Emanuel Hirsch Bloch

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Emanuel Hirsch Bloch
Bloch-Emannuel 001a.png
Bloch on June 19, 1953 in Washington, DC
Born 1901
Died January 30, 1954(1954-01-30) (aged 52)
Known for Julius and Ethel Rosenberg
Trenton Six
Parent(s) Alexander Bloch

Emanuel Hirsch Bloch (1901 – January 30, 1954) was an American attorney known for defending clients associated with left-wing and Communist causes. He and Marshall Perlin defended Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.


He was born in 1901 to Alexander Bloch, an attorney.[1] He defended Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and Julius wrote to Bloch that Julius himself was "the first victim of American Fascism".[2][3]

Two weeks before the date scheduled for their deaths, the Rosenbergs were visited by James V. Bennett, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. After the meeting they issued a statement: "Yesterday, we were offered a deal by the Attorney General of the United States. We were told that if we cooperated with the Government, our lives would be spared. By asking us to repudiate the truth of our innocence, the Government admits its own doubts concerning our guilt. We will not help to purify the foul record of a fraudulent conviction and a barbaric sentence. We solemnly declare, now and forever more, that we will not be coerced, even under pain of death, to bear false witness and to yield up to tyranny our rights as free Americans. Our respect for truth, conscience and human dignity is not for sale. Justice is not some bauble to be sold to the highest bidder. If we are executed it will be the murder of innocent people and the shame will be upon the Government of the United States." [4]

It is surprising that Bloch did not encourage Julius to make the confession that would have saved the life of his wife. He would not have had to name anybody other than Harry Gold and David Greenglass who had already made full confessions. It has been suggested that Bloch was under the orders of the Communist Party of the United States who realised that the execution of Ethel would give them a cause that would provide them with propaganda against the "inhumanity of capitalism". [5]

Following their executions, Bloch delivered the eulogy at their funeral and he served as guardian for Michael Meeropol and Robert Meeropol until they were adopted.[1] He also defended the Trenton Six. He died of a heart attack at age 52 on January 30, 1954 in his Manhattan apartment.[1][3][6][7]


  1. ^ a b c "Emanuel Hirsch Bloch". University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. Retrieved 2008-07-08. Emanuel "Manny" Bloch, along with his father Alexander, was the defense attorney for the Rosenbergs. He was known in the legal community as a defender of leftist sympathizers, most recently having defended the leader of the Communist party of Pittsburgh and the Trenton Six. ... Following the executions, Bloch delivered the eulogy at their funeral and served as guardian for the two Rosenberg sons. ... In early 1954 Bloch was found dead in his apartment, dead of a heart attack at age 52. 
  2. ^ Shapiro, Fred (2006). Yale Book of Quotations. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-10798-6. 
  3. ^ a b "Died". Time (magazine). February 8, 1954. Retrieved 2008-06-21. Emanuel Hirsch Bloch, 52, longtime attorney for Communist causes, who defended Atom Spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, later said in a speech at their funeral: "I place the murder of the Rosenbergs at the door of President Eisenhower, Mr. Brownell and J. Edgar Hoover"; of a coronary occlusion; in-his Manhattan apartment. 
  4. ^ Statement issued by the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg after the visit of James V. Bennett, Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (May, 1953)
  5. ^ http://spartacus-educational.com/Emanuel_Bloch.htm
  6. ^ "Rosenbergs' Attorney Found Dead. Emanuel H. Bloch Represented Two Executed Atom Spies.". Associated Press in Hartford Courant. January 31, 1954. Emanuel H. Bloch, attorney for executed atom spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg who faced disbarment for some of his activities in the case, was found dead today. 
  7. ^ "Rosenberg Counsel's Body Is Found in Bathroom. Had Faced Disciplinary Action.". New York Times. January 31, 1954. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 

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