Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Rosenbergs revisited

Rosenberg backers say, ‘Case is still full of holes’
By Mary Reinholz
The Villager

For nearly six decades now, friends and sympathizers of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg have marched, picketed and petitioned the U.S. government, claiming that the Lower East Side couple were framed by prosecutors as atomic spies for Russia before they were unjustly executed in Sing Sing’s electric chair on June 19, 1953.

The sensational case seared the American psyche during the Cold War and still elicits passionate debate even as many Rosenberg supporters came to believe that Julius and possibly Ethel had been at least minor players in an espionage ring starting when the U.S. was an ally of the Soviet Union during the Nazi onslaught of World War II.

Then came a stunning acknowledgement last September: For the first time, Morton Sobell, a co-defendant of the Rosenbergs who had maintained his innocence before and after more than 18 years in federal prisons, including Alcatraz, admitted to Sam Roberts of The New York Times that he had been a spy with Julius Rosenberg, passing on military and industrial secrets to the Soviets.