June 27, 2007

Today in Jewish History - Tammuz 11

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Yahrtzeit of Alfred Dreyfus, a French army officer who was falsely arrested and charged with treason. Dreyfus was the victim of a frame-up; falsified documents were exposed in a famous open letter entitled J'accuse! (I Accuse!). This scandal, which came to be known as the Dreyfus Affair, bitterly divided French society for many years. Dreyfus was stripped of his rank and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil's Island. (Five years later, he was released and later pardoned.) Theodor Herzl, a Jewish journalist reporting on the trial, was so affected by the anti-Semitism and injustice, that he committed his life to vigorously pursuing the cause of Zionism.