This story really got to me. I think this is a really important story for us to remember.
Also check out the Rosenburg Fund for Children website:
My name is Robert Meeropol, but I was born Robert Rosenberg.
When I was three, my parents, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, were arrested
and charged with giving the secret of the Atomic Bomb to the Soviet
Union. When I was six, the government executed my parents at the height
of the McCarthy era. Now, more than fifty years later, I can sense the
same chill winds that wreaked havoc on my life and many others, once
again sweeping our nation.
In recent years, we have witnessed the most rapid and widespread
erosion of our civil liberties since the 1950’s. Those who speak out in
opposition to our criminal war abroad and the growing repression at
home are condemned as “traitors” and treated as enemies of the state.
These conditions are familiar to anyone who lived through the
anti-communist hysteria of the 1950’s. After my parents’ arrests, my
relatives were so frightened of being associated with "communist spies"
that they refused to take me into their homes. First I lived in a
shelter. Later I lived with friends of my parents in New Jersey, but I
was thrown out of school after the Board of Education found out who I
was. After my parents' execution, the police even seized me from the
home of my future adoptive parents, and I was placed in an orphanage.
Bad as this was, it could have been much worse. As I grew older, I
came to realize the debt I owed to so many generous individuals whom I
never met, but who rallied to my support. As a result of their
collective efforts and generosity, I grew up in a loving household and
flourished in the supportive environment provided by child-oriented
In 1990 I figured out how I could repay the community that helped me
survive. I initiated the Rosenberg Fund for Children to find and help
children who are enduring the same kind of nightmare I endured as a
child. You may be shocked to learn that there are hundreds of children
in these circumstances in this country today! Moreover, as thousands of
outraged young people across the nation protest against injustice, many
of these activist “children” are themselves becoming the targets of
As happened during my own childhood, our beneficiaries’ lives have
been thrown into turmoil by the harsh reprisals aimed at those resisting
repression today. The Rosenberg Fund for Children provides the shelter
of a supportive community for children whose parents are working for
social justice, and -- as a direct result -- have lost their livelihood,
their liberty, their physical or emotional well-being or even their
lives in the course of that work.
Children are suffering right now because their parents have been
persecuted in response to their involvement in progressive movements
including the struggles to preserve civil liberties, wage peace,
safeguard the environment, combat racism and organize on behalf of
workers, prisoners and others whose human rights are under threat.
My experience has taught me what is needed to ease the pain of these
children. I never would have survived to build my life and create the
Rosenberg Fund for Children were it not for the help I received from a
supportive community made up of so many socially aware individuals and
institutions. I started the Fund to enable today’s members of this
community to rally around the children of this era’s targeted activists.
The Rosenberg Fund for Children provides for its beneficiaries’
educational and emotional needs in the same way that I was helped. The
Fund makes grants to institutions and professionals who nurture these
youngsters and cultivate progressive values.
For the first time, many of these children have been able to learn
and flourish in a supportive community of sympathetic peers and adults.
Attending a school or a summer camp that celebrates struggles for
economic and social justice has a powerfully positive impact on a child
whose parents have been attacked for participating in such struggles.
Children in traumatic circumstances yearn for stability. The RFC
recognizes that need and aims to make long-term commitments to our
beneficiaries. Once children have begun receiving grants, the RFC
strives to continue providing aid until the children reach an age where
they are no longer eligible for our assistance.
We have learned from prior episodes of repression. We know that the
best defense is to be outspoken and for communities to rally around
those who are targeted.