Heir to an Execution


Ruth’s Reels & Archie’s Archives: From the Vaults

Wednesday, November 13, 2019
7 PM @ National Museum of American Jewish History

Buy Tickets Here

General Admission: $15 | Seniors: $13 | *Students: $6

*Because student ID is required, tickets may only be purchased in-person.

Director: Ivy Meeropol
Genre: Documentary Feature
Country: USA
Year: 2004
Running Time: 1 hr 39 min
Language: English

Series Sponsor & Board Ambassador: Ruth Perlmutter

Co-Sponsored by: Smukler-Lasch Lead Trust

Choosing to set the personal loss of her grandparents aside to allow space for the socio-historical implications of their arrest to take center stage, filmmaker Ivy Meeropol’s absorbing 2004 prestige documentary HEIR TO AN EXECUTION continues to resonate 15 years later.

A half century has gone by since Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were put to death in the electric chair for treason after having been convicted of passing America’s atomic bomb secrets to the Soviet Union. Setting out to reveal the story behind their arrest, trial, and subsequent execution while recognizing the very real wounds inflicted on her family, Meeropol journeys to the homes of her father, former friends of the couple, and others who might offer insight into why her grandparents would choose to abandon their two sons rather than betray their beliefs. While the reason the Rosenbergs chose to remain silent during their trial and snub the opportunity to defend themselves is elusive, what is clear to Meeropol (and likely a point of pride) is the notion that her grandparents were incapable of defying their deep-seated convictions and broader political concerns, even if it meant their own demise.

Special Guests:

  • Ivy Meeropol | Director of HEIR TO AN EXECUTION
  • Michael Meeropol | Father of Ivy Meeropol

Official Selection:

  • San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
  • Sundance Film Festival