Ethel Rosenberg’s Sons Return to White House With Plea for Clemency — 63 Years Later by the Forward

Ethel Rosenberg’s Sons Return to White House With Plea for Clemency — 63 Years Later

The sons of Ethel Rosenberg famously journeyed to the White House in 1953 to deliver a plea for clemency for their mom after she was convicted of spying for the Soviet Union.

The plea fell on deaf ears when Dwight D. Eisenhower was in charge — and she was sent to the electric chair days later.

But 63 years later they returned on December 1 to ask President Obama to posthumously clear Rosenberg.

“We are giving the United States government the chance to acknowledge the injustice done to our mother,” said one son, Robert Meeropol, according to the Wsshington Post. “(It should) acknowledge the terrible wrong it did to her and to us.”

“After 40 years of research and struggle, we are …. again asking for presidential action,” said his brother, Michael.

There was no word on any immediate reaction from the White House.

The boys were 10 and 6 when they famously asked Eisenhower to grant clemency for their mother.

Both Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted as spies and executed in one of the darkest chapters of the Cold War and the anti-Communist Red Scare that swept America.

Historians say Julius Rosenberg was a Soviet spy, but decades of revelations cast serious doubts about the guilt of Ethel. Her brother admitted he lied about her involvement to save himself and his wife from prosecution.

This story "Ethel Rosenberg’s Sons Return to White House With Plea for Clemency — 63 Years Later" was written by Dave Goldiner.


Dave Goldiner

Dave Goldiner

Dave Goldiner is the Forward’s director of digital media. Dave is a veteran journalist who has spent two decades working at newspapers in the United States and Africa. A native New Yorker, Goldiner wrote for the New York Daily News, where he covered some of the biggest stories of our time, including the attacks of September 11, along with thousands of stories of hope and heartbreak. He also studied and worked in Southern Africa and has written for publications in South Africa and Zimbabwe. He holds masters degrees in journalism and public administration from Columbia University. Dave can be reached at, or follow him on Twitter @davegoldiner

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