Question for Jewish people, and anyone.?

I have an interesting legal question for Jewish people, using these words for in case anyone uses the search questions approach.

Anyways I hope you don't perceive me as anti-Semitic.

My question is about 2 Jews, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, whom were sentenced the death penalty in 1953 for U.S. espionage.

So my question is, if that situation had happened today, how do you think the outcome would have come out differently?

Okay so they leaked out info for the Russian government. But did anything happen as a result of that?

Look at Bernard Madoff, whom probably did greater harm, and he wasn't sentenced the death penalty.

Generally, anyone who believes the death pentalty should be imposed for violent crimes, then they should of course be against executing the Rosenbergs.

For example, just imagine if they had Alan Dershowitz as their lawyer...

Even though the judge that wanted and sentenced the death penalty and 2 of the U.S. attorneys were Jewish, I still feel something would be different if happened today (like life in prison instead or less).

Also if you feel the Bernard Madoff case would have been differently had it happened in 1953, feel free to post that too.


Keywords: Jews, anti-Semitic, anti-Semitism, lawyers.


Update: re: "I would suggest you learn about the Cold War so you can get a better grasp of how the Rosenbergs betrayed this country."

Well, I'm betraying this country if I pee on or burn an American flag, so I think the issue here really should be the magnitude, not the charge, but meh.

Update 2:

DudleySharp: Ethel's brother testified against her during the trial but decades later said he did it to protect his wife and kids (being pressured by U.S. attorney). Now he says he has no idea who wrote that note, but at trial, said she wrote it.

I looked into their 2 sons, whom to this day, they agreed their father was a spy, but still no evidence (even from the Russian government) that he passed info about the atomic bomb, which is what the Rosenbergs were executed for. Nikita Kruschev just said they got some information from Julius about electronic systems.

So for today, I don't think the "he said she said" is enough to warrant a death penalty, so my sympathy does go to the 2 sons, at age 6 and 10, whom visited their parents at the Sing Sing prison facility.

I think it's wrong to have to be in a position to choose between your wife and sister, and therefore he had to testify against his sister.

5 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    It isn't about the harm. It is about the criminal act. In this specific case, it is about treason. Madoff did not commit an act of treason. The Rosenberg's did.

    By comparing the two, you are comparing apples and oranges.

    I'm guessing you are young and were not alive during the Cold War? Before you start trying to analyze the fairness of the sentence, I would suggest you learn about the Cold War so you can get a better grasp of how the Rosenbergs betrayed this country.

  • 8 years ago

    This was a time of anti-communist hysteria and paranoia. Senator Joseph McCarthy made a speech on the floor of the Senate saying he had in his hand a list of hundreds of 'card carrying Communists' who were embedded in US cultural institutions--colleges, movie studios, government, etc. For the next several years congressional committees grilled suspected communists, basically anyone who was liberal or fought for racial equality or rights for women. Lots of college professors, government workers, and film stars and writers and directors were blacklisted and could never find work again, even though nothing against them had ever been proven.

    At the end of WWII the US was the only nation on earth with nuclear weapons. Many American leaders believed we would soon run the whole world! Nobody would want to face the nuclear threat. I think down deep they knew that if we could develop nukes others could too, but when the USSR began testing nukes Americans got really paranoid. I was a kid in the 50s, and EVERY grownup I knew believed that a nuclear war between the US and USSR was -inevitable-, just a matter of time. Some US generals even wanted us to attack the USSR while we still could. (Douglas MacArthur believed we should go after the USSR as soon as Japan surrendered! Just make it a continuation of WWII!)

    So when the Rosenbergs were accused of giving away nuclear secrets, it was like a 'perfect storm'. It fed American nuclear paranoia, antisemitism and intolerance, even our anti-intellectual distrust of 'eggheads'. They got the death penalty totally for political purposes, so politicians could posture 'tough on communism'. How much of it was their being Jewish I'm not sure, but it was definitely easier to accuse Jews of treason in those days, just as it would be easier to accuse Muslims today.

    From what I've read, the argument of whether they were probably guilty or not is still going on. But today they definitely wouldn't get the death penalty.

    Bernie Madoff was certainly a crook, one of the biggest in history if you go by how much he stole. But we never had the death penalty for crooks.

  • 8 years ago

    Treason and theft (even on the massive scale of Madoff) are two different crimes. Legally they couldn't give Madoff the death penalty, and the law was the same back in 1953, so they couldn't have given him the death penalty if it had happened then either.

    Treason IS punishable by death. I see no reason the result would be any different today.

  • 8 years ago

    Clearly and unequivocally, Julius was guilty.

    The evidence against Julius Rosenberg is much stonger today than at the original trial - because of the, now, released secret intercepts - see below.

    I think Ethels guilt is confirmed by a number of things, but, mostly, by the fact that she was offerred a plea deal, which she refused, meaning she chose being a martyr to the cause, instead of keeping her children from becoming orphans.

    Ethel repeated invoked the 5th Amendment during her testimony.

    At the time, officials didn't think either would be executed, with the hope that both, because of their death sentences, would agree to reveal all of their secrets in exchange for reduced sentences. . They didn't.

    If Ethel was innocent, there was no reason that both Julius and Ethel would not reveal that. Why would they both allow Ethel die as a martyr to the cause, when she was not guilty and, therefore, a martyr for no cause and, worse, dying for no cause while causing their children to become orphans.

    None of this makes any sense, unless she was guilty.

    Her brother, also a spy, was the one who implicated Ethel. He recently stated that his testimony against Ethel was fabricated, so he could leverage that testimony to help his wife, who was also inmplicated.

    Again, the case for Ethel's guilt remians solid.

    see below.

    There is a moral arguement for crimes such as Madoff's being punised with death, but I am unaware of any US laws in the past century that would have allowed execution for Madoff's crimes.


    Julius and Ethel Rosenberg - AWCC

    For decades and internationally, one of the biggest "innocent" executed cases.

    The Venona Intercepts, 1995

    The US Government has direct evidence of Julius Rosenberg, and others', involvement with the Soviet's, as spies for atomic secrets, with intercepted communications between the Soviet's and some of their US spies, from 1944. These intercepts were released in 1995. Ethel is not mentioned. However, there was more than enough evidence that she, at least, knew of his spying and chose not to report it, enough for a conspiracy. However, they both had ample time to come forward and proclaim her innocence and, to, at least, save one parent for their children. They chose not to, a strong indicator of their guilt and devotion to the cause.

    Source(s): Greenglass was not forced to testify against Ethel. He chose to. It is much more, likely, he is lying, now about Ethel's innocence, than he was 50 years ago about her guilt. Ethel was very close to her husband. It is very unlikely that she didn't know about the espionage, by her husband, brother and sister in law. If Ethel was innocnent, there is no reason that both she and Julius would not have stated so, trying to save her for her own sake as well as for her children. Yet, she simply pleaded the fifth and he kept his mouth shut. Her innocence is most unlikely. In 2008, Sobell admitted he was a spy and confirmed Julius Rosenberg was "in a conspiracy that delivered to the Soviets classified military and industrial information and what the American government described as the secret to the atomic bomb."
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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    First of all there was a perceived notion rampant in the country about the threat of the Soviet Union. Nearly all spies and traitors at that time were Jews. The Bolshvek Revolution in Russia was funded by the Interantional Jewish Bankers and New York Jewish Bankers. Most of the Presidium in the Soviet Union were Jews.

    The times were very different then. Our government today is largely Communist sympathizers if not outright Marxists (a Jewish contrivance). It is unlikely the Rodenbergs would have even been arrested today under the conditions that exist today. Our "secrets" are stolen by Mossad, the Chinese and Russians even now as I write this and no one is going to prison.

    Source(s): Recorded history.
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