Advertisement

David Greenglass, Soviet spy whose testimony led to sister's execution, dead at 92

Greenglass died in secret in a nursing home in July.

By Matt Bradwell
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, separated by heavy wire screen as they leave U.S. Court House after being found guilty by jury in 1951. File/LOC/World Telegram/Roger Higgins
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, separated by heavy wire screen as they leave U.S. Court House after being found guilty by jury in 1951. File/LOC/World Telegram/Roger Higgins

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- David Greenglass, the McCarthy-era Soviet spy famous for providing testimony against his sister in U.S. court that ultimately led to her execution, has been confirmed dead at 91.

Greenglass died on July 1, but news of his death took until mid-October to circulate because Greenglass was living under an assumed name. The death was confirmed by Sam Roberts of the New York Times, who literally wrote the book on Greenglass in 2001.

Advertisement

In 1953, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, Greenglass' sister and her husband, were executed for providing the U.S.S.R. with information about the Manhattan Project and other aspects of atomic research. Greenglass, who admitted he was a crucial part of the conspiracy to give secrets to the Soviets, testified against the Rosenbergs in exchange for leniency. He eventually served 10 years of a 15-year sentence.

One of the key pieces of testimony against Ethel was that she transcribed data about the atomic bomb on a typewriter, information provided by Greenglass' wife that the former spy admitted likely did not happen.

"I don't remember that at all," Greenglass told Roberts in 2008, adding, "I frankly think my wife did the typing, but I don't remember."

Advertisement

Greenglass' wife was never charged with any counts of conspiracy.

"I told them the story and left her out of it, right? But my wife put her in it. So what am I gonna do, call my wife a liar? "My wife is more important to me than my sister ... And she was the mother of my children."

The Rosenbergs' executions orphaned their two sons, who lived estranged from the uncle who put their parents on death row.

Latest Headlines