The RFC Community Remembers June 19, 1953

This June 19th was the first anniversary of my grandparents’ executions I observed as the Executive Director of the RFC. While I’ve been here for other anniversaries, this was the first time supporters from across the country contacted me (instead of my father) to share their thoughts and memories of that day.

I was so moved by the many stories people sent me of either being in NYC on June 19, 1953 or of learning about my grandparents, some times decades later, from their own parents or other family members. I wanted to share some of their memories with you:

  • "My husband and I, college students in that terrible year, stood in Union Square, waiting to hear if there had been a stay. Then we heard the news, they were executed before sundown. There was a gigantic moan and wailing. I clung to my husband and we both cried, not just for your grandparents but for what it meant for our country, for all of us…."
  • "I had just come to the US in 1951 after having survived the Holocaust as a hidden child in France. I couldn’t stop reading and asking questions from the progressive community I was surrounded by. The events are seared in my brain. Your letter brings forward a special child’s tragedy…. Thank you for keeping the memory and for the work you do."
  • "[The executions were] so horrible. But I can’t imagine what better could result than the RFC."
  • "Many loving thoughts of you and all your family --- and ALL the families RFC is helping!  [My contribution comes with] strong good wishes and thanks to you all."
  • "I remember the frustration and anger of that day, the feeling of helplessness.  I love what you guys are doing to keep their memories alive."
  • "I just wanted to let you and your family know that I thought of you all yesterday, as I always do on the anniversary of the execution… I know those children you've helped will Carry It Forward."
  • "I was almost ten years old when this horrific event occurred and remember hearing about it from my parents. As I had a younger brother, I identified with the two boys who lost their parents. I have supported the RFC for many years and will continue to do so for the rest of my life."

The RFC is the way my father transformed the pain, sorrow and frustration of this injustice into positive support for children of today’s targeted activists. I am grateful for the opportunity the anniversary provides to pause and celebrate the remarkable organization he created, with help from so many people, to honor his parents and carry forward their legacy. I am very proud to continue his work and thank all of our supporters for allowing me to do so.

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