Heir to an Execution

On this day in 1951, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sentenced to death for conspiring to commit espionage for the Soviet Union.

I bring this to your attention not to discuss the guilt or innocence of the Rosenbergs, even though it is clear their trial and subsequent execution was fraught with questions. But if you are at all interested in the story of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, HUAC, or McCarthyism, you should see the documentary "Heir to an Execution."

The documentary was directed by the Rosenberg's granddaughter, Ivy Meerapol, and it's fascinating. It deals with a particularly ugly period of American history, and frankly, one that we all need to understand more about.

I am interested in this story because I had a neighbor and dear friend who
was called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee
(HUAC) around the same time the Rosenbergs were on trial–in fact, when
she tried to hire an attorney she was refused by one because he was
involved in the Rosenberg trial. My friend was a communist–like so
many young people who grew up during the depression, she believed
communism brought with it an opportunity for all people to have enough.
Enough of everything humans need to survive and lead productive lives. My friend, who passed away at age 91 in 2008, eventually turned away from communism when Stalin's atrocities were brought to light, but she remained committed to the cause of social justice and economic well-being for all humans throughout her life.

I will leave you with this: We hear the words Socialist, Communist, and even Nazi thrown around a lot these days. I will not comment on the labels of Socialist or Communist, even though those who use them to describe our current government and President are misled, at best. I would encourage those who believe these terms are appropriate to study communism and socialism and determine for themselves whether or not the words apply.

Use of the term Nazi to describe our President is shameful and not to be tolerated by anyone, regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum. The Nazis murdered upwards of six million people. In light of this, is anyone seriously prepared to justify the label of Nazi for President Obama or anyone associated with him? If so, pull your head out of your ass and put it into a history book instead.

Holly West

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