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June 19th, 1953: Another Anniversary of the Execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg Passes

In the conclusion to the article, I write:

All of this now seems very far away, even farther than sixty years ago. Yet these two events show how the Soviets and their allies in the US ran a propaganda campaign on our own soil that convinced many Americans to adopt its themes and fight on behalf of a couple who indeed were, just as the US prosecutors claimed, spies for the Soviet Union. The KGB was able to use the Rosenbergs to offset the injustice of the Slansky trial and counter the anti-Semitism at its heart while also creating anti-American sentiment in Europe…. Meanwhile, members of the French left, as we now know, not only did and said nothing about the Slansky verdict, but worked hard to make it disappear -- almost as hard as they worked to inflate the Rosenberg trial to epic proportions as a way of prosecuting America for exactly the kind of crimes that the Soviets had committed.

And yet, it is always surprising to see how learned people do not comprehend this. Recently, in the web pages of no less than The Jerusalem Post, David Turner actually wrote a blog which he titled “The Rosenberg Show Trial,” in which he asserts that the United States “used the courts to pursue political ends.” According to Mr. Turner, the government knew that the only thing Rosenberg gave to the Soviets was information about radar, “not the bomb.” Of course, none of this is true. Yet ignorance of the facts does not stop someone like Mr. Turner from using the case as a vehicle for his campaign to free Jonathan Pollard.

Next year, the 60th anniversary of their execution, I will undoubtedly once again return to this issue, of which by now, I am rather sick and tired. Michael Meeropol has indicated he is getting ready to give major speeches on the case, and both sons have a steady career touring college campuses where they give this new generation’s students misinformation about the case on a regular basis. Both men have refused to meet me or others in recent forums to which they were extended an invitation, preferring instead to talk only to gullible students who learn about the case from them, or to talk only to their fellow true believers at friendly forums of their own choosing.

The fight to establish the truth of the Rosenberg case, so important for the symbols it reflects, will not come to an end until their dwindling defenders disappear or decide to give up their forlorn effort.

thumbnail and image courtesy shutterstock and Jan Sommer