Winner's Auctions No. 111

Important Historic Documents, Haskalah, Einstein, Seforim, Manuscripts and Letters from Rabbis and Rebbes

December 11, 2018
Opening $ 1,000
Estimate $ 2,000 - $ 3,000
Sold for $ 1,488
Including buyer's premium

"J'accuse ...! Lettre au Président de la République." Letter to the president of the republic by Émile Zola. Front page of the "L'Aurore" newspaper. Paris, January 13, 1898, issue 87. French.

Émile Zola's original article published in Clemenceau's newspaper defending Alfred Dreyfus. He wrote it as a public letter to the president of France denouncing the military leaders and military court and accusing them of unlawfully jailing the totally innocent Dreyfus. The publication of this sensational letter resounded throughout France and all of Europe. In wake of his brave letter, Zola was tried for libel and sentenced to imprisonment, forcing him to flee to England to evade this punishment. Zola stayed in England for a year, until he was allowed back into France.

French author and publicist Émile Zola [1840-1902] was one of Alfred Dreyfus' primary supporters when Dreyfus was accused in 1895 of betraying his homeland and spying for Germany. In January 1898, he published this article in which he details the injustices done to Dreyfus by the French authorities. "May all my works be lost, if Dreyfus is not innocent ... I do not want my country to remain immersed in lies and injustice," he wrote. This publication was a dramatic turning point in the affair that agitated France and all of Europe. It led to the "protests of the intellectuals," that demanded a retrial and the complete acquittal of Dreyfus, which took place in June, 1906, when the appeals court ruled that Dreyfus was innocent. Dreyfus was reinstated to the French army and promoted to Artillery Major and given the Legion of Honor at a public ceremony [compensation for the French government's "degradation ceremony" for Dreyfus]. This article by Zola was very famous at the time, and is still one of the most read and recognized texts in all cultures throughout the Western world.

[1] leaf, 59x41 cm. Fine condition. Professional restoration with added paper to the margins with blemishes to the first letters of the words on the left side of the page. A number of lines have been emphasized by an anonymous reader of the period.

Important Historic Documents