Thursday, August 06, 2020
View Blog
Minimize
Feb 4

Written by: Diana West
Tuesday, February 04, 2020 10:00 AM 

Frontpagemag recently posted a story about a letter Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote on behalf of Robert Meeropol and his family to President Barack Obama in which she asked Obama to issue a presidential proclamation exonerating Meeropol's mother, Ethel Rosenberg.

Yes, that Ethel Rosenberg. Along with husband Julius, Ethel Rosenberg and a ring of communist espionage agents did whatever they could (along with many others) to make sure Josef Stalin had the atomic bomb for his arsenal.

This was not just about Kremlin bragging rights. Archive records show that possession of "the Bomb" gave Stalin the confidence to trigger the Korean War. Further, other technologies stolen by the "Rosenberg Ring" would be weaponized against Americans in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. The carnage, pain, destruction and loss unleashed on the world by these secret agents of Stalin is beyond calculation. Certainly, millions of people died in these wars of communist aggression, thanks in some measure to the treachery of Mr. and Mrs. Rosenberg, who would be executed for their espionage activities; many others guilty of similar or even more significant treachery escaped justice, some literally by absconding behind the Iron Curtain.

Less well known is the extended ring of associates with links to Julius Rosenberg and other communists who worked inside top secret US military programs connected to the research labs in and around the Army signals intelligence complex at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. In what turned out to be his final oversight investigation, Sen. Joseph McCarthy was in the arduous process of revealing to the American people the chronic security failures at Fort Monmouth that permitted these "security risks" access to sensitive military secrets. McCarthy was even poised to subpoena the responsible Pentagon officials to testify about the situation when soon he was forced to suspend his committee's work to participate in a deadly political circus -- much like today's impeachment trial -- known as the Army-McCarthy hearings. According to Sen. Barry Goldwater many years later, McCarthy's Fort Monmouth investigation was dramatically vindicated when the Army quietly moved sensitive installations out of Fort Monmouth in New Jersey to Fort Huachuca in Arizona.            

Americans still don't know much about these events. Frontpage's Rosenberg-Warren story reminded me of that. It also reminded me I have a few Rosenberg questions, just for the record, and specifically for Frontpage. 

First, a little backstory. Frontpagemag editor and purveyor David Horowitz has made it widely known that his parents, Philip and Blanche Horowitz, were secret, active Communist Party members while working as teachers in New York City Public Schools. They taught in New York City pubic schools between the 1920s and the 1950s;  Philip Horowitz taught English at Seward Park High School, and Blanche Horowitz taught stenography and typing at Girls High. In the early 1950s, state legislation prohibited Communist Party members from teaching in the public schools. Blanche would resign and go to work for the National Lawyers Guild, "the legal bulwark of the Communist Party," according to the House Committee of Un-American Activities; Philip would refuse to answer questions about his Party activities put to him under the so-called Feinberg law, and would be fired along with a dozen or so other public school teachers.

Soviet espionage was always very close to (and inside) the Communist Party. As a reminder of just how close this relationship could be, among the teachers fired around this same time from the New York public schools was English teacher Henry Mins. Henry's brother Leonard Mins was a McCarthy Monmouth suspect, who would later be identified by Venona as a Soviet agent. Another fired teacher was Cyril Graze. Cyril had two brothers, Stanley and Gerald Graze, who were both McCarthy suspects, and would later be identified as Soviet agents who worked all over the federal government, from OSS to the State Department to the UN. Not so long ago, Gerald's daughter Deborah retired from a long career as a US diplomat.  

Another reminder of just how close Soviet espionage was to Communist Party members is the notable proximity of future Rosenberg Ring members to Mr. Horowitz at Seward Park HS. Not one, not two, not three but four members of the "Rosenberg Ring" attended Seward Park High School, where Horowitz pere taught. These students were the young Julius Roseberg, the young Ethel (Greenglass) Rosenberg, the young Ruth (Printz) Greenglass and the young Mike Sidorovitch. 

I have searched in vain for reference to this amazing fact -- namely, that, like Cambridge University, for example, Seward Park High School was a veritable feeder school for Soviet espionage -- in David Horowitz's super-volumious auto-biographical writings and in those of his childhood communist friend Ron Radosh, a chronicler of the Rosenbergs. (Full disclosure: Together, Horowitz and Radosh spearheadeded a disinformation campaign against my book American Betrayal.) 

Born in 1939, it is certainly the case David Horowitz was not yet alive when these Rosenberg-Ringers-to-be were pupils at his father's high school; however, by the age of 13 in 1952, thanks to his parents' close friend and KGB talent-spotter Joseph North, young David was the editor of the Daily Worker youth page, working with pal Ron Radosh. That was 1952, the year his father was fired from Seward Park HS. The following year, the Rosenbergs were executed. The Communist Party remained part of the Horowitz family throughout the 1950s. In 1958, two years after Khrushchev's famous speech about (some of) Stalin's crimes, David Horowitz graduated from Columbia and the FBI noted that his mother hosted a party meeting of the Sunnyside CP cell. 

This is a window on domestic communist history that David Horowitz has never opened all the way, even as he has styled himself a tell-all "witness" to the American domestic communist movement. Nearly a century later, one has to wonder whether Philip or Blanche Horowitz had in their classrooms any of these young Soviet agents in the making. As committed Communist conspirators themselves, did either of them recognize that these teens were destined for Kremlin greatness, even martyrdom? Might they have helped any of them along the way in terms of their youthful radicalization as young Marxists? After all, one of the questions Philip Horowitz refused to answer before the school board was: "Did you ever attempt to recruit students into the American Youth for Democracy?"

(American Youth for Democracy was a name used temporarily by the Communist Party youth organization, the Young Communist League.)

Did David Horowitz's parents know any Rosenberg Ringers, even just a little?

In his memoir Radical Son, he writes:

It was the familiarity of the Rosenbergs that made their fate so terrible to me. They were a little Jewish couple who looked like everyone else we knew and made the same progressive gestures....

So, how familiar were they?

There's even more to the Seward Park/Rosenberg story. Harry Hyman pleaded the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination when asked about his Rosenberg links and espionage by Senator McCarthy's committee. He, too, was an alumnus of Seward Park HS.

Just to show how that exchange went, here is the relevant excerpt from Sen McCarthy's Fort Monmouth investigation.

The Chairman (Sen. McCarthy): Where did you go to high school?

Mr. Hyman: Seward Park High School.

The Chairman: Were you a member of the Communist Party when you entered college?

Mr. Hyman: Under the constitutional privilege of the Fifth Amendment, I decline to answer. 

The Chairman: We are going through it again. Is it correct that when you invoke the Fifth Amendment, you are invoking it because you feel your answer might tend to incriminate you?

Mr. Hyman: That is correct.

The Chairman: Were you engaged in espionage while you were working at the Signal Corps?

Mr. Hyman: Fifth Amendment.

The Chairman: Have you engaged in espionage in the past several weeks?

Mr. Hyman: Fifth Amendment.

The Chairman: Did you steal radar secrets from the Signal Corps Laboratory and turn them over to Julius Rosenberg?

Mr. Hyman: Fifth Amendment.

Mr. Chairman: Were you acquainted with members of the Julius Rosenberg spy ring?

Mr. Hyman: Fifth Amendment.

The Chairman: Were you part of that ring?

Mr. Hyman: What was that?

The Chairman: Were you part of that ring?

Mr. Hyman: Fifth Amendment.

There is still another Seward Park alum who came to public attention in McCarthy's Monmouth investigation: Ruth Wiener Levine, who resigned from her post at Federal Telecommunications, a lab affiliated with Fort Monmouth, after receiving her subpoena to testify. Her lab position had been one of great sensitivity. According to the December 1953 New York Daily News account, Levine "handled techical data and production control of a nature ... `so secret it cannot be discussed.' " 

The Daily News continued:

The witness surprised the hearing room when, after denying she had ever committed espionage, she claimed the Fifth Amendment's protection when asked if she had ever engaged in an espionage conspiracy with others.

The story recounts a singular moment:

Senator McCarthy abandoned the bludgeoning tactics he had used on ... other recalcitrant witnesses, most of them from the same plant. He pleaded eloquently with her to do her country a service "and tell the names of the Communists who conspired with Harry Hyman at Federal Telecommunications and who attended underground party meetings at his home."

McCarthy offered to have FBI men over in twenty minutes to hear her story in privacy and he urged the woman's lawyer to counsel her to talk.

It is saddening though hardly surprising to read that Ruth Wiener Levine declined to do her country any such service. 

We are now up to six Seward Park alumni in question. 

But even that's not the end of the story. The Horowitz/Rosenberg proximity gets closer still.

Another Rosenberg ring associate, Nathan Sussman, belonged for a time to the same Communist Party cell that Philip and Blanche Horowitz belonged to in Sunnyside, Queens. 

Further, the leader of the Horowitz parents' Sunnyside cell, Morris Pasternak, was the uncle of Rosenberg Ring member, Morton Sobell. Horowitz writes about Pasternak and his cell leadership in his memoir; however, he somehow neglects to note Pasternak's close family connection to Morton Sobell.  

Tags:
Privacy Statement  |  Terms Of Use
Copyright 2012 by Diana West