Clare Mulley

The great betrayal of Ethel Rosenberg

The convicted spy was in fact a victim of Cold War hysteria, says Anne Sebba, betrayed by the American legal system and by her own brother

Ethel Rosenberg after her arrest on charges of espionage, 11 August 1950. Credit: Getty Images

Ethel Rosenberg was an exceptional woman. Born with a painful curvature of the spine to a poor family of Jewish immigrants and a mother who never loved her, she was determined to make her life matter. A talented singer, she won a place at New York’s prestigious Schola Cantorum and performed at Carnegie Hall.

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