“To remember the Dreyfus case and draw the lessons it has to teach remains a fundamental task for today,” went on to say the Mayor of Paris, for whom “the law is the same for everyone and may be eluded by none. The claim of general interest cannot stand when the people are betrayed by lying leaders.” Bertrand Delanoë made an appeal for continuing the fight for liberty, drawing inspiration from the “astonishing tenacity” and “courage” of those who defended Dreyfus.
Roger Cukierman, President of CRIF, insisted on the exemplary character of the Dreyfus case, which tore France apart for 12 long years. “But the victory of justice was not total. Because though Dreyfus was indeed rehabilitated, the truly guilty ones, those who fabricated the false testimonies, eluded all punishment. Thanks to a scandalous amnesty for reasons of State, not one of the guilty parties was subjected to the slightest condemnation.
Moderated by Marc Knobel, a researcher for CRIF, the symposium, whose exact title was: “The Dreyfus case: history, memory, justice and reasons of State”, went beyond the beaten track of mere commemoration to examine, with the support of first-rate specialists, some of the lesser known aspects of the Dreyfus case. A first panel session on the theme of history and memory, was led by
Simon Epstein, a researcher with the International Centre for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Pascal Ory, professor at the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne and Alain Pagès, professor of French literature at the New Sorbonne University Paris III.
A second panel session on the theme of justice and reasons of State brought together Michel Drouin, secretary of the International History Society of the Dreyfus Affair (SIHAD), researcher with CNRS (Institute of Modern Texts and Manuscripts), Catherine Coquio, professor of comparative literature at the University of Poitiers and Philippe Oriol, publisher of Les Carnets du Capitaine Dreyfus and author of a biography of Bernard Lazare.
This symposium, the initiative of which came from Haïm Musicant, General Director of CRIF, was organized by a joint working group from CRIF and the City of Paris.