[LABORI (Fernand, 1860-1917, French Attorney who defended Dreyfus and Zola)]

Unsigned Carte-de-visite sized Portrait Photograph, with a stamp of his signature in red below, showing him head and shoulders, three quarter face with his monocle, 3½" x 2¼", no place, no date, circa

In 1894 a certain Major Esterházy attermpted to sell secrets to the German military attaché in Paris, particularly about the state of French artillery, and was at last successful. He said he would leave a list, the notorious 'bordereau', of documents he could obtain, which was found by the French military authorities. By some process of elimination they fastened on Staff Officer Captain Alfred Dreyfus as the culprit, who was sentenced to transportation for life, after a secret tribunal fuelled by anti-Semitism. Faced with protests by Dreyfusards the army published the bordereau in 1897. The real author was quickly established and Esterházy faced a secret courtmartial, but was unbelievably acquitted. The case divided France for over a decade, even though a Colonel Henry confessed in 1898 to forging supporting documents against Dreyfus, Henry committing suicide the next day. Simultaneously Esterházy fled to Brussels and then settled in England.
In January 1898, in support of Dreyfus, the novelist Émile Zola had published his famous open letter to the President, 'J'Accuse'. Zola, sued for libel, was defended by Labori, but lost and left the country. In 1899 Labori was wounded in an assassination attempt, on the eve of cross examining the witnesses when Dreyfus' case was re-opened at Rennes. Even then the verdict was a compromise. Dreyfus was only fully rehabilitated in 1906.

Item Date:  1898

Stock No:  54427      £175

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