Emanuel Hirsch Bloch

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Emanuel Hirsch Bloch
Bloch-Emannuel 001a.png
Bloch on June 19, 1953 in Washington, DC
Born May 12, 1901[1]
New York City, New York
Died January 30, 1954(1954-01-30) (aged 52)
New York, New York
Cause of death heart attack
Known for Julius and Ethel Rosenberg
Trenton Six
Parent(s) Alexander Bloch

Emanuel "Manny" Hirsch Bloch (May 12, 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, and Pauline Bloch.[2] He graduated from City College of New York in 1920 before attending Columbia Law School.


Bloch worked as an attorney in New York from 1924–42, then served in the U.S. Army during World War II.[1]

Hiss Case[edit]

On December 14, 1948, Bloch appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) as counsel for Marion Bachrach. On August 3, 1948, Whittaker Chambers alleged that she had been a member of the Ware group. She was born Marion Abt and was the sister of John Abt, another alleged member of that group (to whose membership Lee Pressman attested, though Abt himself never did). At the time of Bachrach's testimony, she stated she was a writer in the national office of the Communist Party of the USA in New York City, where she also lived. Under advice of counsel, she pled the Fifth Amendment (refused to answer any questions that might incriminate herself). At the time, Bloch himself answered questions that confirmed he had already represented Steve Nelson before the committee. Nelson was (according to a HUAC committee member) a "head of the Communist Party in western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and northern West Virginia. He now lives in Harmarville, PA. I believe he served the Communist Party for a number of years as a sort of secretary of labor. He is an expert on so-called foreign groups and is currently working to keep the Tito Comimmists from jumping the line here as they did abroad"[3]

Rosenberg case[edit]

He defended Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Julius wrote to Bloch that Julius himself was "the first victim of American Fascism".[4][5]

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."[6]

Personal and death[edit]

Following execution of the Rosenbergs, Bloch delivered the eulogy at their funeral. He served as guardian for the Rosenberg's children, Michael and Robert, until they were adopted.[2] He also defended the Trenton Six.

Bloch died of a heart attack at age 52 on January 30, 1954 in his Manhattan apartment.[2][5][7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b FBI File: Emanuel Bloch. Federal Bureau of Investigation. p. 201. Retrieved 17 July 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c "Emanuel Hirsch Bloch". University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  3. ^ Hearings Regarding Communist Espionage in the United States Government - Part Two. US GPO. 11 January 1949. pp. 1467–1474. Retrieved 5 November 2017. 
  4. ^ Shapiro, Fred (2006). Yale Book of Quotations. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-10798-6. 
  5. ^ a b "Died". Time. 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. 
  6. ^ Statement issued by the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg after the visit of James V. Bennett, Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (May, 1953)
  7. ^ "Rosenbergs' Attorney Found Dead. Emanuel H. Bloch Represented Two Executed Atom Spies". Hartford Courant. Associated Press. January 31, 1954. 
  8. ^ "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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