Petition to exonerate Ethel Rosenberg at nearly 30K signatures
Wikipedia (CC)

In recent days, the petition launched by the Rosenberg Fund for Children (RFC) aimed at exonerating Ethel Rosenberg has taken off. The internet site has picked up the petition and as of this writing, over 15,000 people have signed it there. The overall total number of signers is on track to surpass 30,000 shortly, and is growing quickly.

Readers of the People’s World were recently informed about this petition concerning the federal spying case against Julius and Ethel Rosenberg that led to their execution at Sing Sing Prison on June 19, 1953. In the light of newly uncovered evidence pointing to Ethel’s innocence of the crimes for which she was convicted, the petition campaign is directed to U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and President Barack Obama in their final months of office.

On an October 20th conference call for the Exonerate Ethel campaign, Ethel and Julius’ younger son Robert Meeropol and his daughter Jennifer Meeropol, who is now the executive director of the RFC, spent close to an hour sharing updates on the campaign and taking questions. Notes from that call can be read here.

Robert Meeropol spoke movingly about the recent 60 Minutes double segment interviewing him and his brother Michael about their parents’ case, and the miscarriage of justice for Ethel in particular. He also explained why the RFC petition deals only with Ethel, and not with Julius, who is now known to have been a registered Soviet agent (though hardly guilty of the crimes for which he was convicted). Given that the television interviewers, including host Anderson Cooper, taped at least four hours of conversation with the brothers, and that the resulting program clocked in at only 24 minutes, much was necessarily left out. But what was aired was correct, powerful, and excellent journalism, according to Robert. You can view the main episode on the 60 Minutes website here, and also a short but fascinating “extra” 60 Minutes Overtime video about the story.

Also, you can find third-party documented “Facts about Ethel Rosenberg” as well as photos and statements of high profile petition signers, and other media coverage, in the Exonerate Ethel section at

Finally, you can find the recording of the call here.

The petition outlines the case showing that Ethel was not a spy and the government knew that, but manufactured “evidence” against her to use her as a lever against Julius. When Ethel and Julius did not cooperate with this plan as expected, the government executed her anyway.

The release last summer of David Greenglass’ previously secret grand jury testimony makes the chain of events and false information so clear, that the Meeropol brothers felt their case for exoneration would be compelling.

The Rosenberg Fund for Children was founded in 1990 to support the children of present-day activists who have been imprisoned, attacked, injured, lost jobs, or faced other repression.

To read the petition in full, link to documents provided to substantiate the case, and sign it, click here.


Eric A. Gordon
Eric A. Gordon

Eric A. Gordon is the author of a biography of radical American composer Marc Blitzstein, co-author of composer Earl Robinson’s autobiography, and the translator of a memoir by Brazilian author Hadasa Cytrynowicz. Aside from numerous awards for his writing from the International Labor Communications Association, he received the Better Lemons “Up Late” Critic Award for 2019. His latest project is translating the nine books of fiction by Manuel Tiago (pseudonym for Álvaro Cunhal) from Portuguese, the first volumes available from International Publishers NY.