French Army officer, convicted of treason and imprisoned; conviction later set aside largely due to the efforts of Emile Zola.
Bust-length postcard portrait photograph of Alfred Dreyfus in formal military attire, Signed on the mount below, A Dreyfus, undated. The black and white image measures 3 * wide by 4 * inches high.
Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason and imprisoned in 1895. A later investigation (forced largely by Emile Zola in 1898) proved that the papers on which he had been convicted were forged, resulting in a second trial (1899), again with a conviction which led the French President, in an attempt to forestall further controversy, to grant him an official pardon. As this did not clear his name, his supporters, Zola in the lead, pressed for a civilian court of appeals to hear the case (1906), which ultimately vindicated him. He was later awarded France’s Legion of Honor.
A century later, the scandal known as the Dreyfus Affair still resonates and is the subject of fresh investigations, most recently a new book by Oxford historian Ruth Harris, Politics, Emotion, and the Scandal of the Century. A review in the New York Times states: “The story is a rich one, exposing the determination of military and political leaders to cover up their errors at all costs and, still more profoundly, the bigotry that foreshadowed the genocidal horrors of the 20th century.”
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