13. The Dreyfus Affair, Part 6

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“Long live the Republic! Long live the truth!” – Alfred Dreyfus, 1899

Welcome back to The Land of Desire, a French history podcast dedicated to exploring all the weird adventures, mysteries and surprising backstories behind French cultural icons. This week we conclude our series on The Dreyfus Affair: one of the most definitive moments in French history. When a French soldier named Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason, his trial became a national sensation, and his banishment was a triumph. There was just one teensy little problem: Alfred was innocent. Over the course of six weeks we’ll take on the crime of the century: a tale of betrayal, espionage, religious fanaticism, and a conspiracy which stretched from the meanest criminal all the way to the President himself. This week, we’re bringing our series to a conclusion as we explore the reasons for and the relevance of one of the most definitive moments in French history: “The Dreyfus Affair”.

Episode 13: “The Dreyfus Affair, Part 6”

The Cast of Characters:

This week, instead of my usual cast of characters photos, I wanted to feature the delightful artwork of Ben Shahn. These illustrations hail from a collection called The Dreyfus Affair: The Ben Shahn Prints. You can buy your own copy of this book for the low, low price of $2,600!

Captain Picquart, Ben Shahn, 1984.
Captain Picquart, Ben Shahn, 1984.
Labori & Picquart, Ben Shahn, 1984.
Labori & Picquart, Ben Shahn, 1984.
Fernand Labori, Ben Shahn, 1984.
Fernand Labori, Ben Shahn, 1984.
Commandant du Paty de Clam, Ben Shahn, 1984.
Commandant du Paty de Clam, Ben Shahn, 1984.
Alfred Dreyfus, Ben Shahn, 1984.
Alfred Dreyfus, Ben Shahn, 1984.

Life After The Affair:

Lucie and Alfred Dreyfus enjoying retirement, Carpentras, 1900s.
Lucie and Alfred Dreyfus enjoying retirement, Carpentras, 1900s.

Alfred Dreyfus's uniform.
Alfred Dreyfus’s uniform.

Madeleine Levy, granddaughter of Lucie and Alfred Dreyfus.
Madeleine Levy, granddaughter of Lucie and Alfred Dreyfus. Died at Auschwitz.

NOTE: For those who wish to avoid spoilers, I’ll only be adding evidence to each post as it is discovered throughout the series.

Further Reading:

The Affair: The Case of Alfred Dreyfus (Jean-Denis Bredin, 1986): If you get one single volume history of the Dreyfus Affair, make sure it’s this one!

“Still Wandering” by Thomas A. Bass – A terrific meditation on Alfred Dreyfus and his modern legacy (or lack thereof).

“Is It Time for the Jews To Leave France?” by Jeffrey Goldberg – Oof, a sad piece from The Atlantic, connecting Alfred Dreyfus to modern anti-Semitism in Europe.

Every single page of notes from Alfred Dreyfus’s final acquittal trial, scanned and indexed by the National Library of Israel. Isn’t the internet amazing?

Sources:

Dawn of the Belle Époque (Mary McAuliffe, 2011)

For The Soul of France: Culture Wars in the Age of Dreyfus (Frederick Brown, 2011)

The Affair: The Case of Alfred Dreyfus (Jean-Denis Bredin, 1986): If you get one single volume history of the Dreyfus Affair, make sure it’s this one!

“Trial of the Century” (Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, September 28, 2009)

“Dreyfus Was Vindicated, But What Of The French?” (Alan Riding, New York Times, July 7, 2006)

Prevent the Next Dreyfus Affair:

Give to The Anti-Defamation League, fighting anti-Semitism and bigotry everywhere.

Give to the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International to support fair trials for the accused around the world.

The post 13. The Dreyfus Affair, Part 6 appeared first on The Land of Desire.

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