Cinq années de ma vie 1894-1899 - Five years of my life 1894-1899. Published by Bibliotheque - Charpentier, Paris 1901 - First edition - copy signed by Captain Alfred Dreyfuss on the page next to the title page.
Dreyfus's autobiography published after his final acquittal. "I tell in these pages about my life during the five years that I was cut off from the world of the living", Dreyfus writes at the beginning of the book. In the book, Dreyfus describes the events surrounding the first trial in 1894, his conviction on the basis of the "Bordeaux Document", his deportation to Devil's Island, the retrial in Rennes, and his final acquittal. In this publication, this is the first time that the public has been exposed not only to the details of the affair that stirred the entire world, but also to the feelings of the hero behind it. In the book, Dreyfus writes most openly about the difficult feelings that accompanied him throughout the affair, his views on anti-Semitism, and the outburst of joy when he slowly realized that his path to total acquittal was assured. Dozens of letters he wrote to his wife and various people throughout the affair are quoted in full, with precise dating of each of them. Among them is one of the first letters he wrote to his wife on December 23, 1894 after his arrest, in which he marks more than anything else the struggle that had only begun in those days and ended with his total acquittal five years later: "I suffer a lot, but I feel sorry for you even more than myself... To hear all that is said about me when I know in my mind and conscience that I have never failed, I have never committed the smallest wrong... What is needed above all, whatever may happen to me, is to publish the truth, to shake the heavens and the earth so that it will be revealed... This inappropriate stain must be removed at all costs..." . The book also contains several letters from Lucy, his wife, indicating how much she stood by him throughout the affair, and how much she struggled to prove his innocence and set him free. In a letter dated December 23, 1894, she writes: "You know that I admire you, my dear husband... The terrible slander we are the object of further tightens our bonds of affection... Wherever you are sent, I will follow you... You were a martyr and you are still suffering terribly, the pain that will be caused to you is severe. Promise me you will suffer it bravely...". In the book, Dreyfus details his criticism of the French judicial system, and recounts various scenarios during the affair that were not known to the public until the publication of the book.
Alfred Dreyfus [1859-1935], a French Jewish officer in the French army, was accused of treason and espionage on false charges, in a scandal that shocked the world at the end of the 19th century. His affair was followed all along by the press, posters, public speeches, and politics, becoming a historical event with unprecedented dimensions, but after being imprisoned and going through a trial, his innocence was proven, and he was ultimately acquitted.
360 p. 19 cm. Hardcover wrapped with marble paper, slight wear on the cover. Good condition.