Emmanuel Bloch Closing Argument in the Trial of Ethel Rosenberg

March 28, 1951, shortly after 10 a.m.:

  • “Dave Greenglass loved his wife. He loved her more than he loved himself . . . and ladies and gentlemen this explains why Dave Greenglass was willing to bury his sister and his brother-in-law to save his wife.” — Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy, p. 165

Granted this may not have been the most persuasive closing argument in the history of closing arguments, but it was heartfelt.

Apparently not content with having sent his sister to the electric chair, in 2001 Dave Greenglass gave an interview to 60 Minutes (!!!!) where he tried to justify his actions (again!) and showed not the slightest remorse.

Here’s the link to a foundation started by Ethel Rosenberg’s younger son, Robert Meeropol. His brother Michael is on the board.

On to the jury deliberations. “The one juror holding out against a death sentence for Ethel was a forty-eight-year-old accountant called James A. Gibbons, with two children of his own.” (p. 169) May his name go down in history.

If self had been on the jury, notwithstanding the terrible incompetence of the Blochs, self would have thought: Hmm, isn’t it strange that the ONLY testimony to this woman’s guilt comes from her brother? He cannot be entirely trustworthy. It’s all his word against hers.

On April 5, the judge handed down his sentence. Julius and Ethel sat there, their faces “chalk-white . . . frozen into grimaces of incredulity.”

The judge went on to sentence the two to death, and probably went home afterwards feeling very satisfied with the day’s work, while Ethel’s brother David — well, who cares what David was feeling. He’s not smart, so he probably felt self-congratulatory, too.

The judge did not just stop at sentencing Julius and Ethel to death, oh no. He drove his point home by singling out and “criticizing Ethel as a mother.” (What about Julius as a father? Did the judge care to say any words about that? Newp)

Before the two were taken back to their respective prisons, Ethel sang a Puccini aria from Madame Butterfly to Julius. AARGH! Which prompted a prison guard to say (p. 174): “Julie, you’re a low-down son of a bitch . . . but you’re the luckiest man in the world because no man ever had a woman who loved him that much.”

That night, the prison matron offered Ethel a sedative, but she refused it. Singing arias to her feckless husband after she’d just been sentenced to death? Then refusing the sedative? God, that woman was strong.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Million-Dollar Question

Manny Bloch’s cross-examination of David Greenglass, Ethel’s younger brother (bear in mind Bloch’s experience in court was settling small bakery contract disputes, and he was up against a very wily and very slippery Roy Cohn, David’s lawyer)

Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy, pp. 141 – 142

“You realize the possible death penalty in the event that Ethel is convicted by this jury, do you not?”

Repeating the question, Bloch asked: “And you bear affection for her?”

“I do.”

“This moment?”

“At this moment.”

“And yesterday?”

“And yesterday.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Life in Colour: FALL HAPPENINGS

Self went to the Mountain View Farmers Market this morning, the first time in probably three years. She’s so happy she went. She got a whole bag of potstickers (frozen) for $20. @ bag has 30 potstickers. Good deal!

She also took pictures of a Giant Pumpkin (not quite as big as the one that just won the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Contest. Nevertheless.)

Life in Colour’s October color is — what else? — orange. She’s posting her farmers market pictures below, as well as a poster for Peninsula Ballet Company’s upcoming event, HipHop Halloween.

Past Squares 10: Things Lost, Never Found

Today’s post for Past Squares (Thank you once again, Becky at Life of B, for hosting the Squares Challenge) is:

THINGS SELF LOST:

Shades; Red Hat

She bought both in Paris. They had great sentimental value. WAAAAH!

Lawyer for the Defense

Self is now about halfway through Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy. Last night, she almost contemplated stopping. It is so painful, in hindsight, to read about Ethel’s fate. Self’s already lost two full nights’ sleep, reading.

Nevertheless.

p. 135: The father-son legal team for the defense are Alexander and Manny Bloch (who have cut their teeth, according to journalist Anne Sebba, representing small bakeries in contract disputes. Seriously?) For the prosecution: ROY COHN, and all the power of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI. The charge: treason (Apparently there was a time in America when treason was taken very seriously).

Bloch senior “attempted to separate Ethel from the alleged conspiracy in his opening remarks by describing her as a wife of twelve years’ standing and a mother raising two young sons. “She was a housewife, basically a housewife and nothing more,” Bloch senior insisted. “She did not transmit or conspire to transmit any information to any government . . . she was dragged into this case through the machinations of her own brother and her own sister-in-law, who in order to transfer and lighten their burden of responsibility, accused her of being a co-conspirator.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Past Squares 4: When Museums Re-Opened

For today’s Past Squares challenge, she’s posting a couple of photos from two big exhibits she saw this year: the Frida Kahlo and Judy Chicago exhibits, both in the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.

Self had tickets to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit last year, but the week she was supposed to go, the whole city abruptly went into pandemic lockdown mode and stayed locked down into 2021. As soon as the de Young re-opened to the public, just this past spring, self rushed over. YAY!

The Frida Kahlo exhibit was followed by the Judy Chicago retrospective (which is still on; everyone within driving distance should go: it is FANTASTIC!)

Sentence of the Day, 1st Sunday of October 2021

George Holliday, who recorded the beating of Rodney King, died on September 19th, aged 61.

Lead sentence, The man on the balcony,The Economist Obituary, 2 October 2021:

  • For near on nine minutes, George Holliday stood outside his second-floor windows with his three-pound Sony Handycam clamped to his eye.

It is quite an amazing article.

A Photo a Week Challenge: VANISHING POINT

What a great theme for this week’s Photo a Week Challenge: Vanishing Point! Thank you to host Nancy Merrill!

Self loves looking back at her travel photos, and looking for Vanishing Points was fun.

The last time she was in Ireland and England was Fall 2019. She happened to arrive in Dublin on the day of the Dublin Marathon. The route was right in front of her B & B, so she was able to catch a few stragglers:

Dublin Marathon, October 2019

She visited IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art) and walked from there to Dublin Castle, through a gorgeous tree-lined avenue.

Walking from IMMA to Dublin Castle, October 2019

From Dublin she flew to Manchester to stay with an old classmate from the Philippines. She introduced self to Liverpool!

Museum of Liverpool, Albert Dock, November 2019

Cellpic Sunday

Another photo challenge!

This one is loose: any picture taken with your cell. The host is Journeys with Johnbo.

Here are self’s fridge magnets. Shakespeare rules!

TSD Quote of the Day, Last Sunday of September 2021

People are pigs. It’s a rotten world.

The Slaughterman’s Daughter, p. 218

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