The Dreyfus family continued to be an integral part of French history long after rehabilitation day. It is baffling to think that, despite the suffering endured at the hands of the French army, Alfred, Lucie and their two children continued to show a staunch loyalty to France:
"When I am finally leading my brave soldiers again, I will forget everything, the suffering, the torture, the outrageous insults!" said Alfred, anxious to enlist as artillery officer in World War I (2 August 1914).
Lucie, a trained nurse, also volunteered with her daughter Jeanne in the Saint-Louis hospital. Pierre served in the war as artillery officer, receiving the Croix de Guerre for his service.
After the war Alfred would gradually retire from public life; tucked in his study, he revisited the Affair by cataloguing his diaries, scrapbooks and letters. On July 12, 1935, he died at his home in Paris, and was buried in a small religious service at the Montparnasse cemetery. Obituaries across the world remembered the quiet hero, "the victim of one of the most atrocious conspiracies in history.".
Five years later the Germans invaded Paris and the Dreyfuses left the capital for unoccupied southern France. First, the worsening of anti-Jewish measures and, later, the deportation of Jews, forced seventy-three old Lucie into hiding. She found shelter as ‘Madame Duteil’ (her sister’s married name) amidst the retired nuns of Valence. She would only return to Paris in 1944, where she died the following year.
On the tomb of Alfred and Lucie in the Montparnasse cemetery is the name of their much-loved granddaughter Madeleine Lévy. A social worker for the Red Cross, Madeleine was a member of the Résistance in the special ‘Combat’ division. She was 25 years old when, in November 1943, she was arrested and taken to the Drancy internment camp. After one week she was deported to Auschwitz.
|Madeleine Levy (Dreyfus' granddaughter)
Dreyfus Family Collection