But the innocent people targeted by investigators were scarred. “This was the worst time in my life,” says Sidney Roseberg, now the oldest member of Temple Emanu-El in San Jose, California, where for more than four decades, he has chanted the Rosh Hashanah service in Hebrew for the congregation. Fearful of unwanted attention and possible retribution, he remains reluctant at first to talk about what happened to him.
Eva Rosenberg, who became a bat mitzvah at age 91, believes it is important to let the world know, although she often expresses concern that doing so might lead the government to take away her husband’s pension and her health insurance.
Milton and Eva Rosenberg’s daughters believe their family has been deeply affected. Their parents didn’t speak about what happened for years and didn’t tell their daughter Karen until 1968, when she was 18. “My parents lived under a halo of shame,” says Karen Rosenberg, now a social worker in Ohio. “They didn’t want to lose their friends again. They had been shunned in Washington Village. The whole affair was shrouded in secrecy. I couldn’t understand it at the time. I couldn’t understand anyone trying to hide their politics. But my mom kept saying over and over again that they didn’t want to lose their community. Now that I am older I understand that. I see how the trauma is still in her being.
“Such a traumatic experience never really fully goes away,” says Karen Rosenberg, “especially when it is not openly discussed.”
Click here to read a special report on anti-Muslim discrimination in post 9/11 America
This project was supported by the Fund for Investigative Journalism