The Dreyfus Affair and the Leo Frank ..., Charles River Editors
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The Dreyfus Affair and the Leo Frank Trial: The History of the Most Notorious Antisemitic Cases in France and America

Unabridged: 2 hr 33 min

Format: Digital Audiobook Download

Published: 05/28/2024


In September 1890, among a pile of torn-up documents delivered by Mme. Bastian was found a note handwritten in French which, when pieced together, proved to be a list of French military secrets handed over to the Germans by an unknown French officer of the General Staff. This discovery, which proved the existence of a traitor in the department, triggered a ferment in the corridors of the Conseil Superieur de la Guerre, and the hunt was on for the culprit. By a process of elimination, officers of the military intelligence were able to narrow down a list of probable traitors, among whom was a young Jewish staff officer, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, who was immediately earmarked as the chief suspect.  These are the essential facts of the “Dreyfus Affair,” as it came to be known, an episode that in many respects defined French anti-Semitism in the late 19th century. A case was built with the central objective of protecting the integrity of French military establishment, and in the process, the relatively muted anti-Semitism in France (at least compared to other European nations) was transformed into an era of virulent and violent Jew-hatred that characterized and sullied the final decade of the 19th century in France. Even today, as many of the affair’s nuances and facets have faded from memory, its political importance and anti-Semitic elements continue to be well-known and quite relevant today. In 1913, Mary Phagan, a young Georgia factory girl and the daughter of tenant farmers, was raped and killed, and suspicion fell upon Leo Frank, the Jewish-American factory manager, who was subsequently arrested, tried, and convicted of her murder based on the thinnest of circumstantial evidence. The entire case against Frank rested on the testimony of the factory janitor, Jim Conley, despite the fact Conley had been arrested almost immediately after Frank when he was spotted washing what appeared to be blood off his clothes.