The Rosenbergs' Last Letter

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On June 19, 1953, hours before their execution, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg wrote one final letter to their two young sons: Michael, age 10 and Robby, age six.

In the video below, Angela Davis sets the scene and Eve Ensler and Cotter Smith read the letter, as part of the RFC's CARRY IT FORWARD event that commemorated the anniversary of the executions and celebrated activist families who continue to resist today.

June 19, 1953

Dearest Sweethearts, my most precious children,

Only this morning it looked like we might be together again after all. Now that his cannot be, I want so much for you to know all that I have come to know.  Unfortunately, I may write only a few simple words; the rest your own lives must teach you, even as mine taught me.

At first, of course, you will grieve bitterly for us, but you will not grieve alone. That is our consolation and it must eventually be yours.

Eventually, too you must come to believe that life is worth the living. Be comforted that even now, with the end of ours slowly approaching, that we know this with a conviction that defeats the executioner!

Your lives must teach you, too, that good cannot really flourish in the midst of evil; that freedom and all the things that go to make up a truly satisfying and worthwhile life, must sometimes be purchased very dearly. Be comforted then that we were serene and understood with the deepest kind of understanding, that civilization had not as yet progressed to the point where life did not have to be lost for the sake of life; and that we were comforted in the sure knowledge that others would carry on after us.

We wish we might have had the tremendous joy and gratification of living our lives out with you. Your Daddy who is with me in these last momentous hours, sends his heart and all the love that is in it for his dearest boys. Always remember that we were innocent and could not wrong our conscience.

We press you close and kiss you with all our strength.

Lovingly,
DADDY AND MOMMY
JULIE             ETHEL