The Rosenberg Trial is the sum of many stories: a story of betrayal, a love story, a spy story, a story of a family torn apart, and a story of government overreaching.
Dearest Sweethearts, my most precious children,
Only this morning it looked like we might be together again after all. Now that his cannot be, I want so much for you to know all that I have come to know. Unfortunately, I may write only a few simple words; the rest your own lives must teach you, even as mine taught me. At first, of course, you will grieve bitterly for us, but you will not grieve alone. That is our consolation and it must eventually be yours. Eventually, too you must come to believe that life is worth the living. Be comforted that even now, with the end of ours slowly approaching, that we know this with a conviction that defeats the executioner! Your lives must teach you, too, that good cannot really flourish in the midst of evil; that freedom and all the things that go to make up a truly satisfying and worthwhile life, must sometimes be purchased very dearly. Be comforted then that we were serene and understood with the deepest kind of understanding, that civilization had not as yet progressed to the point where life did not have to be lost for the sake of life; and that we were comforted in the sure knowledge that others would carry on after us. We wish we might have had the tremendous joy and gratification of living our lives out with you. Your Daddy who is with me in these last momentous hours, sends his heart and all the love that is in it for his dearest boys. Always remember that we were innocent and could not wrong our conscience.
We press you close and kiss you with all our strength.
Lovingly, Daddy and Mommy Julie Ethel
Melissa Nathan is a popular comical romanticist novelist from the UK. In 2001 Melissa was diagnosed with breast cancer but continued her writing. Despite her fearless fight with the disease she died in April 2006 just after her son’s 3rd birthday at the age of 37.
First, to my wonderful parents. You have given me a life suffused with love, support and friendship. I have been lucky enough to see eye to eye with you both, and look up to you at the same time. Please never feel that I have had a hard life. I have had 37 wonderful years, and I’m grateful to you both for giving me that. I am happy and at peace. My wonderful Andrew. I respect you as much as I love you, and that is saying something. You, of all people I know, will get through this. After all, you’ve got through nearly 12 years of marriage with me, and that’s no easy feat. I have been so lucky to know you. You have been my steady rock, my gentle giant, my best friend, my everything. I wish you a happy life, full of love and joy. And my amazing Sammy. I wanted to know you for longer, my love, but it wasn’t to be. Still, at only three years old, you have already left an imprint on my heart that will go with me, wherever it is I’m going. Motherhood made my life worthwhile. And you gave me that. What does a mother wish for her son? I wish you happiness. You have a wonderful daddy and a family who adores you. Go into the world knowing that while you were everything to your mother, you won’t have to deal with an annoying woman who can’t stop kissing you when you’re 15. I will be in the sky kissing you from afar.
Senior pilot Kuno was a Captain for the Japanese airforce during Second World War and a voluntary kamikaze pilot. On May 23, 1945, the eve of his mission, he wrote his final letter in katakana to his 5-year-old son and his 2-year-old daughter.
Dear Masanori and Kiyoko,
Even though you cannot see me, I will always be watching you. Obey your mother, and do not trouble her. When you grow up, follow a path you like and grow to be fine Japanese persons. Do not envy the father of others, since I will become a spirit and closely watch over you two. Both of you, study hard and help out your mother with work. I cannot be your horse to ride, but you two be good friends. I am an energetic person who flew a large bomber and finished off all the enemy. Please be persons who rise above me and so avenge my death.
Wild Bill Hickok
James Butler Hickok known as Wild Bill Hickok was a skilled gunfighter and lawman from the American old west. Hickok was also a professional gambler between his law-enforcement duties. On August 2, 1876, Hickok was playing poker at Deadwood, in the Black Hills of Dakota Territory. A former buffalo hunter named John McCall walked in to within a few feet of Hickok, drew a pistol and shouted, “Take that!” The bullet hit Hickok in the back of the head, killing him instantly.
Shortly before his death, he wrote a letter to his new wife, which read: “Agnes Darling, if such should be we never meet again, while firing my last shot, I will gently breathe the name of my wife — Agnes — and with wishes even for my enemies I will make the plunge and try to swim to the other shore.” J.B. Hickok Wild Bill
On May nineteen, 1902 en detonation occurred at the Fraterville Coal Mine in Tennessee. The disaster killed 216 mineworkers making it the biggest mining catastrophe in the state’s history. A few miners survived the initial blast and lived for several hours trapped in the mine and were able to write farewell letters to their families. Jacob Vowell was with his son Elbert who was just 14 year old and wrote a letter of love and faith to comfort his wife Ellen and family. He also mentions “Little Eddie” who is his previously deceased child.
The letter reads:
“Ellen, darling, goodbye for us both. Elbert said the Lord has saved him. Do the best you can with the children. We are all praying for air to support us, but it is getting so bad without any air. Horace, Elbert said for you to wear his shoes and clothing. It is now 1/2 past 1:00. Powell Harmon’s watch is in Andy Woods’ hand. Ellen, I want you to live right and come to heaven. Little Elbert said he trusted in the Lord. The bad air is closing in on us fast. Dear Ellen, I leave you in bad condition, but set your trust in the Lord to help you raise my little children. Elbert said for you all to meet him in heaven, for all of the children to meet us both. Raise the children the best you can. Oh how I wish to be with you. Goodbye, all of you, Goodbye. Bury me and Elbert in the same grave by little Eddie. Goodbye Ellen, Goodbye Lillie, Goodbye Jimmie, Goodbye Minnie, Goodbye Horace. Oh God, for one more breath. Ellen, remember me as long as you live. Goodbye darling. It is 25 minutes after 2:00. There are few of us alive yet. Jake and Elbert.”
Ziad Jarrah was the hijacker-pilot of United Airlines Flight 93 which went down into a field in a rural area near Shanksville, Pennsylvania killing all 44 people on board.
“I don’t want you to become sad, I still live somewhere else, where you can’t see me and can’t hear me, but I will see you and know how you are. And I will wait for you until you come to me. Everybody has his time and will move sometime. I am guilty that I raised your hopes about wedding, marriage, children and family” The letter also contains phrases such as: “You ought to be very proud, because it is an honor and you will see the results and everybody will be happy”. In another portion he writes “I did what I was supposed to do” The last page of the letter (shown above) translates to: Remember what you are and who would deserve you. I hug you and kiss you on your hands and on the head. And I thank you and apologize for the very wonderful, hard five years that you spent with me. Your patience has a [unreadable] Allah …I am your prince and I will pick you up. Goodbye!!
Your man forever
Captain Robert Scott
Captain Robert Scott was a Royal Navy officer and explorer who led expeditions to the Antarctic regions.
Oh my dear, my dear, what dreams I had of his future and yet, oh my girl, I know you will face it stoically – your portrait and the boy’s will be found in my breast. What lots and lots I could tell you of this journey. What tales you would have for the boy, but, oh, what a price to pay. To forfeit the sight of your dear, dear face. “I think the best chance has gone. We have decided not to kill ourselves but to fight it to the last for that depot but in the fighting there is a painless end so don’t worry.”
Interesting Fact: The letter (shown above) was found along with the three explorer’s bodies several months after their deaths and just 11 miles from their supply camp. Scott’s wife Kathleen remarried politician Edward Hilton Young in 1922 and became Baroness Kennet when he was ennobled in 1935. His son, then 3, went on to graduate from Trinity College, Cambridge and have a distinguished career in ornithology.
Milada Horáková was a Czech politician and was elected a Member of Parliament, where she remained until the Communist coup in February 1948.
The reason was not that I loved you little; I love you just as purely and fervently as other mothers love their children. But I understood that my task here in the world was to do you good … by seeing to it that life becomes better, and that all children can live well. … Don’t be frightened and sad because I am not coming back any more. Learn, my child, to look at life early as a serious matter. Life is hard, it does not pamper anybody, and for every time it strokes you it gives you ten blows. Become accustomed to that soon, but don’t let it defeat you. Decide to fight.”
This letter was written in 1861, one week before the union soldier was killed at the First Battle of Bull Run which was the first major land battle of the American Civil War.
The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days – perhaps tomorrow. And lest I should not be able to write you again I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I am no more. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing – perfectly willing – to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this government, and to pay that debt.
Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but omnipotence can break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly with all those chains to the battlefield. The memory of all the blissful moments I have enjoyed with you come crowding over me, and I feel most deeply grateful to God and you, that I have enjoyed them for so long. And how hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes and future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and see our boys grown up to honorable manhood around us. If I do not return, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I loved you, nor that when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name… Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless, how foolish I have sometimes been!…
But, O Sarah, if the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they love, I shall always be with you, in the brightest day and in the darkest night… always, always. And when the soft breeze fans your cheek, it shall be my breath, or the cool air your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for me, for we shall meet again…
Mary Queen of Scots
Translated from French the last part of her letter (shown above) reads:
I have taken the liberty of sending you two precious stones, talismans against illness, trusting you will enjoy good health and a long and happy life. Accept them from your loving sister-in-law, who, as she dies, bears witness of her warm feelings for you. Give instructions if it please you, that for my soul’s sake part of what you owe me should be paid, and that for the sake of Jesus Christ, to whom I shall pray for you tomorrow as I die, I be left enough to found a memorial mass and give the customary alms.
Wednesday at two in the morning,
Your most moving and most true sister,
Marie R. Queen of Scotland.”