Odds and quads

In 1894, a young Jewish artillery officer, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, was convicted of betraying French military secrets to the Germans and sentenced to solitary confinement in French Guiana. It soon turned out that he had been found guilty on trumped-up evidence.

October 13, 2011

The resulting scandal divided the nation into warring progressive and traditionalist camps. Although many lobbied the government to reopen the case, notably the novelist Émile Zola in his incendiary open letter J'accuse, it was not until 1906 that Dreyfus was finally exonerated.

The Dreyfus Affair generated vast quantities of pamphlets, polemics and satirical images.

Much of this material was assembled by the Dreyfus Society, established in Bonn in 1993 to draw out the crucial lessons about anti-Semitism, racism and human rights.

Holdings include the full trial transcripts, a unique collection of songs relating to the affair and a rare 51-volume complete set of musée des horreurs lithographs - savage caricatures of the main personalities involved. Long scattered across Europe, the archive is now being transferred to Birkbeck, University of London.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to: matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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