Today is the 68th anniversary of my grandparents’ execution. But since the start of the year I’ve been more focused on an anniversary we just passed: April 5th marked exactly 70 years since Judge Kaufman sentenced my grandparents to death. Many of you know the nightmare my father and uncle experienced after their parents’ arrest, conviction and execution but this recent milestone has me thinking about the more intangible consequences of the loss of my grandparents and so many others who resisted repression and are still resisting today.
This summer marks my 10th year as a staff member at the Rosenberg Fund for Children. While I no longer feel like a new employee, it’s hard to believe I’ve worked here for a decade. I joined the RFC as the Granting Coordinator in 2007. I stayed in that role until the fall of 2011, when I became the Associate Director. I spent the next 18 months working closely with my father, Robert Meeropol, as he prepared to retire as Executive Director (a position he’d held since he started the organization in the fall of 1990). In September of 2013, I became the second Executive Director of the RFC.
On this 64th anniversary of the execution of my grandparents, I’m struck by a related milestone that passed without fanfare a few months ago: the 60th anniversary of my dad and uncle’s adoption by Anne and Abel Meeropol. Taken together, these events capture the spirit of the Rosenberg Fund for Children. My father founded the RFC to honor his birth parents’ resistance and to repay the community which allowed him and his older brother to flourish despite the devastation visited on their family.
Today is the anniversary of my grandparents’ executions. As it approached, I prepared the statement below reflecting on the date’s significance. Many members of the Rosenberg Fund for Children network have firsthand memories of the grief and fear the executions elicited among left-wing progressives at the time – a community that felt very much under attack in that moment in history. Sixty three years later I still hear from people who were shaken to their core, but whose response was to resist the repression they were experiencing.