Julius and Ethel Rosenberg's Un-American Legacy





Mr. Renehan is the author of several books, most recently The Kennedys at War, 1937-1945, published by Doubleday. His home on the web is http://renehan.blogspot.com.

Robert Meeropol - a Springfield, Massachusetts attorney and the younger son of atom spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg - is the founder and administrator of an interesting and ironic institution. Launched in 1990, the Rosenberg Fund for Children (RFC) exists, according to its mission statement,"to provide for the educational and emotional needs of children whose parents have suffered because of their progressive activities and who therefore are no longer able to provide fully for their children."

The inference seems to be that Robert and his brother Michael themselves had parents who suffered because of"progressive activities," rather than because of their willful, treasonous disobedience of American laws against espionage. Indeed, as the web site for the RFC states:"The Fund bears the name of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, who were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage. On June 19, 1953, the Rosenbergs were executed because they refused to implicate others by falsely confessing to giving the 'secret' of the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union."

Falsely confessing? All of the evidence that has come out in the 49 years since their executions tends to indict, rather than exonerate, the Rosenbergs. In 1995, the CIA released"the Venona Cables" - decoded Soviet communications that document, along with other espionage doings, the antics of Julius and Ethel. Khrushchev himself mentions the Rosenbergs in his memoirs, identifying them as spies for Russia. Recently released KGB files backup Khrushchev's assertion. In addition, former KGB agent Alexander Feklisov has admitted to more than 50 meetings with Julius beginning in 1943, around the time Julius left the Communist Party (standard procedure for all American Communists recruited as spies). Whether Ethel Rosenberg's involvement was active or passive, it is clear that at the very least she knew of, endorsed and abetted her husband's intrigues.

Named for convicted traitors, it is perhaps fitting that the RFC includes a convicted felon on its Advisory Board: Leonard Peltier, the well-known American Indian Movement (AIM) activist. Peltier, who murdered a pair of FBI agents at the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975, is currently serving two consecutive life terms in federal prison. On its web site, the RFC refers to Peltier as a"political prisoner."

Another"political prisoner" identified with the RFC is one Linda Evans (no, not the Dynasty actress). Before receiving executive clemency from Bill Clinton on January 20, 2001, Evans had served 15 years of a 40-year federal sentence. At the time of her arrest in 1985, she had 740 pounds of dynamite in her possession and a list of would-be targets that included the US Capitol Building, the National War College, the Washington Navy Yard Computer Center, the Washington Navy Yard Officers Club, the headquarters of the FBI, and the offices of the New York Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. A web site sympathetic to Evans describes her occupation in the 1980s as"working to develop clandestine resistance capable of conducting armed struggle as part of a multi-level overall revolutionary strategy."

The RFC also claims a close relationship with Tom Manning. This domestic terrorist was captured in 1985 and sentenced to 58 years by the federal courts after a series of bombings. Looking back fondly on those explosions, an unapologetic Manning today calls them exercises in"armed propaganda against apartheid and US imperialism." Manning also participated in the murder of a New Jersey state trooper, Philip Lamonaco, four days before Christmas in 1981.

Peltier, Evans and Manning - all of whom advertise themselves as artists as well as revolutionaries - have on occasion donated sketches, paintings and handmade quilts to various RFC fundraising events.

Lately, in talks delivered on campuses across the nation, Robert Meeropol has embraced yet another celebrity radical: cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, whom Meeropol singles out as the first"political prisoner" in the US to face execution since the Rosenbergs."About once a generation," says Meeropol,"our government has to demonstrate the dangerous nature of those who work to transform our society by executing those who symbolize radical social movements."

Of course, as regards day-to-day RFC grantmaking, the children of real political prisoners around the world need not apply. Their parents - Cuban and Chinese dissidents imprisoned for aspiring to the type of freedom that Peltier, Evans, Manning and Meeropol find so abhorrent - are not"progressive" in the eyes of the RFC.

And that's appropriate. In fact, it's exactly how Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (Stalinists both) would have wanted things to be.


comments powered by Disqus

More Comments:


Katie Dixon - 6/18/2004

I really do believe The Rosenburgs were guilty! Ethel had the chance to get out of it by pleading guilty, apparently she thought dying was better than rasing her two sons! She believe her death would be glorious, it wasn't, she just left 2 small sons behind, with no one in this world!~In the early 1920's the lower East side of New York was teaming with Russian Jews, they left Russia either by desire or force, and brought their communist ideas to America and wanted a Utopian society, where everyone was equal, they fought and died for their ideas, but didn't fight for their families, they let them stare and go hungry, but stood firm for communist ideas!~ How stupid can you be? Family ALWAYS comes first!~ Yes the Rosenburgs were fried, and so they should have been, the movie, the granddaughter was in was one sided, did she or Michael or Robert realize how many other people were put in harms way by the Rosenburgs actions? Russia was a real death threat to everybody, I would not have shed a tear for them, I feel sorry for the sons being left with no one! Not one member of that family went to the funeral except one person, Sophie, does that tell the bleeding hearts anything? The Rosenburgs were tried and killed for their actions, and so be it to traitors intending to harm America! They got what they deserved!


Katie Dixon - 6/18/2004

I really do believe The Rosenburgs were guilty! Ethel had the chance to get out of it by pleading guilty, apparently she thought dying was better than rasing her two sons! She believe her death would be glorious, it wasn't, she just left 2 small sons behind, with no one in this world!~In the early 1920's the lower East side of New York was teaming with Russian Jews, they left Russia either by desire or force, and brought their communist ideas to America and wanted a Utopian society, where everyone was equal, they fought and died for their ideas, but didn't fight for their families, they let them stare and go hungry, but stood firm for communist ideas!~ How stupid can you be? Family ALWAYS comes first!~ Yes the Rosenburgs were fried, and so they should have been, the movie, the granddaughter was in was one sided, did she or Michael or Robert realize how many other people were put in harms way by the Rosenburgs actions? Russia was a real death threat to everybody, I would not have shed a tear for them, I feel sorry for the sons being left with no one! Not one member of that family went to the funeral except one person, Sophie, does that tell the bleeding hearts anything? The Rosenburgs were tried and killed for their actions, and so be it to traitors intending to harm America! They got what they deserved!


Gina - 1/6/2004

I agree with Mitch...I was hoping to find out more about the Rosenburgs and see actual facts but i think that this article only shows one side of the case and was clearly written with the intent to crucify these people. I think that capital punishment was extreamly severe since there was such shaky evidence in this short case.


Catherine Williams - 12/17/2003

Try this website http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ ftrials/rosenb/ROSENB.HTM


Brent Pruitt - 11/12/2003

I believe that the rosenburgs did deserve to die but they got off too easily with the judgement that was delt to them. I believe that they should have been put in solitary confinement for the rest of there lives...that way they have all that time to think and bask in thier guilt and let their conscience eat at them both. They got off too easily with the judgement that was give them.That is my opinion


Yogi - 11/3/2003

:p


Robert - 9/23/2003

I believe all that ethel did was sit by and watch. The only crime that she commited was not telling the authorities. Idon't beleive she deserved any of this. Besides her brother david greenglass already admitted to perjury and told the authorities in an interveiw in 2001 that he told them she did it so his wife wouldn't get blamed because his wife is the one who helped type up the documents.


Jennah Dunlap - 9/16/2003

okay, iam trying to do a report on Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, and this tells me not to much! so yeah


Robert K. Hackney - 7/15/2003

I wans't trying to let anyone off the hook and I know guilty people don't always get what they deserve. God did not make this a perfect world, and the only perfect justice will be on Judgement Day.


Rich - 6/19/2003

I concur with Mitch's assessment. Although the case against Julius has apparent potential merits, I have read a lot, and Ethel's involvement is sketchy and weak at best. At any rate, capital punishment at least for her seems extremely out of line. Extremely.


John - 4/17/2003

I like duck how about you?


John - 4/17/2003

Fry the buggers! Yihaa! Get um Bush!


John - 4/17/2003

Fry the buggers! Yihaa! Get um Bush!


John - 4/17/2003

I like duck how about you?


John - 4/16/2003

I like Clinton what up yo


mitch - 2/10/2003

It is difficult to see this article as credible. Taking Mumia Abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier's case out of context, such as not mentioniong their appeals of innocence, suggests the author of the article took information concerning the Rosenbergs out of context as well. I read the article with the hope of learning more about the Rosenberg's case. Instead, I feel as though I cannot trust it. Unfortunately, this leads me to question the credibility of other articles on this website as well.


Darrell Williams - 2/10/2003

yes i do think that that stupid white bastered did kill Meger


Darrell Broce - 1/12/2003

You're correct about Byron Dela Beckwith, but because guilty people don't always get what they deserve (rememnber O J) you can't start letting everyone of the hook


Robert K. Hackney - 12/16/2002

I agree with you totally. Julius and Ethel Rosenburg deserved the death penalty and they got it! Mumia Abu Jamal also deserves it. But so did Byron de Beckwith for killing Megar Evers, and he did not get it.


Judy Anderson - 11/7/2002

I need a web site that states when Ethel Rosenberg was pronounced
dead.


Judy Anderson - 11/7/2002

I need a web site that states when Ethel Rosenberg was pronounced
dead.

History News Network