Alfred Dreyfus (1859−1935) was a French artillery officer of Jewish background who was wrongly accused and convicted of treason and espionage in 1894. As such, he became the main protagonist in one of the most famous political scandals of the beginning of the 20th century. In this voice recording of a fragment of his memoirs, made in 1912 at the Sorbonne by the Archives de la parole (Voice archives), Dreyfus recounts the events of July 20, 1906. Eight days after he was exonerated by the Cour de cassation (Court of Cassation) and readmitted into the army with a promotion to the rank of chef de bataillon (major), he was made a knight of the Legion of Honor, an accolade that was published in the Journal officiel. In this recording, Dreyfus expresses his gratitude for the support he received from Lieutenant-Colonel Piquard, who was exonerated as well. Dreyfus also emphasizes the political and social impact of his exoneration and calls for reforms. Archives de la parole was founded at the Sorbonne by Ferdinand Brunot, a linguist and professor of French-language history at the Paris Faculté des lettres (University of Liberal Arts) with the support of manufacturing magnate Émile Pathé in 1911. The cornerstone of the institute of phonetics envisioned by the Université de Paris, this archive of recordings contributes to the preservation of language history. Many famous, “anonymous,” and foreign interviewees participated in more than 300 recorded interviews conducted between 1911 and 1914. The archives also produced 300 recordings of dialects, regional languages, and traditional folk songs, all recorded on-site in the Ardennes, Berry, and Limousin regions of France during the same time period.
Contributor: Brunot, Ferdinand, 1860-1938
Speaker: Dreyfus, Alfred, 1859-1935
Place: Europe; France
Institution: National Library of France
Physical description: Sound recording on one-sided disc : 90 revolutions per minute ; 35 centimeters