Julius and Ethel Rosenberg's sons tell Anderson Cooper how it felt to be the children of the infamous spies, in a story that sheds new light on a central event of the Cold War
October 16, 2016
Anderson Cooper, correspondent
(excerpted from broadcast transcript)
Before he leaves office, President Obama will have to sort through more than 13,000 petitions from federal prisoners seeking pardons or reduced sentences. But one of the most unusual requests he has been asked to consider concerns two people who were already executed, more than 60 years ago. It was called “The Crime of the Century.” In 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sent to the electric chair for conspiring to provide the secrets of the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. They left behind two little boys, Robert and Michael, just 6 and 10 years old at the time.
The brothers Rosenberg were the orphans of Communist spies at the height of the McCarthy era. Relatives were afraid to take them in. One town blocked them from attending its schools. What ever happened to those two little boys? They’re the ones asking President Obama to proclaim that their mother was wrongfully convicted. It’s a remarkable story, a piece of American history that hasn’t been fully told. Watch the full segment at the link above.
August 10, 2015
OUR parents, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, were executed on June 19, 1953, after being convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage. That was the formal legal charge, but in the public’s mind they were executed for providing our archenemy, the Soviet Union, with the ability to destroy our country with atomic bombs. Theirs was the most sensational case of the McCarthy period.
Last month, the grand jury testimony of our uncle David Greenglass, who died last year, was made public, the latest in a trove of material released since 2008 after we and others filed a legal action. Back then, we concluded that our father was legally guilty of the conspiracy charge, but not of atomic spying, and we maintain that neither of our parents deserved the death penalty.
The newly released 46-page transcript — along with previously released testimony and other records — demonstrates conclusively that our mother was prosecuted primarily for refusing to turn on our father. We now call on President Obama to acknowledge that Ethel Rosenberg was wrongly convicted and executed. Read the remainder of this op-ed at the link above.
10/25/16, Jeremy Kuzmarov
Along with the Haymarket and Sacco and Vanzetti trials, the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg during the McCarthy-era stands as among the gravest miscarriages of justice in American history.
In the last few months, the Rosenberg family has amassed over 13,000 signatures (http://www.rfc.org/ethel) calling on President Obama to issue an executive proclamation nullifying the guilty verdict for Ethel modeled after what Governor Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts did on the 50th anniversary of Sacco and Vanzetti...Read the rest of the story at the link above.
EASTHAMPTON – The decades-long saga of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, executed in 1953 on charges of being Soviet spies, is taking a new turn, with their sons asking President Obama to formally exonerate their mother, citing recently disclosed proof she was framed.
Brothers Michael and Robert Meeropol plan to submit their request to Obama after the election, detailing how the prosecution faked evidence that sent her to the electric chair. It is their hope that Obama will act on the case, one of the numerous requests for pardons and clemency on his desk before he leaves office. Read the full article at the link above.
The sons who were orphaned in one of America's most famous spy cases will appear in a segment on "60 Minutes" Sunday, where they will make the case for exonerating their mother.
Michael Meeropol and his brother, Robert Meeropol, will appear on the newsmagazine in a taped segment that will run in two parts, both Sunday. The show will air following CBS coverage of a late afternoon NFL game.
The Meeropol brothers are the sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed in 1953 after their conviction in connection with passing nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union. In recent years, the Meeropols have acknowledged evidence of their father's involvement but maintain the conviction and execution of their mother was the result of a Red Scare witch hunt that defied accepted standards of American justice - and the evidence. Read more at the link above.
By CAITLIN ASHWORTH
EASTHAMPTON — Michael Meeropol was just 10 years old when his mother and father, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, were executed for conspiracy to commit espionage. His brother, Robert, was 6.
It was 1953, during the McCarthy era of widespread anti-communist panic. The Rosenbergs were convicted of passing secrets about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union, and were sentenced to die in the electric chair. It was one of the most notable cases of that time.
However, Robert Meeropol said there is evidence that proves his mother’s trial was perjured and wrongful. The charges against Ethel Rosenberg and the threat of the death penalty, according to Meeropol, was meant to intimidate Julius Rosenberg into cooperating. Meeropol said his mother was executed for being a “master atomic spy.”
“She wasn’t a spy,” he said last week.
Sixty-three years after the execution, the Meeropol brothers are calling on the Obama administration to issue a proclamation exonerating Ethel Rosenberg before the president leaves office. Read more at the link above.
Readers of the People's World and its antecedents may know something about the federal spying case against Julius and Ethel Rosenberg that led to their execution at Sing Sing Prison on June 19, 1953. In the light of newly uncovered evidence, a campaign is now underway to exonerate Ethel. The campaign, directed to Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and President Barack Obama in their final months of office, was launched recently on the website of the Rosenberg Fund for Children (RFC), an organization founded in 1990 to support the children of present-day activists who have been imprisoned or otherwise separated from their children. Read more at the link above.
The Rosenberg Fund for Children is petitioning the White House to exonerate Ethel Rosenberg. Along with her spouse Julius Rosenberg, Ethel was executed on June 19, 1953, after being convicted of trumped-up charges of committing “espionage” for the Soviet Union.
RFC co-founder Robert Meeropol and his brother Michael Meeropol have addressed an open letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and President Barack Obama, asking for a formal acknowledgement of the miscarriage of justice suffered by their mother, Ethel Rosenberg. Read more at the link above.
In 1953, just two years after being convicted for conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act, Ethel Rosenberg, along with her husband Julius, was executed by the United States government. The Rosenbergs left behind two young children Robert, age six, and Michael, age ten.
The execution sparked considerable domestic and international protests, with figures such as, Pablo Picasso, Albert Einstein, and even the Pope calling for President Eisenhower to halt the execution. In the decades after, the debate over what the Rosenbergs had actually done and the extent to which government misconduct contributed to their conviction raged on. Forty years after the execution, the American Bar Association held a mock trial–presided over by a federal judge–for the Rosenbergs. It resulted in an acquittal.
With the Cold War over, however, formerly classified or unavailable information (including to the prosecutor in the Rosenberg case) became public. It is now known that Julius Rosenberg did engage in espionage for the Soviet Union, though he most likely did not pass on atomic secrets, as he was alleged to have done during the trial. Newly released information though has only served to cast considerable doubt on Ethel’s guilt. Read the full story at the link above.