Skip to main content
Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful
Save up to 20% on the price of your tickets!

It's easy... Become a member today! If you are already a member, log in to access your member rate.

J’Accuse! The Dreyfus Affair and its Aftermath

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, March 23, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1H0682
Select Your Tickets
$20 - Member
$25 - Non-Member
Reserving your tickets...

Front page of the newspaper L’Aurore with the letter written by Émile Zola, January 13, 1898

On January 5, 1895, a shocking spectacle took place in the courtyard of the Parisian Ecole Militaire. Alfred Dreyfus, a young officer—and a Jew—who had been court-martialed for passing military secrets to the Germans, was publicly degraded and denounced with cries of “Jew” and “Judas”. Based on the flimsiest of evidence, a highly irregular military trial found him guilty of treason and sentenced him to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island off the coast of Guyana. Newspapers became a big factor during the case. Some publications relentlessly attacked Dreyfus. Other journalists and writers, including novelist Émile Zola, denounced the role of the French army for what they saw as a miscarriage of justice. New evidence identified the actual traitor as well as another French officer who had forged documents implicating Dreyfus.

Historian Ralph Nurnberger highlights the trial when Dreyfus was convicted and the subsequent trials over the course of the next dozen years, as well as providing background on the fascinating characters involved during the various stages of “The Affair”. He explains why the Dreyfus affair has had far-reaching ramifications, including setting the stage for the expansion of anti-Semitism in Europe and the difficulties faced by minorities seeking justice in pluralist societies.

Patron Information

  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
  • Unless otherwise noted, registration for streaming programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.