United States Agency for Global Media

Profile photo

Leonid Karas

RFE/RL Contributor

Leanid ‘Liavon’ Karas, 30, was a writer for Radio Liberation’s Belarusian Service and one of the presenters on the Service’s initial broadcast on May 20, 1954. Karas unexpectedly did not show up for work on September 1, 1954. One week later, on September 7, his body washed up on the banks of Munich’s Isar River, along with his wallet and Belgian passport. In December 1954, the Munich newspaper “Süddeutsche Zeitung” published a small article that said in part: “At that time, it was believed that Karas had been the victim of some unfortunate accident. However, new information allows us to assume that Karas died as a result of a crime.” The crime remains unsolved, but friends and colleagues had no doubt that Karas’ death was the work of Communist agents.

Prior to joining Radio Liberation in early 1954, Karas was a teacher in Belarus who fled West with retreating German armed forces in 1944, who worked as a displaced person’s camp guard in Germany and was an activist in the Belarusian youth organization “Twelve.”