Emile Zola

In mid-January 1898 the case of the bordereau was over: Dreyfus had been convicted, Esterhazy acquitted, Picquart arrested. And then came Zola. His famous J’accuse! article had an immense impact on public opinion, and so did his subsequent two trials for libel. In his open letter to the President of the Republic, published in L’Aurore two days after Esterhazy’s acquittal, Zola did precisely what the punchy title promised: he accused top army generals, ministers, handwriting experts, and the judges of both court martials of having taken part in the cover-up of the real traitor.


In addition to J’accuse!, the exhibition displays photos, postcards and other images that convey the novelist’s decisive role in the story. In the powerful Zola aux outrages, the painter Henry de Groux shows a proud Zola making his way amidst the raging street mob.

Emile Zola- J’accuse!
Emile Zola- J’accuse!
L’Aurore 13 January, 1898 National Library of Israel
Emile Zola (1840-1902)
Henry de Groux- Zola, Insulted
Emile Zola (1840-1902)
Dreyfus Family Collection
​​ Henry de Groux- Zola, Insulted
(Zola aux Outrages)
1898, Oil on canvas. Association du Musée Emile Zola

A Country Divided: Dreyfusards and Anti-Dreyfusards Theodor-Herzl