March 22, 2019
The FAME Center and the Indie Film Clinic hosted a film screening and panel discussion on March 19, “Russian Spies or Political Scapegoats? The Trial and Execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.” Professor Richard H. Weisberg, Walter Floersheimer Professor of Constitutional Law, moderated a discussion with Robert Meeropol, one of the sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and Lindsay Crouse, an actress who starred in the movie Daniel, which explores the trial and execution of the Rosenbergs.
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were two Americans convicted by a jury of conspiracy to commit espionage and executed in 1953. In a divided climate today, the event serves as a reminder of the dangers of political prejudice. “Professor Kolsun mentioned that the event originated from a discussion with Professor Weisberg about the fact that their students were not aware of the Rosenbergs’ arrest or the events of that time in history, including McCarthyism. These events parallel current times, especially in terms of how political bias can color the pursuit of justice,” said 2L student Barbara Bruni who participates in the Indie Film Clinic.
Barbara Kolsun, the director of the Fashion, Arts, Media and Entertainment Center wanted to organize this event to raise student awareness of the Rosenbergs’ story, and spoke with The New York Times earlier in the week, saying the school’s students “did not know who the Rosenbergs were.” The New York Times promoted the event in their "New York Today" section March 19.
“They also did not know who Roy Cohn was,” she said, referring to one of the prosecutors who was instrumental in the convictions.
Some of the attendees recalled firsthand accounts of the Rosenbergs and the aftermath. Bruni said, “It was interesting to hear from some people in the audience who knew the Rosenbergs. The story is still very much alive in New York.”