Lea Schiavi

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Lea Schiavi (March 2, 1907- – April 24, 1942) was an Italian anti-fascist journalist. She was married to American war journalist Winston Burdett. She died in the line of duty at the hands of Russian soldiers.

The Murder

Schiavi was murdered by undetermined assailants in South Persia in 1942 while her husband was reporting in India. While the murder was never solved it is believed to be, based on a story told by Burdett, that the murder was directly related to Burdett's no longer spying for the Soviet Union due to his ongoing disillusionment with Communism.

The story Burdett told was that his wife was working in South Persia, reporting from Kurdistan, when her vehicle was stopped by a truck full of Russian soldiers. The soldiers immediately started specifically asking if she was in the car. When they found out she was, she was killed instantly. Burdett believed she was killed because she had uncovered links between military training camps in Iran and an upcoming communist coup in Yugoslavia.

Schiavi's murder partly influenced Burdett to testify about his espionage before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee.


  • Presentations on Murrow's Boys from Kentucky University:
  • The National Review Burdett Obit:

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