Dreyfus Found Guilty

On this date in 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus of the French military was found guilty of having sold French military secrets to Germany. The verdict was based on antisemitic innuendo and paltry evidence. Dreyfus was sentenced to life imprisonment and spent two years in solitary confinement on Devil’s Island off the South American coast. Although evidence […]

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March 25: Last Chief Rabbi of France

Zadoc Kahn was inducted as the last official Chief Rabbi of France on this date in 1890. His tenure, which would last until his death at 66 in 1905, was marked by Dreyfus Affair: Kahn officiated at the 1890 wedding of Captain Alfred and Lucie Dreyfus and supported them throughout Dreyfus’ false imprisonment, but was […]

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June 4: Alfred Dreyfus Is Shot

Alfred Dreyfus, the French Jewish military officer whose trial and imprisonment for twelve years on false charges of spying drove a wedge through French society, was shot in the arm and wrist by an anti-Semitic military journalist, Louis Grégori, while attending a ceremony honoring Emile Zola, Dreyfus’ great public defender, on this date in 1908. […]

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December 2: The Vatican and the Dreyfus Affair

The official newspaper of the Vatican, L’Osservatore Romano, commented on this date in 1897 (some sources say 1898) on the arrest and trial of Alfred Dreyfus as “hardly surprising if we again find the Jew in the front ranks, or if we find that the betrayal of one’s country has been Jewishly conspired and Jewishly […]

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August 15: The Panama Canal Scandal

The Panama Canal was used for the first time on this date in 1914. Construction on the Canal had originally been in the hands of Augustin Solomon, a French Jew who lost his concession from the Colombian government (which then owned the Isthmus of Panama) in part because, as one French official expressed it in […]

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“Do I Look Like a Nazi?”

The Dieudonné Affair in France by Mitchell Abidor An avalanche of outrage has been cascading down on the French comedian, provocateur, and Jew-hater Dieudonné. The performer has been on the receiving end of attacks from the French government, which succeeded in banning his public performances after he made a series of outrageous comments, including one […]

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April 29: Rachel Sassoon Beer

Rachel Sassoon Beer, the first woman editor of a national newspaper, died on this date in 1929. Sassoon was born in India into one of the 19th century’s wealthiest families, the Iraqi Sassoons. She was disowned by her Orthodox Jewish family, however, when she converted out of Judaism to Anglicanism in 1887 and married financier […]

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Proust at the Morgan

by Mitchell Abidor This year marks the hundredth anniversary of entry into the world of one of the most cultivated, worldly, charming, loved, and ultimately saddest Jews of the 20th century, Charles Swann, the main character in Swann’s Way, the first volume of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, which was published at the […]

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February 7: Émile Zola on Trial

French writer Émile Zola, a major force in the liberalization of France, was brought to trial for libel on this date in 1898 for having published “J’Accuse“, an open letter to French President Félix Faure that charged the French government with anti-Semitism and deceit in the conviction of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jew, on charges […]

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