Ruth Greenglass bigraphy, stories - Spies

Ruth Greenglass : biography

April 30, 1924 - April 7, 2008

Ruth Leah Printz Greenglass (April 30, 1924 – April 7, 2008) was an atomic spy along with her husband David.


Ruth Leah Printz was born on April 30, 1924, in New York City to Max Printz and Tillie Leiter. She grew up in the same neighborhood, the Lower East Side, as her future husband, David Greenglass. She graduated with honors from Seward Park High School at 16. Although quite young, she and Greenglass wanted to marry before he was drafted to serve in World War II. They married in late November 1942 when he was 20 and she was 18. They shared an interest in politics and together joined the Young Communist League.

After her husband was drafted and inducted into the Army in 1943, Ruth Greenglass continued to visit him. In November 1944, she visited him in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he was working as a machinist on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos. During that visit, she asked him to forward any information on the project to his brother-in-law Julius Rosenberg.

When the FBI questioned him about suspected espionage activities, David Greenglass agreed to confess to his own activities and to testify against Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in exchange for immunity for his wife so that she could remain at home with their two children. At the trial, Ruth Greenglass implicating Ethel in the espionage ring by testifying that Ethel Rosenberg had typed up the notes that David Greenglass had provided. Ruth also testified that both Rosenbergs had urged her to persuade her husband to become involved in espionage. Her testimony was crucial in securing Ethel's conviction. She rejoined her husband after his release from prison in 1960 and they lived in New York City under assumed names with their children.

She died on April 7, 2008, at the age of 83, a fact that became widely known only when the government, numbering her among the deceased witnesses, released her grand jury testimony a few weeks later. Her husband David survived her.

The truth of her testimony at the Rosenberg trial has been questioned.Sam Roberts, The Brother: The Untold Story of the Rosenberg Case (NY: Random House, 2003),ISBN 0-375-76124-1 In September 2008, her grand jury transcripts were released and showed that when testifying before the grand jury in August 1950 Ruth Greenglass was asked, "Didn't you write [the information] down on a piece of paper?" and replied "Yes, I wrote [the information] down a piece of paper and [Julius Rosenberg] took it with him." At the trial she testified that Ethel Rosenberg typed up the notes about the atomic bomb.

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