NARA Releases Additional Rosenberg Grand Jury Testimony

The National Archives has made available more secret Grand Jury testimony from the trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. This additional file, the testimony of Harry Gold, consists of 56 pages of transcripts from the grand jury proceedings from August 2, 1950.

On September 11, 2008, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) opened formerly secret Grand Jury testimony transcripts from the trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg more than fifty years after they were indicted on espionage charges, convicted, and executed. The Harry Gold transcript was inadvertently left out of the group of transcripts released on that day.

The release of the previously secret transcripts resulted from a successful lawsuit filed by the National Security Archive at George Washington University, the American Historical Association, the American Society for Legal History, the Organization of American Historians, the Society of American Archivists, and New York Times reporter Sam Roberts almost eight months ago.

In all NARA released 940 pages of transcripts from 41 of 45 witnesses’ appearances before the Rosenberg grand jury between August 1950 and March 1951. Testimony of three witnesses: David Greenglass, Max Elichter, and William Danziger, has been withheld due to objections by the witnesses.

Harry Gold was a laboratory chemist who was convicted of being the messenger for a number of Soviet spy rings during the Manhattan Project. Gold was a key government witness in the trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. His confession led to the arrest of David Greenglass. His testimony resulted in the arrest, trial and execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Gold received a 30-year sentence in 1951. He was paroled in May 1966, after serving just over half of his sentence.