18 December 2003
[DREYFUS, Alfred (1859-1935)]. GRIBAYEDOFF, V., photographer. Photograph of Alred Dreyfus at his second trial at Rennes, France, 1899. 11 x 7¼ inches, mounted on board.
A FAMOUS IMAGE OF DREYFUS AT HIS SECOND TRIAL
In 1894, Alfred Dreyfus was wrongly convicted as a German spy and banished to Devil's Island for life. His family fought tirelessly to overturn his conviction, and they were joined by a host of leading French intellectuals, like Emile Zola and Georges Clemenceau. Evidence of massive government impropriety forced a French appeals courts to overturn the conviction, and on June 3, 1899 it ordered a new trial, to take place in the small town of Rennes, in Brittany. Here, we see Dreyfus at his re-trial, standing stern and erect, deeply tanned by his tropical ordeal. He stares at the military judges that will decide his case. To the right of the judges stand the army prosecutors. Behind Dreyfus are his lawyers. Several rows of international journalists occupy the bottom center of the frame. The court found Dreyfus guilty but the President of France granted him a pardon. Not until July 1906 did the government finally acknowledge his innocence.
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