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May 23, 1975 - Image 23

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1975-05-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Sobell Critical of Book Review

Morton Sobell has criti-
cized a review written by
former Jewish News City
Editor Frank Simons
(Jewish News, April 18,
1975, Page 20) of his book,
"On Doing Time."

Sobell, who was convicted
of conspiracy in the 1950's,
while Ethel and Julius Ro-
senberg were convicted of
being "atom spies" and exe-
cuted, wrote:
I suppose your re-

rt:18 77-1D

••



Recited on the Sabbaths between Pesah and Rosh Hashanah

PEARLS FROM PIRKE ABOT

By M. Manuel Merzon

Pirke Abot opens with "Moses received the Torah
from Sinai . . ." to underscore, according to the com-
mentators, that the guidance and ethics which follow
proceed from Sinai where the Torah was given.

According to Rabbi Simon the Just, the world ex-
ists on three things, the Torah, serving our Heavenly
Father, and practicing charity. This three-fold em-
phasis according to the commentators, imports that
but for Torah, the world might not have been created
at all; that serving Him in the days of yore when the
Temple was by means of animal sacrifices, implied
the determination to rid our nature of the animal in
us and embrace the spiritual part, in which respect
we are created in His Image; now-a-days, with the
Temple, hopingly, to return on the Holy Mount, we
substitute prayers for sacrifices; practice of charity is
noble, but nobler yet is to give people in want material
means by way of loan, so that they can support them-
selves with dignity. The Bonds for Israel campaign is
an example.

, The conclusion of the First Chapter has a compara-
ble statement by another Simon, Rabban Simon the
son of Gamaliel, the world exists on three things,
Truth, Justice and Peace. So desperately needed in
this day and age. The first two are inseparable, if
there is no truth there is no justice and vice versa.
Rashi elsewhere comments that a judge who dispen-
ses true justice rises to the stature of being a partner
to our-Heavenly Father. The problem of peace is so
much a part of our daily anguish and agony, that it
may be said few generations as the present, in the
history of mankind have appreciated this elusive com-
modity. Our Sages say that the word Shalom in He-
brew is inscribed on the Throne of the Author of our
being.

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viewer would still want me,
at every turn, and every
page, to loudly proclaim my
innocence, of whatever it
was that I was accused of
having done. That is not my
style; anyone can tell he is
innocent.

"I tried to give the
reader the facts surround-
ing the case, all of the evi-
dence of government per-
jury that has been
revealed during the years
following the trial, and let
the reader draw his own
conclusions.

"Strangely enough Mr.
Simons doesn't say a single
word about all of the post-
trial material which indicts
the prosecution of fraud and
forgery and perjury . . .
"Mr. Simons wants to
know "for certain whether
Morton Sobell was truly in-
nocent or guilty," and com-
plains that the book pro-
vides him with no answer,
or "gives any clues for a cer-
tainty," and that "Sobell's
Book Does Not Prove Innoc-
ence."
"How does one prove his
innocence — other than by
destroying the prosecution's
case? This is what I felt I
had accomplished.
"I have no magic docu-
ment, no touchstone, which
will prove to every skeptic
that I am indeed innocent of
whatever the government
accused me of doing. The
more nebulous the accusa-
tion, as in this case, the
more difficult it becomes to
refute it."

Simons replied to So-
bell's criticism by saying,
"Mr. Sobell protests too
much, methinks!

"The reviewer does wish
to clarify one point. He is
not and made no pretense to
being an expert in the mat-
ter of the Rosenberg-Sobell
trial. What appeared in the
review was based on a read-
ing of the book, with only
vague recollections of what
transpired over two decades
ago.
"Perhaps a more sympa-
thetic note could have been
sounded as for my admira-
tion for Mrs. Sobell during
our interview 22 years ago. I
might have even ventured
my opinion of that time —
that the death sentences of
the Rosenbergs and the
lengthy jail term meted out
to Sobell were cruel, unprec-
edented and unjustified.
"But that does not speak
of guilt or innocence, and
any book should be able to
stand on its own without the
need to refer to other bibli-
ography."

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Emergency Help

GENEVA — Israel's cabi-
net has approved an
18-month program to train
civilians — including 11th
and 12th graders — to take
over important jobs in the
economy in times of emer-
gency.
The new program covers
vital categories such as elec-
tricity, water, food and fuel
supply and will draw on a
potential pool of 200,000
adults and 60,000 senior
pupils.

Friday, May 23, 1975 2.

U.S. Files Suit Against Trifa

The U.S. Attorney's Of-
fice in Detroit has filed suit
in Federal District Court to
revoke the citizenship of
Valerian D. Trifa, arch-
bishop of the Romanian
Orthodox Episcopate of
America, who lives at Grass
Lake, near Jackson.
Trifa is accused of lying
during immigration and
naturalization proceedings
by denying that he took part
in a pogrom against Jews
in Bucharest in 1941, and
lying about affiliations with
Fascist, anti-Semitic
groups.

According to assistant
U.S. attorney Michael
Gladstone, Trifa has 20
days to respond, after
which preliminary hear-
ings and a period of time to
gather evidence may delay
the actual hearing of the
case until 1976.

Immigration and Natur-
alization Service investiga-
tors submitted the case to
the attorney's office six
weeks ago. Armand J. Sal-
turelli, Detroit district di-
rector, said the case against
Archbishop Trifa was based
on evidence gathered mainly
in New York and supplied
by Dr. David Kremer, a den-
tist who has been trying to
get the case opened for
years.

Gladstone said, however,
that U.S. proceedings
against the archbishop
could take several years. "If
there are no procedural
problems and the case is fin-
ally heard in open court, the
archbishop does have the
right to appeal if he is found
guilty."
Gladstone added that a
conviction would only result
in the revocation of Arch-
bishop Trifa's citizenship,
and the government would
then have t o go through a
deportation procedure.

Young Israel
to Cite Seniors

Octogenarian members of
Young Israel of Oak-Woods
will be honored at the an-
nual installation dinner 6:30
p.m. June 4 at the syn-
agogue.
Members to be cited are
Benjamin Assik, Alter
Greenbaum, Moritz Katz-
man, Peter Portnoy, Joseph
Rich, Mrs. Bena Rodd, Mor-
ris Sax, David Schoichit,
Jack Serman, Mrs. Augusta
Subar and Isadore Woron.
For reservations, call the
synagogoue, 387-1177.

Trifa was president of
the National Union of Ro-
manian Christian Stu-
dents, a faction of the Iron
Guard which recom-
mended killing Jews. The
government says Trifa
was a key instigator in an
Iron Guard uprising that
led to the deaths of more
than 100 Jews, that he led
a death commando group
against political oppo-

nents and negotiated ran-
som and the killing of pris-
oners.

Last December the arch-
bishop admitted that he led
the student group that was
part of the Iron Guard, but
denied participating in
atrocities, and says anti-
Jewish statements he made
were written by Iron Guard
leaders.

The Rosenberg Tragedy
Revived in Sons' Appeal

An American tragedy is
being re-enacted. The Julius
and Ethel Rosenberg case is
in the limelight again.
Thanks to their surviving
sons, the couple that was ex-
ecuted on the charge of trea-
son, 22 years ago, is once
again a case under scrutiny.
Adopted by the Meero-
pols, whose name they now
bear, the Rosenbergs' sons,
who were 10 (Michael), and
6 (Robert), are part of a
growing movement to revive
interest in the case in an ef-
fort to clear their parents of
the crime attributed to
them.
"We are Your Sons," pre-
senting "The Legacy of
Ethel and Julius Rosen-
berg," is the story written
by "Their Children, Robert
and Michael Meeropol."

Published by Houghton
Mifflin Co., this volume
may well be considered
part of the nationwide
campaign to revive the
case. Committees have
been formed throughout
the land and an active
group in Detroit works
cooperatively with the two
sons to assure what they
hope will be a retrial.

The Rosenbergs to the
very end pleaded their in-
nocence. In recent years
there have been numerous
resumes of the case. Televi-
sion programs shed sympa-
thetic rays on the Rosen-
bergs.
There are, however, legal
scholars who insist that the
Rosenbergs' guilt had been
ascertained. But the general
concensus is that the verdict
of death by electrocution
was excessive.
This keeps adding inter-
est in the case and respect
for the Meeropols' task to
vindicate their parents.

Regardless of the con-
troversy or of existing
opinions, the Meeropols'
book is of great interest
and of historic value. It is
part of the undertaking to

secure evidence the son
and their supporters claim,
would clear the names of
the accused. It is charged
that there are hidden factf
that would prove the Ro-
senbergs' innocence.

Primarily "We Are Your
Sons" emphasizes the par-
ents' sentiments culled from
letters that were written tc
the children.
The Meeropol story is
deeply moving; It deals with
the family, pays due respect
to the adoptive and protec-
tive parents and to the natu.
ral parents they seek to ab-
solve.
Was there a Jewish aspect
to the case? Only insofar as_
rightists and anti-Semites,
sought to attach to it a Jew-
Communist label.

But the judge was a
Jew, the prosecutor a Jew,
the defendants Jews. No
matter how it is treated,
there is a Jewish aspect
even with regard to most
recent students of the case
who insist that the Rosen-
bergs' guilt had been
proven.

Nevertheless there is-the
near-unanimous assertion
that the punishment was
not only excessive but that
the very charge of the secret
to the atomic bomb having
been turned over to the Rus-
sians may now be consid-
ered a mere fable.
"We Are Your Sons" is a
great tribute to parents by
two sons who acquired sta-
tus as university professors
and whose life is dedicated
to clearing the names of
their parents.
However the Rosenberg-
Meeropol struggle in par-
ents' behalf may end, what-
ever the result of the cam-
paign of the Nationa'
Committee to Reopen the
Rosenberg Case, "We ArE
Your Sons" emerges as a
major document in the
American tragedy of the
early 1950s.

Triplets Celebrate
Bnai, Bat Mitzva

Temple Kol Ami will
mark a special occasion at
Shabat services 10:30 a.m.
Saturday when triplets Al-
lan, David and Susan Op-
penheim of Livonia will be-
come Bnai and Bat Mitzva,
respectively.
The children of Jack Op-
penheim of Troy and Do-
lores Oppenheim of Livonia,
the three will read from the
Torah, recite Haftarot and
deliver sermonettes.

ROBERT and MICHAEL ROSENBERG MEEROPOL

.

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