Dreyfus letter fetches $500,000 at Paris auction

Letter handwritten by French Jewish soldier wrongly convicted of treason in 1894, sold at auction for nearly half a million dollars.

By JTA
May 30, 2013 18:40
1 minute read.
Alfred Dreyfus, a French Jewish soldier wrongfully accused of espionage.

Alfred Dreyfus 370. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

PARIS  – A letter handwritten by Alfred Dreyfus, a French Jewish soldier who was wrongly convicted of treason in 1894, was sold at auction for nearly half a million dollars.

The letter, which Dreyfus sent from prison to government officials in an attempt to clear his name, was sold Wednesday for $492,000 at an auction organized by Sotheby’s Paris branch. It was not expected to bring in more than $190,000, according to the French news agency AFP, which did not name the buyers.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Due to Sotheby’s privacy policy, French media did not report the names of the seller or the buyer, but according to reports the buyer participated in the auction over the phone, outbidding several interested parties.

AFP reported that Dreyfus’ grandson, Charles Dreyfus, wrote an open letter this week urging the seller not to sell but to give the letter to a museum.

The letter was “probably given by Pierre Dreyfus, the son of Alfred, to the national French library for safekeeping on May 1940 so that they may protect it from the German occupation,” Sotheby’s said. “The letter was then returned to the Dreyfus family in 1951 and bought” by the person who sold it at Sotheby’s in 1996, AFP reported.

A captain in the French army, Alfred Dreyfus was exonerated in 1906 of his conviction on charges of spying for Germany after a lengthy court battle rife with anti-Semitic overtones, which historians describe as a determinant of modern Zionism and a major influence on Theodor Herzl – an Austrian journalist who covered the trial and later founded the World Zionist Congress.

The case was widely denounced as a miscarriage of justice, most notably in “J’accuse,” an open letter by Emile Zola published in 1898 on the front page of the newspaper L’Aurore.

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery

By JPOST.COM STAFF