Sons seeking to exonerate their long-dead parents for their spying for Stalin are resorting to dishonest evasions
On Sunday night, CBS broadcast a moving segment on its 60 Minutes program. Entitled “The Brothers Rosenberg,” the piece delivered a deeply personal account of how the young sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg—the Soviet spies executed in 1953 for passing secrets to Moscow—coped with that terrible event and got on with their shattered lives.
Robert and Michael Meeropol (they took the surname of their adoptive parents), just 6 and 10 years old when their birth parents went to the electric chair, are now old men, and they have campaigned for decades to clear Julius and Ethel, the only people executed by the United States for espionage during the Cold War.
None can deny that their story is chock-filled with pathos. CBS has them explaining how they asked to see the electric chair where their parents were soon to die, then recounting how there wasn’t exactly a long line of volunteers to take in the orphans of traitors back in 1953.
Getting their father off the hook for his service to Stalin, including passing atomic secrets to Moscow that helped the Soviets get “the bomb” years before anybody in Washington thought they would, became all but impossible in the mid-1990s, when the National Security Agency declassified top secret intercepts that made it crystal-clear that Julius Rosenberg was a Soviet spy.
Since then, the Meeropols have focused their attention on clearing their mother instead. Last year they sent an open letter to President Obama, asking him to exonerate Ethel. “Our mother was not a spy,” they stated, demanding that the White House “acknowledge that Ethel Rosenberg was wrongly convicted and executed.”
Read the rest at The Observer …