|Ethel and Julius Rosenberg|
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.
The evidence presented against Ethel at the trial, in March 1951, consisted mainly of testimony by her brother, David, and his wife, Ruth. They testified that in November 1944, Ethel helped Julius persuade Ruth to recruit David (an Army machinist working at the weapons installation in Los Alamos, N.M.) into Julius’s espionage ring. They testified that Ethel participated in a September 1945 meeting at which David gave a sketch to Julius of a cross-section of the bomb, and at which Ethel typed David’s handwritten notes explaining the diagram.
The record refutes these claims. David’s grand jury testimony, on Aug. 7, 1950, made no mention of any such meeting with Ethel, much less the typing.
Source: The New York Times, The Opininon Pages, Michael Meeropol and Robert Meeropol, August 10, 2015
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