Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 12, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
TuMday, March 12, 1974 THE LETHtftlDOi HERALD Rosenberg case surfaces Sons claim Watergate intrigue had beginnings in parents' death By ROBERT KEINHOLD New York Times SPRINGFIELD, Mass. For 20 years they have lived in quiet obscurity, going to college, venturing into politics and student protests, marrying and raising children. But for Michael and Robert Meeropol, growing up in America was not quite the same as for most young people, for they carried a searing childhood memory that would not go away. The two young men are the sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the couple executed for conspiring to pass atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. Now, two decades after their mother and father died in the electric chair at Sing Sing, the brothers believe the time has finally come for them to try to clear their parents' names. "We knew that sometime we would have to do said Michael, who was 31 Sunday. "We feel a strong responsibility to our added Robert, now 26. "We feel they are innocent. It is impossible for us not to talk about it at this point." The immediate impetus for sacrificing some of their treasured privacy was the publication last year of "The Implosion the best- selling book by Louis Nizer about the Rosenberg trial. The brothers have sued Nizer and Ooubleday Co., his publisher, for unauthorized use of their parents' copyrighted death-house letters. Last Monday, in federal district court in Hartford, Conn., they also filed suit against Fawcett Publications, publishers of the paperback edition. But they also believe that the recent Watergate revelations with charges of high-level criminal conspiracies and of cover-up and perjury in the name of national security have lent new credence to their long-held contention that the Rosenbergs were the victims of a government frame-up to feed anti- Communist hysteria during the Cold War. Poignant pictures of the Rosenberg children, ages 10 and 6 at the time of the executions in 1953, were seen by millions throughout the world during the frantic legal battle to save them. Later they were adopted by Abel Meeropol, a former New York teacher and songwriter whose name they had taken, and disappeared from public view If their ordeal has left any permanent psychological scars they are not readily apparent. The boys have matured into articulate and seemingly well adjusted young men who share the easygoing lifestyle and rumpled look of junior faculty members at a New England college, which is what they are. They agreed to an interview on the condition that the discussion focus on their present aims and the Rosenberg case rather than their memories or emotional state. Michael, with a warm ready smile, long unruly brown hair and mustache, teaches economics at Western New England College, a small private school here. He and his wife Ann are the parents of two children, Veronica Ethel, 5, and Gregory Julian, 4. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin, where he went after graduating from Swarthmore College. The family lives modestly, driving around in a dirty white Volvo bearing a bumper-sticker reading, "Don't Blame Me I Voted McGovern." Robby, as the younger brother is called, is taller, darker and more intense-looking. He attended Earlham College and the University of Michigan, where he took a master's in anthropology. He teaches anthropology part-time at Western New England, and he and his wife Ellen have a 17- month-old daughter, Jennifer Ethel. The brothers share an obvious affection for each other, and think so much alike that one often completes a thought begun by the other. They have read almost everything written about the case and they unemotionally dissect the evidence and nagging doubts like lawyers preparing an appeal. Though the Rosenbergs lost all appeals, the sons believe the continuing doubts today are strong enough to reopen the case. They seek a "Warren Commission Style" investigation, perhaps ordered by Congress, but the legal basis is not clear. Michael agrees that most Americans probably still believe the Rosenbergs guilty, but with passing time many have .also come to wonder if the execution was not a dreadful mistake made possible by the excesses of McL'arthyism. "it's so said Robby. "It's very hard to believe people could swallow this now." But in 1951 the Rosenbergs were pictured as arch-Communist traitors having divulged the secret of the atomic bomb to the Russians, thereby helping to start the Korean War .and compromising the nation in the "life and death struggle with a completely different in the words of Judge Irving R. Kaufman, who 'condemned them. Today the Rosenberg sons have arrived at an equally harsh judgment of the chief government prosecutors, Irving H. Saypol and Roy M. Cohn. "They are criminals who are guilty in a conspiracy to commit the murder of our said Michael. The brothers say they invite a libel suit, which would give them the subpoena power they want to reopen the case. Saypol, now a Supreme Court justice in New York, ignored a request for comment on the sons' charges. Cohn, who gained fame as an aide to Sen. Joseph McCarthy and now practices law in New York, terms the charge "wild, emotional and unsubstantiated." Beyond personal vindication the sons believe their parents should be cleared for larger political reasons. "We hope that people will understand that what we are doing is part of a larger said Robby. "For the last 20 years one of the cornerstones of American policy has been the false domestic security argument. We feel that there is a crucial linkage here between Watergate and the trial." They argue that the violations of due process and civil rights visited on Democrats and other dissenters by the Watergate defendants and the White House investigative unit known as the "plumbers" in the name of national security had its genesis in the Cold War and in the prosecution of their parents. The government presented no documentary evidence against the Rosenbergs. They were convicted largely on the Oral testimony of Ethel's brother, David Greenglass, and his wife, Ruth, who said they passed secrets to the Rosenbergs, and of Harry Gold, a confessed courier who is now dead. Plans to resign Dr. Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of and spiritual leader of the Church of England, has1 announced his intention to resign effective Nov. 15. Seat belt law based on moral persuasion He is seen here on the grounds of Lambeth Palace in London Monday. His successor will be appointed on the recommendation of the prime minister. TORONTO (CP) Ontario will rely on "a form of moral persuasion" to encourage mo- torists to buckle up for safety, Premier William Davis says. Most people will use their seat belts if they know it is illegal not to use them, the premier said in a television interview. Mr. Davis admitted that the mandatory use of seat belts that the province intends to in- troduce would be "tough to en- force and obviously this is one reason why some jurisdictions have not done it." "Chances are, we will start out by saying this is the law, without having a penalty provision. In other words, as a form of moral persuasion. I don't like the word moral, but good judgment." The premier said statistics indicate that fewer people are hurt and killed and there is less danger of cars going out of control on impact when seat belts are worn. Mr. Davis also said he would not go along with federal Health Min- ister Marc Lalonde. 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