The sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the infamous Soviet spies executed in 1953 for nuclear espionage, are asking President Obama to posthumously exonerate their mother of the charges. Both Rosenbergs were killed for spying on The Manhattan Project and allegedly passing along secrets of the atomic bomb to the Soviets. Ethel’s brother, David Greenglass, was an employee working on The Manhattan Project who testified that Julius had recruited him to pass along secrets of the bomb so that the Russians could build their own.
Greenglass originally testified that his sister had nothing to do with her husband’s espionage only to reverse the testimony later on, which led to both his sister and her husband being executed by the US government. It was found out years later that Greenglass had reversed his testimony specifically to protect he and his wife from further persecution, but that protection meant that charges were leveled against his sister that otherwise may not have been.
In response to this knowledge coming to light, brothers Robert and Michael Meeropol (the pair took the name of their eventual foster parents), are now saying the assumption of their mother’s guilt is “absolutely absurd” and that she was falsely convicted due to “judicial misconduct and perjured testimony.” The duo also gave a statement to reporters before delivering their petition. Robert said,
“We are giving the United States government the chance to acknowledge the injustice done to our mother. This is a test to see if our government has the courage and commitment to true justice to acknowledge the terrible wrong it did to her and to us.”
“Our claim is that the trial of Ethel Rosenberg was a perversion of justice. The FBI files show that my mother was only arrested to use as a lever against her husband.”
His brother Michael added his own sentiments about Obama’s responsibility in this situation.
“After 40 years of research and struggle, we are sharing with President Obama the fruits of that struggle and once again asking for presidential action.
This time we are not merely advocates for our family, but for our country. It is never too late to learn from the mistakes of the past.”
The brothers petitioned the White House on the morning of their parent’s execution more than 60 years ago, and showed up again to hand deliver a letter on Thursday morning. Whether Obama will take the opportunity to reverse the decision made by President Eisenhower so many years ago after a similar gesture by two brothers missing their departed parents remains to be seen. The request comes at an eerily repetitive time in the country’s history, with accusations of Russian espionage and political interference in the US government once again swirling.
Although they readily admit their father participated in espionage for the Soviet Union during that time, the brothers have fought for their mother’s exoneration for many years. This could finally be the end of that battle, but it is all up to President Obama before he leaves office.
(via The Washington Post)