime in this vicinity-between late September and early November of 1946 – in celebration of these two key events.)
When I came across Schindler, I was unaware of the book “Exquisite Corpse”. I read the book a couple of years ago and spoke with the author, Mark Nelson, by telephone. His book focuses primarily on the George Hodel/Man Ray relationship. I believe the premise of the book is a good one, which is:
“ Exquisite Corpse presents the theory that Elizabeth Short’s murder may have been informed by surrealist art, and that the killer was familiar with surrealist art and ideas. It also proposes that art created after the murder may have made veiled references to it. “
The killer, in my opinion, spent too much time with the body carefully composing and posing his creation for it to have been done by a jealous lover… who, I think, would have been much sloppier and reckless about it.
Inside the cover of “Exquisite Corpse“ there is a “web of connections” making various art world connections to Hodel.
These people are frankly more aligned with Schindler than with Hodel. The Arensbergs, Diego Rivera, Henry Miller, Lloyd Wright, and Galka Scheyer (who actually lived at the Schindler house). If I remember correctly, Steve Hodel, in “Black Dahlia Avenger” even has a daily planner showing an appointment with Galka Scheyer for a portrait,
But the answer lies just down the street from Franklin avenue.
Galka Scheyer at the Schindler house
George Hill Hodel, at the time of the murder, lived at, what Steve Hodel refers to as, the “Franklin House”. The correct name for the home is “the Sowden House” which was built for John and Ruth Sowden.
Black Dahlia Avenger also makes reference to a frequent visitor by the name of Edmund Teske but doesn’t give him a second look.
Once you incorporate the Sowdens, Lloyd Wright, Teske, and Man Ray, you begin to realize that these people came by way of Barnsdall Art Park less than half a mile down the road from the Sowden house.
There is a great deal of info online on Barnsdall Art Park/Olive Hill. Around the time of the murder it was a functioning USO facility (which has it’s own implications). The place was practically built by Schindler. He came out primarily to bail out Lloyd Wright, Jr. who was having problems with the project and Aline Barnsdall in his father’s absense.
From my perspective, the authors of “Exquisite Corpse” are on to something but have chosen to limit their focus by generally supporting the Hodel theory.
If the claim is surrealism and the name is “Dahlia” you must look at Salvador Dali. Dali was in California at the time of the murder; first at Walt Disney Studios working on “Destino” (which was mysteriously shelved). So here again, Walt Disney’s name turns up. Dali then took off for Del Monte, up the coast, where he would spend most of his time while in the U.S.
Robert Alexander and Pauline Schindler had both come out in favor for justice for the Rosenbergs and Morton Sobell; two well-known soviet spies.
In reviewing this further I discovered that Schindler had a documented relationship with a family from Stinson Beach, The Lansburghs, their son-in-law Haakon Chevalier, and his wife Barbara Lansburgh Chevalier.
Larry Lansburgh, Barbara’s cousin, and his wife, Janet were both long time employees of Disney studios and could have provided a link to the Lansburgh/Chevalier Estate. Larry’s father, G. Albert Lansburgh was the brother of S. Laz Lansburgh, who was one of the financial backers for “the Song of Norway”. (See picture above of woman who resembles Elizabeth Short taken on the Lansburgh Estate)
Haakon Chevalier, was a professor of French Literature at Berkeley, heavily involved with the U.N. and the Nuremberg trials, he was a close friend of both Robert Oppenheimer and Salvador Dali (for whom he had translated several books). You can read about the now famous “Chevalier incident” that resulted in the revoking of Oppenheimer’s government security clearance.
The FBI was all over Chevalier and Oppenheimer in the summer and fall of 1946 resulting in HUAC testimony in October or November of 1947-which was about the time Schindler began spending more time in Palm Springs. It is my assertion that Schindler was hiding out from authorities. This also suggests potential involvement on the part of Salvador Dali, given his relationships with Disney and Chevalier.
HUAC hearings….effectively adding the “Chevalier Incident” to the docket…
Walt Disney and the Lansburghs…
So we know Walt Disney was a member of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals (As was Ayn Rand – please see The Fountainhead, The Black Dahlia and Rudolph Schindler – A Blueprint for Murder). It was not generally known to the public back in 1947, but has since been established, that Walt Disney was an FBI informant.
One source states that Disney made secret trips to Spain for the FBI and the CIA. There’s also the dispute over whether or not he was from Mojacar, and his relationship with Dali is indisputable. Sources indicate he may have met the surrealist as early as 1939. Suffice it to say Spain is a constant here, which makes me wonder a bit more about Michael Anthony Otero.
One coincidence from Disney’s FBI file involves the name of an FBI agent, E. C. Kemper. His name appears several times in the file. Kemper worked in the Crime Records section of the bureau and also did Public Relations and consulting work with the studios. Other FBI records indicate he had been with the bureau back in the early 40’s, so it’s logical to think his relationship with Disney studios goes back quite a ways.
If you recall from the segment I did on Robert Alexander, a man by the same name, Edward C. Kemper, was seeking FBI assistance late in 1947 to have Alexander investigated for communist affiliations. This man would appear to be the agents father. If so, why write Hoover for assistance if your son’s an agent in Hollywood?
Robert Evans Alexander, the Black Dahlia and Rudolph Schindler, by Crow
To learn more about Dr. George Hodel’s connection to the espionage ring please read:
Dr. George Hodel’s Communist Connections