Dreyfus, Alfred (1859–1935). An assimilated Jew and captain in the French Army. He was falsely convicted of treason in 1895. Dreyfus was demoted and sent to Devil’s Island off the coast of South America. His brother worked tirelessly to exonerate him. Finally, in 1906, a court of appeals pronounced his innocence. In the interim, his case garnered international attention. One of the reporters covering the initial trial was Theodor Herzl, who was inspired to question whether assimilation was a viable solution for European Jews. Herzl subsequently outlined his vision of a Jewish national independence.
Courtesy: Professor Shai Cherry