Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Brotherly Love - The David Greenglass Story

Last July 1st a man passed quietly away in New Jersey. He was living under an assumed name; and though he insisted that he was not ashamed of what he had done; he still never used his real name again. This is the story of David Greenglass; brother of Ethel, and brother in law to Julius; or more succinctly, the infamous Rosenbergs.

The Rosenbergs were executed on June 19, 1953 at Sing Sing prison in New York for allegedly selling the secrets of the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. Undoubtedly they had something to do with it, but with Mr. Greenglass testifying against his own sister; and then recanting that testimony later in life; you have to wonder just who actually did transfer the documents to the Soviets.

Mr. Greenglass testified that he watched his sister type up the notes detailing the research data which he himself had been privy to while working at Los Alamos in New Mexico as part of the Manhattan Project. He was a machinist with access to the working plans for the bomb. His testimony was given in exchange for a lenient sentence. In essence, he did the spying, got his sister and brother in law involved, turned State’s Evidence against them which ensured their conviction for espionage and ultimately the death penalty. 

The Rosenberg’s had two sons; Michael and Robert. Their uncle David was instrumental in sending their parents to their death. The boys were adopted by Abe Meeropol and his wife Anne, both of New York City. Abe Meeropol was the school teacher who wrote the song “Bitter Fruit” in 1937. The song was immortalized by the great Billie Holiday in 1939. 

David Greenglass wrote a book about his life and the trial in 2001. He also gave an interview with CBS in which he stated, “As a spy who turned his family in…. I don’t care. I sleep well.” He also claimed that his sister was “stupid” and “could’ve cut a deal.”  In the 1989 Woody Allen film “Crimes and Misdemeanors” Mr. Allen says this about his arrogant brother in law, “I love him like a brother- David Greenglass.”  Let that be his epitaph.

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