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The Development of Modern Anti-Semitism

The Dreyfus Affair


Dreyfus's degradation...



Police photograph...



The Dreyfus affair produced...



An anti-Dreyfus poster...

IN SPITE OF LEGAL EQUALITY and progressing integration into Western societies at the end of the 19th century, anti-Semitism remains a threat to Jews. But anti-Semitic attacks are now opposed by people who take up the continued discrimination of Jews as an issue of human rights. The greater integration, but also the greater exposure to anti-Semitic discrimination, is reflected in the Dreyfus Affair, an anti-Semitic incident that engaged French society and the political forces for many years.

In 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, an officer on the French general staff, is accused of spying for Germany, France's opponent in the last war. The only evidence is a scrap of paper, retrieved from the wastebasket by a cleaning woman, with handwriting that does not much resemble that of Dreyfus. But Dreyfus is Jewish, the only Jew on the general staff. And Jews are considered people without a fatherland, insufficiently loyal to the country they live in.

Dreyfus is convicted, partly on evidence forged by anti-Semitic officers, and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil's Island off the coast of South America. At his public demotion, a crowd - incited by the anti-Semitic press - shouts anti-Jewish slogans. A journalist publicizes Dreyfus's cause, but the real culprit, Major Esterhazy, whose guilt is now known to the government, continues to be protected. (CONT)


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