Publication Date

September 1, 2008

In a ruling issued August 26th, U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein ordered the release of most of the grand jury testimony from the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and a related case against Abraham Brothman and Miriam Moskowitz. The release will cast fresh light on one of the most celebrated spying cases of the Cold War; allowing scholars and journalists to explore the relationship between citizens and the government in that period.

The National Security Archives, together with the AHA, a number of other historical organizations, and New York Times reporter Sam Roberts, petitioned for the release of this testimony in January. Government lawyers agreed to release most of the materials from the case in July, but they were holding back on the testimony of a few remaining witnesses from the Rosenberg case who could not be found. On August 26th, the judge ordered the release of testimony by all witnesses who are no longer alive or had not objected to its release, but gave the federal government 60 days to file an appeal on the records of a few witnesses whose status remains in question.

David Vladeck (Georgetown University), who served as the lead attorney in the case, predicted that if the government does not appeal, all of the records will be released in mid-October.

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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