Scheurer-Kestner: Pillar of the Third Republic

During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, writes D.R. Watson, an impeccable Republican from Alsace played a vital part in the politics of France.

D.R. Watson | Published in History Today

Auguste Scheurer-Kestner is remembered today only for his part in the Dreyfus Affair. Vice-President of the Senate, he was the first important politician to take up the cause of Alfred Dreyfus, in the summer of 1897, three years after this Jewish staff officer had been wrongly condemned on a charge of spying for Germany.

I do not wish to detail here his role in the Dreyfus Affair, which has been dealt with in two good books in English, by Guy Chapman and Douglas Johnson, and more briefly by John Roberts in History Today (June 1954), but rather to attempt a picture of this austere and yet attractive figure.

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