<< News Scan | Main | Is the Criminal Justice System Broken? >>

This Day In History

| 1 Comment
The WSJ gives us an image of its "What's News" column from June 20, 1953:


THE ROSENBERGS were executed last night in Sing Sing Prison.
Death came to the condemned atom spies eight hours after the Supreme Court, by a 6 to 2 vote, reversed a stay of execution given Wednesday by Justice Douglas.  Julius, a 35-year-old engineer, went to the chair first and was pronounced dead at 8:06.  His wife, Ethel, 37, followed 10 minutes later.

The execution was pushed up from the traditional 11 p.m. (EDT) so the pair would be dead before sundown, the start of the Hebrew Sabbath.

Demonstrations for the doomed pair were staged at the White House and at U. S. embassies overseas up to the moment they died.  Both Communist and Catholic leaders called for clemency in the case.

Justices Douglas and Black voted for the stay, Frankfurter was doubtful, the rest of the court held that the question whether the sentencing judge had the power to impose death was "not substantial."  Two hours after the Court's decision was announced, President Eisenhower turned down, for the second time, an appeal for clemency.

Eisenhower asserted that a last-minute letter to him from Mrs. Rosenberg added "nothing new."  Earlier, he advanced a fear the couple had "immeasurably" increased the chances of an atomic war.

The Rosenbergs were sentenced to death in April, 1951, on charges of conspiring to violate the 1917 Espionage Act by giving the Soviet Union information on America's national defense.

1 Comment

▼ "Both Communist and Catholic leaders called for clemency in the case." ▼
June 20, 1953

How disgustingly ironic.

“…confessing publicly to crimes they never committed, were executed.…Stalin urged local activists to show no mercy…to arrest farmers and to confiscate
their property…Jash was subjected to nightly interrogations and torture…
~ Konrad, Red Quarter Moon, 2012

‘Pius V writes in still plainer terms’:
“till they are all massacred,
for it is only by the entire extermination of heretics
that the Roman Catholic worship can be restored.”~ Pius V letters, 28 March, 1569
{To Catherine de Medici prior to the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.}


Leave a comment

Monthly Archives