On 19 June 1953 Ethel Rosenberg became the first woman to be executed by the US government in almost a century, and the only woman in the US to be executed for a crime other than murder. She was 37 years old and the mother of 2 small children. Her case resonates more than ever today at a time of world tension and conspiracy rumours focused on a resurgent Soviet Union. Any battle to seek forgiveness for a convicted communist spy would, today, at a time when the Cold War seems all too resonant, stand little chance of success. But the story of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg refuses to die; this is an important moment to recount not simply what FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover called the ‘trial of the century’, but also a timeless human story of a supportive wife, loving mother and idealist who had her life barbarically cut short for a crime she almost certainly did not commit.