FEMALE VOICE: We solemnly declare now and forevermore, that we will not be coerced, even under pain of death, to bear false witness and to yield up to tyranny our rights as free Americans. Our respect for truth, conscience and human dignity is not for sale.

JULIUS: Ethel? I saw a seagull fly past my window. It was all alone.

ETHEL : Oh Julius, I am so alone. Even at services I must sit alone out of sight. I long for you so, for those wondrous Wednesdays. Those days when, though I cannot touch you, I can see your face, hear your voice.

JULIUS: I've been thinking, it is almost three years since we've lived with our children. How we treasured every moment with them... every accomplishment...a new painting, a nice block building...

NARRATOR: There are again three chairs, and Julius stands before the center chair. Now to either side of Kaufman sit two electric chairs--black, with straps at their sides.

KAUFMAN: Did you ever discuss with Ann Sidorovich the respective preferences of economic systems between Russia and the United States?

JULIUS: I am not an expert on matters on different economic systems, but in my normal social intercourse with my friends, we discussed matters like that. And I believe there are merits in both systems; I mean, from what I have been able to read and ascertain.

ETHEL : Julie, how beautiful--a seagull. How much like that am I when I dream of you.

KAUFMAN: I am not talking about your belief today, I am talking about your belief at that time: in January, 1945.

JULIUS: Well, that is what I am talking about; I am talking about

ETHEL : Julie, have you seen in the papers about the children?

JULIUS: I am in favor, heartily in favor of our Constitution and Bill of Rights and I owe my allegiance to my country at all times...I saw in an Italian paper pictures of the children, yes Ethel; it said something funny under the picture. I can't remember. Oh Ethel, people are listening!

KAUFMAN: Do you have allegiance to another country?

JULIUS: I do not... Ethel, there are many cockroaches in my cell. I kill them as much as I can. Do you also have this problem?

KAUFMAN: Would you fight for this country? In any war? With any other country?

JULIUS: Yes, I will... Ethel, I did talk about other systems of government with our friends. We both did. What is wrong with that? This is America, with freedom of speech and assembly, the right to

KAUFMAN: Well, did you ever belong to any group that discussed the system of Russia?

JULIUS: Well, your honor, I feel at this time that I refuse to answer a question that might tend to incriminate me.

KAUFMAN: It seems to me I have been hearing a lot about that. It is so difficult to make people realize that this country is engaged in a life and death struggle with a completely different system. I consider your crime worse than murder. We have evidence of your treachery all around us every day. The civilian defense activities throughout the nation are aimed at preparing us for an atom bomb attack. It is not in my power, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, to forgive you. You are hereby sentenced to the punishment of death.

MALE VOICE: are you now or have you ever been

 

NARRATOR: From the letters of Ethel Rosenberg.

ETHEL : Wait, wait and tremble, ye mad masters, this barbarism, this infamy you practice upon us, and with which you regale yourselves presently, will not go unanswered forever. The whirlwind gathers

(Three tolls of a bell)

NARRATOR: Medea and Creon stand facing West. They are whispering so the children and servants will not hear. The sun is setting.

MEDEA: (begin in whisper) Are you frightened, Creon? Do you think I will harm you? Will you not listen to my pleas? Will you send me into exile for a crime uncommitted? A crime you cannot see?

CREON: Medea, you waste your words. You will not persuade me. You must go.

MEDEA: You will exile me to some foreign horizon?

CREON: I will, for the love of my country, and my children.

MEDEA: How evil it is to men when something is loved so strongly that it cannot be given up.

CREON: Please leave me. I do not wish to force you.

MEDEA: I am not without my pain.

CREON: I cannot have you--a barbarian--among us. If you will not go, I will have my men remove you, with force, if necessary.

MEDEA: Creon, I beg you. I have children, too. Allow me to stay for just one day, that I can find shelter for them and make peace for myself in my exile. I beg of you just this and then I will go.

CREON: I will grant you this day, but if you are seen in tomorrow's light, you will then surely die.

 

(Two tolls of a bell)

MEDEA: Aegeus, I'm to be exiled from Corinth though I've done no wrong. Allow me to come into your land, to be your servant

ETHEL : I do not wish to leave the land I love. Julius, I will fight them and in a way they will not expect. They cannot imagine the horror they will feel at my death, the sickness that will haunt them for all their years, the unexplained pain their children feel, and emptiness. I find myself strangely looking to a god to whom I never looked

MEDEA: a king to whom, though my friend, I never turned. I have found that he has no children, and through my magic, he will have them.

ETHEL : My prayers were that something would come to save us--that other countries would intervene on our behalf--and they did. But when that failed, I hoped that something good would come of our deaths--that somehow people would be affected and would change.

MEDEA: But an impotent old king did not help me in my own land. He instead took me to his own land in a glowing chariot, shining and jeweled

ETHEL : electric. There was a sign that said "silence."

NARRATOR: Thousands of people have assembled on Seventeenth Street in New York. Across the country there are thousands more come to protest this miscarriage of justice. Around the world the whirlwind of protests gather. Thousands, even millions of letters urge clemency: Dr. Albert Einstein, the Vatican, the president of France, rabbis, ministers, lawyers and judges

FEMALE VOICE: women and men, children. They carry signs that say: "stop this 'legal' murder," "new trial now!," "the electric chair can't kill the doubts," and "we demand justice." There are millions who doubt the crime, millions, and still two will die.

 
     

 

 

 Forward to Davis-Rosenthal, continued
 
     
 

 Text and Original Graphic Images © 1995 by Jim Davis Rosenthal
 

 

 

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