Entr’acte: Dreyfus Affair – Over, or under a new name?
By Alan Riding International Herald Tribune

Published: July 5, 2006

PARIS One hundred years ago this month, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a French-Jewish army officer who had spent five years on Devil’s Island for high treason and an additional seven years trying to clear his name, was absolved by France’s Supreme Court. A few days later, he was reinstated into the army, promoted to lieutenant colonel and given the Légion d’Honneur.

The Dreyfus Affair, which deeply divided France and sparked a vicious wave of anti-Semitism, was finally over. Or was it?

In practice, many anti-Dreyfusards – nationalists, army officers, fervent Catholics and assorted bigots – refused to accept Dreyfus’s innocence. The Catholic daily La Croix lamented “the traitor’s reintegration into the army.”

Dreyfus himself left the army in 1907, rejoined it during World War I, then led a fairly uneventful life until his death in 1935. Yet, only five years later, during the German occupation of France, anti- Semitism became official policy as the collaborationist Vichy regime helped to deport 76,000 Jews, including Dreyfus’s granddaughter, to Nazi death camps.

Now, on the centenary of Dreyfus’s acquittal, the affair is again being remembered here.