Using these primary sources to introduce students to the general topic of Cold War espionage, and the specific case of the Rosenbergs, provides a fruitful opportunity to address the interpretive nature of history and the evaluation of evidence, in addition to injecting a compelling drama into our narrative of the Cold War.” —Paul Frazier on teaching the Rosenberg Case with Venona documents


Rosenberg Family


Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

Rosenberg kids

Robert and Michael Rosenberg

Heir to An Execution (2004)

Student reaction to the Rosenberg family documentary:

Rosenberg Case (1950-53)

Cast of Characters

  • Julius and Ethel Rosenberg  (defendants)
  • Michael and Robert [Rosenberg] Meeropol (children)
  • Emanuel Bloch (defense attorney)
  • Irving Saypol (prosecutor)
  • Roy Cohn (assistant prosecutor)
  • Irving Kaufman (trial judge)
  • David and Ruth Greenglass (defendants / relatives)
  • Morton Sobell (defendant)
  • Klaus Fuchs (atomic spy)
  • Harry Gold (courier)
  • Supreme Court justice William O. Douglas (granted stay of execution)
Bomb drawing

One of David Greenglass’s drawings passed along to Soviets, submitted as evidence in 1951 trial


  • 1943-45 // Manhattan Project
  • 1949 // Soviet atomic bomb
  • 1950 // Arrests begin, Fuchs (Feb) and Rosenberg (July)
  • 1951 // Guilty verdicts and death sentence for Rosenbergs
  • 1953 // Rosenbergs executed
  • 1995 // Venona files released
  • 2001 // David Greenglass admits that he lied about his sister’s role
  • 2004 // Granddaughter Ivy Meeropol’s documentary
  • 2008 // Morton Sobell admits that he lied about spying for Soviets


Rosenberg Trial website (Douglas Linder, UMKC Law School)