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

Image
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

  • Still frame from "Charlotte," an animated WWII film about a German Jewish painter voiced by Keira Knightley, which will screen as part of the Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival.
    #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
  • Michael and Robert Meeropol hold the framed Proclamation document before the steps of NYC's City Hall at the Sept 28, 2015 "Ethel Rosenberg Day of Justice in the Borough of Manhattan" ceremony
    #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
  • Robert Meeropol speaking at the podium
    #rosenbergmotd
    New #RosenbergMOTD: Monadnock Ledger-Transcript covers RFC Founder Robert Meeropol's July 22nd talk for the 2022 Amos Fortune Forum in Jaffrey, NH.
  • Image of three book covers side-by-side ("Let the Record Show", "Hell of a Book", "Objects of Desire")
    #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.
  • black and white photo of Anne Sebba, smiling and posing in a highly decorated dining room
    #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
  • Screenshot of the Youtube video recording of "Robert Meeropol & Anne Sebba talk about her book 'Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy'" for "Issues that Matter with Cynthia." The thumbnail image is of Anne Sebba smiling, mid-interview.
    #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
  • Portland Press Herald's logo (dark orange background with white letter P in gothic-style font).
    #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
  • Black and white photo of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg sitting in together in a park. Ethel's arms rest on Julius' shoulders.
    #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.
  • Ethel and Julius Rosenberg prison visit, separated by mesh wire fencing.
    #rosenbergmotd
    On this day: March 29, 1951 Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage.
  • Andy Warhol, speaking into a telephone
    #rosenbergmotd
    Today’s Rosenberg Mention of the Day highlights the more controversial work of pop artist Andy Warhol.
  • Angela Davis poses, seated beside a table with a vase of flowers.
    #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
  • Designed image. On left half is black and white photo of Michael Meeropol. On right half on red background and white font is a portion of Michael's interview and a sound level meter underneath. The "Now What?" Podcast logo is positioned under the sound level meter.
    #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
  • Photo of books stacked on their side. Caption reads, "The books shortlisted for the 2022 Wingate Literary Prize (Photo: Wingate Literary Prize / Twitter)"
    #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
  • Ethel and Julius Rosenberg after their arrest in 1950. Black/white photo. They each stand against a height chart in their respective, side-by-side photos.
    #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
  • A close-up photo of a hand holding up Anne Sebba's biography (paperback edition), "Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy" against the backdrop of a window, beige curtains & a white windowsill. Out the window, greenery & gray skies are visible. The cover of the book depicts a black & white photo of Ethel stepping out of a car, with three men in suits around her, looking towards her from outside the car.
    #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
  • A black and white photo, tinted purple. Ethel Rosenberg steps out of a car facing the camera. Three men in suits, coats, & hats stand around the car and look to her. Ethel wears a mid-length plaid skirt, a white blouse, a coat, and a hat.
    #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):
  • A sepia-tone photo of a group of six friends out to dinner in NYC circa 1940s. They wear suits and dresses, some smile for the picture, others just look at the camera. There are seated around a round table covered with a white tablecloth, empty bottles and glasses on the the tabletop. Three are smoking.
    #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
  • Title: "ilkley literature festival - autumn 2021 - book now" over orange tinted collage of book covers
    #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
  • Photo of David Alman, cropped. He wears a zip up, gray hoodie. In the background is fencing, forest and mountain views.
    #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.
  • Michael & Robert Meeropol pose holding the 2015 NYC Proclamation fo "Ethel Rosenberg Day of Justice in the Borough of Manhattan" gathering
    #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
  • Copy of Anne Sebba's "Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy" on orange background
    #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
  • Ed Asner as newspaper editor Lou Grant in the Mary Tyler Moore Show, circa 1975. (Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images)
    #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
  • Colorful collage of Ethel Rosenberg's face in colorized photos in blues, yellows, and purples
    #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.
  • Collage including screenshot of Director Ivy Meeropol and her father Michael Meeropol for virtual conversation about her film "Bully. Coward. Victim." and movie's logo underneath over three block photos of Roy Cohn in red, yellow, and purple colorized photos.
    #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!
  • WAMC logo - royal blue background with cartoon image of radio microphone in white with orange sound design emanating from top, yellow WAMC letters below. Caption below includes Anne Sebba's book and title "Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy"
    #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
  • Graphic design of RFC donor testimonial (quote included in post text), arranged scrapbook-style, with quote text in silver on a white note card layered over another white note card, taped to a white background with a strip of yellow and white striped piece of tape.
    #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 ♡
  • Screen shot of the online event, split screen between author Anne Sebba (left) and RFC Founder Robert Meeropol (right)
    #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
  • Professional headshot of Jennifer Meeropol, Executive Director of Rosenberg Fund for Children
    #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
  • Web design of the handwritten letter quoted in the post's text. Scrapbook-style layout with beige note paper layered over a gray box, torn paper, fern fronds, and paper bag in the background.
    #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.
  • Ethel and Julius Rosenberg during their trial for espionage in New York. Photograph: AP
    #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
  • Two panel image with book cover on the left of "Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy" and author Anne Sebba on the right
    #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
  • Graphic design with black and white color blocked background, and green circle with RFC beneficiary parent quote inside in white text (quote in post), and "we love you!!" highlighted with pink
    #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
  • Booking photographs of Ethel (left) and Julius Rosenberg (right)
    #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
  • Red square Rosenberg Fund for Children logo in white text
    #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
  • Graphic design with donor quote in white text (text in post), inside a dark gray box. Background is a photo of a forest looking from the ground up to the sky with treetops in the background, all with a black transparent overlay.
    #notesfromourcmmty
    Remembering the Rosenbergs today 💔
  • Black and white photo from 1953 of Ethel/Julius Rosenberg's 2 sons as young children standing in front of the White House with their two guardians.
    #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
  • Black and white photo of Ethel & Julius Rosenberg posing for a photo in the park. Both are seated, Ethel's arms are around Julius.
    #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
  • Red square Rosenberg Fund for Children logo in white text
    #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:
  • Close-up still frame, in color, of Meryl Streep portraying Ethel Rosenberg in the film "Angels in America"
    #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
  • Close-up, black and white photo of Ethel & Julius Rosenberg at Sing Sing, seated and separated by a chain link fence, facing forward.
    #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
  • Close up on Ethel Rosenberg's face, black and white photograph.
    #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
  • Book cover of "Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy"
    #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
  • Pete Seeger entertaining Eleanor Roosevelt, honored guest at a racially integrated Valentine's Day party marking the opening of a canteen for the United Federal Workers of America, a trade union representing federal employees, in then-segregated Washington, D.C. Photographed by Joseph Horne for the Office of War Information, 1944. Credit: Wikimedia.
    #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
  • Black and white photo of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg seated outdoors. Ethel wears a light colored dress and kneels with her arms around Julius's shoulders. Julius sits cross-legged and wears a white shirt, dark pants, and glasses. They are both smiling.
    #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
  • A stack of vinyl albums in their sleeves face the right side of the photo. The last album in the stack is out of its sleeve. They are organized on a tabletop in front of a lamp with a white a gold patterned lampshade, all inside a pale blue painted room.
    #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
  • Black and white photo or Billie Holiday singing on stage in front of a microphone. She wears a floral patterned dress and a fur stole. Her eyes are closed, head tilted to the left, she is singing. 4 band members accompany her including 2 saxophonists, 1 trumpet, & 1 upright bass player. All wear suits. A piano and music stands are visible.
    #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
  • Painting of the faces of Ethel & Julius Rosenberg in the style of a simplistic drawing, in black and white, transposed over the image of the American flag in color. The image rests on a violet background.
    #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
  • Collage of images. 1) Framed in gold, black & white image of Ethel & Julius seated at Sing Sing, they are separated by a chain link fence, facing the camera. 2) framed in pink, black & white photo of protest sign "Mr. President do not let hysterical fear to override justice!" - both images rest on a darkened floral background.
    #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
  • black & white image of Ethel & Julius seated at Sing Sing, they are separated by a chain link fence, facing the camera.
    #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
  • Two copies of Anne Sebba's biography "Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy" rest on a gray backdrop facing up. The US version rests on the left, the UK version rests of the right, tilted to see the spine and cover.
    #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

Who Supported the Rosenbergs?

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

Jul 23, 2017
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

Jul 15, 2015
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

Jul 15, 2015
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.

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