The Rosenberg Case

Despite massive, worldwide protest, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed on June 19, 1953, at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, NY. They were convicted of Conspiracy to Commit Espionage in one of the most hotly-debated trials in U.S. history.

Case Summary

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Rosenbergs in the park

"We were comforted in the sure knowledge that others
would carry on after us."

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Rosenberg Mentions of the Day

  • #rosenbergmotd
    Today's Rosenberg Mention of the Day comes from TIME's review of "The Apprentice," a feature film which premiered at the Cannes film festival earlier this week. The film portrays a young Donald Trump… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Today's Rosenberg Mention of the Day includes a short summary on Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, who issued a stay of execution in the Rosenberg Case. He was confirmed 85 years ago this… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    In a recent publication for Monthly Review, elder son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and RFC Advisory Board member Michael Meeropol shares an in-depth history of Judge Irving R. Kaufman, who presided… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    For today's Rosenberg Mention of the Day, we share this article on the legacy of Roy Cohn: Trump confidant and mentor, prosecuting attorney during Ethel and Julius Rosenberg's trial, and catalyst for… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Today’s Rosenberg Mention of the Day comes from a fascinating review of current TV series, including “Fellow Travelers.” Author Victoria A. Brownworth clearly is a fan of the show, and a historian,… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Folks in the Boston area might be interested to know that "Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. Part 2: Perestroika," presented by Central Square Theater and Bedlam, continues at… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Today’s literary Rosenberg Mention of the Day comes from the Times of India courtesy of Sylvia Plath: “'It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs and I didn’t know… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    On this day in 1950, Ethel Rosenberg was arrested and charged with "conspiracy to commit espionage" after testifying before a grand jury. In 2016, the RFC and the Meeropol family launched a petition… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    This unusual Rosenberg Mention of the Day focuses on a new short dance film: "The experimental films of Breton Tyner-Bryan are a collection of dance-inspired art pieces, which are all part of her… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    In what has become an annual 4th of July tradition, we’re sharing this remarkable alternative "National Anthem: Arise Arise" by activist artist and RFC friend, Jean Rohe. It's gorgeous and hits on so… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Now available to stream: "The Rosenberg Case 70 Years Later: Fighting Fascism Then and Now" For folks who missed either of our live screenings in June 2023 (or would like to rewatch or share it), our… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Today's #RosenbergMOTD is this excellent essay by Paul Von Blum in Truthdig, which begins, "On that June 19th evening in 1953, I was a small kid in a suburb of Philadelphia, concerned above all with… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    BREAKING: Rosenberg sons Michael and Robert Meeropol call on Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to direct the NSA and the National Archives to declassify hundreds of thousands of pages… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Thank you to Renée Graham of the Boston Globe for this thoughtful tribute to the late, great Harry Belafonte. We loved this sentiment and are honored for our organization to be counted among the… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Earlier this month marked Paul Robeson's 125th birthday. Robeson was a fierce civil rights and antifascist activist, musician and a supporter of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg (he even participated in a… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Today's Rosenberg Mention of the Day comes from Washington, D.C. where the Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater will present a free, one-night-only reading of "Angels in America" on… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    The RFC's spring newsletter is here! This issue is especially packed with news and updates as June 19th will mark 70 years since the Rosenbergs' executions. The RFC will be commemorating the… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Book Riot issued a list of 8 contemporary Jewish fiction books, and among them is "Ethel's Song: Ethel Rosenberg's Life in Poems," a collection written for teenaged readers by Barbara Krasner. (You… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    On this day, February 23, 1868, civil rights activist, author and scholar W. E. B. Du Bois was born. Du Bois was a public supporter of the effort to save Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. He spoke at the "… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    On this day, we mark 70 years since President Eisenhower denied Ethel and Julius Rosenberg's first bid for executive clemency on Feb 11th, 1953. It was one of the first decisions Eisenhower faced in… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    This Thurs. Jan 26th, 2023 at 12pm (Central), the Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum will host a hybrid event, "President Eisenhower’s Decision Concerning the Execution of Julius and Ethel… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: As Meryl Streep joins the cast of the "Only Murders in the Building" tv series, this article reminds readers that she also once played Ethel Rosenberg in "Angels in… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Today's #RosenbergMOTD comes from the Silicon Valley Jewish Film Fest. The all-virtual festival, running from Oct 23rd through Nov 6th, will feature a wide variety of films, including the documentary… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    On this day in 2015, in a ceremony on the steps of City Hall, NYC Council members gathered, with three generations of Ethel Rosenberg's descendants present, to issue a stunning proclamation in Ethel'… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    New #RosenbergMOTD: Monadnock Ledger-Transcript covers RFC Founder Robert Meeropol's July 22nd talk for the 2022 Amos Fortune Forum in Jaffrey, NH. As the younger son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg,… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Today’s #RosenbergMOTD features the inclusion of ETHEL ROSENBERG: An American Tragedy, by Anne Sebba. (St. Martin’s Griffin, 336 pp., $18.99) in the NYTimes’ “New in Paperback” feature. According to… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: Anne Sebba, the author of "Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy" has published a Q&A this week in the lead-up to her biography's paperback edition release in the UK… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    For today's #RosenbergMOTD, we are delighted to share this excellent recorded interview from yesterday's "Issues that Matter with Cynthia," which featured RFC Founder Robert Meeropol (Ethel Rosenberg… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    This Rosenberg Mention of the Day comes from a recent letter to the editor comparing charges faced by the Rosenbergs and the *lack* of accountability facing certain right-wing leadership in recent… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    On this day, April 5, 1951, Federal Judge Irving R. Kaufman sentenced Ethel and Julius Rosenberg to death, one week after a jury convicted them of conspiracy to commit espionage. In his sentencing… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    On this day: March 29, 1951 Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage. Last year on the 70th anniversary of the conviction, RFC Founder Robert Meeropol shared his… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Today’s Rosenberg Mention of the Day highlights the more controversial work of pop artist Andy Warhol. “The world loves Andy's bright and easily-digestible pop art, but there is a much darker side… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Today's Rosenberg Mention of the Day comes from a beautiful article about RFC Advisory Board member Angela Davis and a lifetime dedicated to revolution. She discusses that while imprisoned in the… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day // A new podcast episode of "Now What?" with Carole Zimmer features Michael Meeropol, older son to Julius and Ethel, to discuss his parents and his childhood. The show… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Congratulations to Anne Sebba: her biography of Ethel Rosenberg was just short listed for the 2022 Wingate Literary Prize! The UK-based honor “is awarded to the best book, fiction or non-fiction, to… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    We are honored to learn that The Guardian named this article one of their "US editor's pick: best of 2021." It was originally published on June 19th, on the 68th anniversary of Ethel and Julius… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    It’s a rainy, fall day. Perfect reading weather. 🍂 Returning to this brilliantly written biography by Anne Sebba, "Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy." In one passage, Sebba relates the story of… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day, courtesy of an excellent review of Anne Sebba’s biography of Ethel (we especially appreciate the reviewers conclusion re: Anne & Abel Meeropol): “Nearly 70 years… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: A review of Anne Sebba’s biography by Martha Sonnenberg that “must, of necessity, begin with a personal note..." "When I was 13 years old, my mother took, from the deep… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Today’s Rosenberg MOTD comes from “across the pond” courtesy of what sounds like a fascinating literary festival: “In an age of fake news that can create misinformation on crucial issues, Ilkley… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: We're mourning the loss of David Alman, a major figure in the Rosenberg Case struggle who died earlier this month at the age of 102. He & his wife Emily were… Read More
  • #onthisday
    #OnThisDay in 2015, "Ethel Rosenberg Day of Justice in the Borough of Manhattan" was declared on Sep 28, Ethel's 100th birthday. In honor of this momentous day, we share some of the powerful remarks… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: Sharing Foreign Affair's latest review of "Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy", a brief statement acknowledging that prejudice (misogyny, antisemitism, anti-communism… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: Sharing a lovely and fitting tribute to legendary actor Ed Asner (an "unflagging supporter of socialist causes") which shares a number of stories of his art &… Read More
  • #ExonerateEthel
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: We're pleased to share Ellen Meeropol's publication for Lilith Magazine, a thoughtfully crafted reflection on two recently published books focused on Ethel Rosenberg.… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Excellent news to share! Ivy Meeropol (granddaughter to the Rosenbergs)'s documentary "Bully. Coward. Victim." has been nominated for a 2021 Emmy for Outstanding Historical documentary! The film… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: New from WAMC Northeast Public Radio, an illuminating interview with both Michael Meeropol, older son of Ethel & Julius Rosenberg, and author Anne Sebba to discuss… Read More
  • #notesfromourcmmty
    Sharing one of our #notesfromourcmmty today. This one is from an RFC supporter who gathered in support of the Rosenbergs with their family all those years years ago ♡ To all who hold the legacy of… Read More
  • #ExonerateEthel
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: ICYMI - RFC Founder Robert Meeropol & NYT bestselling author Anne Sebba discuss Sebba's latest biography which focuses on the life of Ethel Rosenberg, the wife and… Read More
  • #ExonerateEthel
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: ICYMI - Jenn Meeropol's "Exonerating Ethel" presentation delivered on June 6th, 2021 to the Community Church of Boston to commemorate the 68th anniversary of the… Read More
  • #notesfromourcmmty
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: Stories and donations continue to stream in to the RFC in response to the June 19th anniversary of Ethel & Julius Rosenberg's executions. Here's one of the #… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: The Guardian reviews "Ethel Rosenberg: A Cold War Tragedy" (the UK title of Anne Sebba's new biography) -- "Sebba has dug deep beneath this famous and archetypically… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: On Tues 6/29 at 7PM EDT, the Odyssey Bookshop is hosting a free (virtual) event, a conversation with Anne Sebba, author of "Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy" and RFC… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: Thank you to everyone who made the anniversary of June 19th so very meaningful this year, whether you shared your story with us, made a gift to the RFC in honor of Ethel… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: Fantastic article published over the weekend, featuring deeply personal interviews with RFC Founder Robert Meeropol and RFC Advisory Board Member Michael Meeropol about… Read More
  • #childrenofresistance
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: On the 68th anniversary of her grandparents’ execution, RFC Executive Director Jenn Meeropol shares her thoughts on another recent anniversary: April 5th marked exactly… Read More
  • #notesfromourcmmty
    Remembering the Rosenbergs today 💔 #notesfromourcmmty #RosenbergMOTD #EthelRosenberg #JuliusRosenberg #RosenbergCase #RemembertheRosenbergs #ExonerateEthel Image quote reads: “I was 13 years old when… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    In their final letter to their sons, Ethel & Julius Rosenberg wrote that they were "comforted in the sure knowledge that others would carry on after us." On this anniversary of their executions,… Read More
  • #notesfromourcmmty
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: As we anticipate tomorrow's anniversary of the execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, we can't help but think of the communities of support who kept hope alive and… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    We're holding space in our hearts for two momentous anniversaries this week. Being fully in the joy and fully in the grief, as life so often calls upon us to do: ◼ We're celebrating that Juneteenth,… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: Excerpted from her biography "Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy," Anne Sebba's new essay for Lit Hub explores the influence of the Rosenberg trial, the Red Scare era… Read More
  • #ethelrosenberg
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: Wow! Anne Sebba (Ethel Rosenberg's biographer) published in TIME today: "I fervently believe 2021 is a potent time to look again at Ethel as a woman in her own right,… Read More
  • #ethelrosenberg
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: "The reason why I believe Ethel’s story is as important today as ever is to realize what can happen when fear, a forceful and blunt weapon in the hands of authority,… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: We're pleased to announce that Anne Sebba's new biography "Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy" is available today! It is a powerful and intimate look into Ethel's life… Read More
  • #artistsasactivists
    Artists as Activists Mention of the Day: In his fascinating review of Aaron Leonard's new book, The Folk Singers and the Bureau: The FBI, the Folk Artists and the Suppression of the Communist Party,… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: 103 years ago today (on May 12, 1918) Julius Rosenberg was born in New York City. Julius & Ethel, the inspiration of the RFC, believed that others would carry on… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: This Mothers' Day we're delighted to share this beautiful look into Ethel Rosenberg's early life and love of music 💕 Take a walk through a collection of her favorite… Read More
  • #strangefruitmotd
    Sharing this excellent piece about the history of the iconic protest song "Strange Fruit" for today's joint Strange Fruit & Rosenberg Mention of the Day: From the article, "In the 21st century, '… Read More
  • #onthisday
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: #OnThisDay 70 years ago on April 5, 1951, Ethel & Julius Rosenberg were sentenced to death by Judge Irving Kaufman after being convicted of "conspiracy to commit… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: On this day, March 29, 1951, after a deeply tainted, politically-motivated trial lasting three weeks, Julius & Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of conspiracy to commit… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: As the 70th anniversary of Julius & Ethel Rosenberg's conviction approaches, we share this timely piece about what Ethel's conviction in particular exposes about the… Read More
  • #rosenbergmotd
    Rosenberg Mention of the Day: Announcing a NEW biography on the life of Ethel Rosenberg, written by New York Times bestselling author Anne Sebba. Read the RFC's article with more details here: https… Read More

The Rosenbergs' Last Letter

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.

Remote video URL

Exonerate Ethel

In 2016, the RFC and the Meeropol family launched a petition campaign calling on President Obama to exonerate Ethel Rosenberg, after the release of previously secret grand jury records provided additional proof that Ethel was not a spy, and that the government knew that at the time but prosecuted and executed her anyway. The petition garnered massive press coverage and tens of thousands of supporters, and significantly altered the public narrative about Ethel.

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Press Coverage

Sons of Cold War spies reinvestigate their parents' case

It was called "The Crime of the Century," one of the most famous espionage cases of the Cold War.  In 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sent to the electric chair for conspiring to provide the… Read More

Unsealed 1950 testimony minimizes Ethel Rosenberg's spying role

Newly unsealed testimony from Ethel Rosenberg’s brother, David Greenglass, minimizes her role in the spying operations of her husband, Julius Rosenberg, furthering public incredulity about her actual… Read More

Secret Grand Jury Testimony From Ethel Rosenberg’s Brother Is Released

More than six decades later, the prosecution of Ethel Rosenberg remains one of America’s most controversial criminal cases: Her conviction — and eventual execution — for joining in her husband Julius… Read More
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Close-up of Robert Meeropol behind microphone

Robert Meeropol is the younger son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, and founder of the Rosenberg Fund for Children. He is an activist, attorney, writer and public speaker. In his 23 years at the RFC, Robert assisted hundreds of children whose parents also have been attacked for their social activism.

Contact us to request an interview or speaking engagement with Robert Meeropol, for Rosenberg or Meeropol-related photos or permissions, or for other questions.