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J'Accuse! The Dreyfus Affair



La-Libre-Parole-thumbIn 1894, Alfred Dreyfus, a French army intelligence officer, was arrested, tried and convicted of being a spy. There was no evidence against him: what was most significant was that he was a Jew. The military hierarchy pursued the case against Dreyfus even when it was clear to all but the most prejudiced that Dreyfus was innocent. It took 12 years of social turmoil, violence and lobbying for him to be finally cleared of the charges. Captain Dreyfus came to represent the struggles between the individual and the state, between civilian government and military authority, between the politics of parliamentary institutions and the politics of the mob.

The Dreyfus Affair changed the way politics, the media and society operated into the 20th century.


J’Accuse! The Dreyfus Affair was curated by the Jewish Museum of Australia with original material on loan from The Lorraine Beitler Collection of the Dreyfus Affair, University of Pennsylvania.

“The exhibition is rich in moral, political and cultural ideas, among them the role of the individual in civic life, and the need for courage to support unpopular causes” says exhibition curator Dr Deborah Rechter.“Studying the Dreyfus Affair, with its complexities and nuances, reminds us that while there continue to be dark times of distressing oppression, so there are moments of redemption, when the actions of individuals can provide for very real enlightenment.”

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