Press/Journalists

National Archives Opens Final Ethel and Julius Rosenberg Grand Jury Transcript
Media Alert · Friday, March 10, 2017

Washington, D.C.

Testimony of William Danziger completes the release

What: The National Archives released, in full, ​the formerly secret grand jury testimony of William Danziger, the sole remaining sealed grand jury witness  transcript from the trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.

This additional transcript is now available in response to a court order (dated January 31, 2017) directing its release because the witness is deceased. In 2008, the court ordered the release of transcripts for the 43 Rosenberg grand jury witnesses who were deceased or did not object, but withheld the transcripts of David Greenglass, Max Elitcher, and William Danziger due to their objections. The court indicated that these transcripts could be released upon their deaths. The transcripts of the Greenglass and Elitcher testimony were released pursuant to a court order in 2015, but it was not known at that time whether Danziger was still alive or continued to object to the release of his transcript. The court was informed in late 2016 that Danziger died in 2012, and that he is survived by two children who asked that their father's testimony be unsealed.

See related press releases on previous openings:

Where: The transcripts are available on the National Archives web site.

Background:  Ethel and Julius Rosenberg—along with Morton Sobell, David Greenglass, and Antoli Yacovlev—were indicted on the charge of conspiracy to commit espionage. The charges related to industrial and atomic espionage for the Soviet Union. Specifically, Julius Rosenberg began furnishing the Soviet’s with industrial secrets from Emerson Radio beginning in late 1942. By 1944, the government had alleged that Julius had engaged his brother-in-law David Greenglass, an Army mechanic working on the atomic bomb, in the atomic spy network. During his trial testimony, Greenglass detailed how he passed on secrets he learned while working at the atomic laboratory at Los Alamos, NM. The Rosenbergs were convicted on March 29, 1951, and sentenced to death by Judge Irving Kaufman on April 5, 1951. The Rosenbergs were executed at Ossining, NY on June 19, 1953, despite worldwide protests, many from deeply religious anti-communists--people who considered the Rosenbergs guilty of espionage, but opposed the death penalty.  

The National Archives is an independent Federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, so people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at: www.archives.gov.

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This page was last reviewed on March 13, 2017.
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