Helen Levitov Sobell

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Helen Levitov Sobell (13 March 1918 - 15 April 2002) was the wife of Morton Sobell and she petitioned to save the Rosenbergs.[1][2][3]


Helen Levitov was born on March 13, 1918 in Washington, DC. During her lifetime, she attended Wilson Teachers College. Throughout World War II she worked at the National Bureau of Standards as a spectrometer technician.[1] In 1938, Levitov married Clarence Darrow Gurewitz. They divorced seven years later, in 1945.[2][3]

Levitov went to work at the General Electric Company in Schenectady, New York, where she met, then married, Morton Sobell. Levitov Sobell then studied physics at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Levitov Sobell moved to New York City in 1947 and was, three years later, awarded an M.S. from Columbia University.[1]

After being accused of spying, she and her husband fled to Mexico. They were abducted on August 16, 1950 and were turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.[2] She was not prosecuted, but her husband was convicted of "conspiracy to commit espionage" and sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.[1]

She then taught science at the Elisabeth Irwin High School. Her husband was released from prison in 1969. She then got her Ph.D. in computer education from Teachers College, Columbia University in 1972.[3] The Sobells divorced in 1980 and she moved to San Francisco in 1981.[2]

She had Alzheimer's disease and died on April 15, 2002 at a nursing home in Redwood City.[1][2][4]


  1. ^ a b c d e Wolfgang Saxon (April 27, 2002). "Helen L. Sobell, 84, Leader Of Effort to Spare Rosenbergs". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-03. . 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Helen Sobell, 84; Activist Fought to Save Lives of Rosenbergs". Los Angeles Times. April 24, 2002. Retrieved 2011-11-18. . ... 
  3. ^ a b c "Helen Sobell, ex-husband was convicted spy". San Francisco Chronicle. April 19, 2002. Retrieved 2011-11-18. Mrs. Sobell died Monday in a Redwood City nursing home after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. She was 84. 
  4. ^ Godfrey Hodgson (April 25, 2002). "Helen Sobell". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-11-18. Helen Sobell, who has died aged 84, after 10 years of suffering from Alzheimer's disease, overcame many tribulations and tragedies with exemplary courage and determination. ...