People do not flock to documentary films in theaters.
Too short, too serious, too true, not enough entertainment bang for the
buck. Even the best of these have
trouble finding distributors. It’s especially rewarding to find and review documentaries
that contribute a new piece, however small, to the puzzle of history.
One of these is “Heir to an Execution” by Ivy Meeropol – director,
filmmaker, and granddaughter of convicted American spies Julius and Ethel
Rosenberg. Ms. Meeropol’s father and uncle have lived for nearly fifty
years with the fact that their parents were executed for passing atomic secrets
Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were surrounded in the late ‘40s by poverty
and dreamed of a socialist world that could solve social problems.
They either did, or didn’t do, what they were accused of to further
that cause. They were turned in by
Ethel’s brother, David Greenglass, who later testified at his sister’s
trial. Ethel was sent to Sing Sing
Prison, her two young sons taken from her and put in various custodial
arrangements until they were adopted by the Meeropol family, adoptive parents
they came to love.
A week before the
Ivy Meeropol wanted to reclaim the story of her family.
To do this, she knew she had to seek out her grandparents’ friends
before they die. These friends have
vivid, valuable memories of a young couple with two small sons, working hard,
part of a big extended family, idealists in their immediate world of poverty.
Is it the American in us that always looks for a silver lining?
If there is even a hint of one in this terribly sad story, it is that so
many Americans, perhaps naively it now seems, spent their adult lives convinced
and dedicated to the
Copyright (c) Illusion
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