French Profiles in Courage

This 100-year anniversary of the start of World War I reminds us of the human errors and the nationalist sentiments that were responsible for that great tragedy. It is also an opportunity to remember the contribution to humane values and the fate of two Frenchmen who died a few weeks apart in 1914, individuals who exemplified courage in their devotion to truth and justice and in challenging the virus of anti-Semitism. Jean Jaurès and Charles Péguy were totally different human beings who knew each other for a time but who are significant figures in the pantheon of French personalities for their moral authority and courage in defying military officials and the mood of public opinion by asserting the innocence of Captain Alfred Dreyfus. This Jewish captain had been arrested in October 1894 on charges of high treason and convicted in January 1895 by secret court martial. Dreyfus was sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil’s Island, off the coast of South...(Read Full Article)