Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were an American married couple that was arrested, charged with and convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage during a time of war. The sentence for the crime was death. The couple was executed on June 19, 1953 in Sing Sing Prison in New York. Their charges were related to the passing of information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union.
The Rosenberg’s had two minor children at the time of their execution, Michael and Robert. After the Rosenberg’s were executed, the children were adopted and took on the last name of their adoptive parents, Meeropol.
The LA Progressive carried a story on Robert Meeropol which can be found here.
After graduating from college, Michael and Robert sued the FBI and CIA under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), winning the release of 300,000 previously secret documents pertaining to their parents’ case. Believing the documents proved their parents’ innocence, the Meeropol brothers co-wrote a book about their childhood, We Are Your Sons: The Legacy of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg (1975). From 1974 to 1978, he worked actively with the National Committee to reopen the Rosenberg Case and the Fund for Open Information and Accountability.
Robert Meeropol founded The Rosenberg Fund for Children which provides for its beneficiaries’ educational and emotional needs. He felt that the help he and his brother received after their parents were executed should be available to other children whose parents are taken away from them by the criminal justice system. The Fund makes grants to institutions and professionals who nurture these youngsters and cultivate progressive values. For the first time, many of these children have been able to learn and flourish in a supportive community of sympathetic peers and adults. Attending a school or a summer camp that celebrates struggles for economic and social justice has a powerfully positive impact on a child whose parents have been attacked for participating in such struggles.
Said Meeropol, “My experience has taught me what is needed to ease the pain of these children. I never would have survived to build my life and create the Rosenberg Fund for Children were it not for the help I received from a supportive community made up of so many socially aware individuals and institutions. I started the Fund to enable today’s members of this community to rally around the children of this era’s targeted activists.”