This week in 1953

June 29th, 2013 by admin

To his friend and attorney Emanuel Bloch, from Julius Rosenberg:
“Be strong for us, beloved friend, and we wish you long life to continue your fruitful work in health and happiness.

— Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, convicted of espionage, electric chair, New York.
Executed June 19, 1953

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were American Communists accused of passing atomic secrets to the Russians. Ethel’s brother David Greenglass confessed to selling nuclear secrets and accused Julius of doing the same. Greenglass also accused his sister of typing up notes of a secret meeting, but decades later he recanted the story.

Both Rosenbergs declined to make official final statements before their executions. Philosopher and novelist Jean-Paul Sartre called the execution a “legal lynching which smears with blood a whole nation. By killing the Rosenbergs, you have quite simply tried to halt the progress of science by human sacrifice.”

In 2008, however, Rosenberg codefendant Morton Sobell admitted that he and Julius were spies for the Soviets. Julius even had two code names, first “Antenna,” then “Liberal,” according to recently released KGB documents. The papers do not reveal whether Ethel had a covert identity. The extent of her involvement in the case remains in question.

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