Exiled to Devil’s Island…for a Crime He Did Not Commit

Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage World Premiere Exhibition Opens October 8 

Cleveland, OH (October 2, 2013) – The 1894 court martial of French army Captain Alfred Dreyfus was the world’s first “trial of the century” – a media spectacle fueled by state-sponsored conspiracies, willfully inaccurate press coverage and a dark current of rabid anti-Semitism, all orchestrated in the name of national security. When an innocent man was sentenced to life on Devil’s Island, the Dreyfus Affair became the most infamous event of its time, a global phenomenon that touched the conscience of an entire generation and left lessons that are just as relevant as today’s headlines.

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This fall, the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage introduces visitors to the men and women who played pivotal roles in the case that shook the world when it premieres its original exhibition TRAITOR! Spies, Lies and Justice Denied: The Dreyfus Affair (October 8, 2013 – January 5, 2014).

The immersive exhibition – created with the collaboration of the acclaimed Lorraine Beitler Collection of the Dreyfus Affair – will transport visitors to Paris during La Belle Époque: the “Beautiful Era” of the 1890s. In the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, visitors will experience archival films, photographs, artifacts, works of art and period music that bring to life the world in which Dreyfus lived, illuminating the roots of the affair and the facts of the case, as well as highlighting the villains behind the miscarriage of justice and the heroes who risked their honor and their lives to speak out against it.

“In building the collection, my goal was always to foster debate over the issues of social justice raised in the Dreyfus Affair,” said Dr. Beitler. “I am delighted that this exhibition brings to multiple generations of contemporary audiences the lessons to be learned from a remarkable moment in history.”

“The Dreyfus Affair was an example of European anti-Semitism so overt that it prompted Theodore Herzl to advocate a safe haven for Jews in their historic homeland of Israel,” said Milton Maltz, chair of the board of directors of the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage. “Even those who defended Dreyfus in the press were punished for their opinions, a situation mirrored today in more brutal media repression by governments around the world.” 

The Dreyfus Affair nearly destroyed France’s reputation among civilized nations, sowed the seeds of two world wars and even indirectly inspired the creation of the State of Israel. Today, the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage’s world premiere exhibition invites visitors to discover the story for themselves in a way no history book can convey.

TRAITOR! Spies, Lies and Justice Denied was developed by the Maltz Museum and Gallagher & Associates, an internationally recognized museum exhibition design firm responsible for the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, the Gallery One exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and The Grammy Museum in L.A. In addition, Gallagher & Associates have collaborated with Maltz Museum founder Milton Maltz on many projects such as the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC and the Maltz Museum.

Parking adjacent to the Museum is free, and includes close handicapped spaces. Wheelchairs are available by advance reservation. The Museum is available for private receptions with exclusive viewing of the exhibition. Details and pricing on request.

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Signature Sponsors: Case Western Reserve University; International Spy Museum; Jewish Federation of Cleveland; Porter Wright; Audrey & Albert Ratner

Benefactor Sponsors:  BakerHostetler; Cohen & Co.; Robert & Ita Klein; Alan & Karen Krause; Thompson Hine LLP; Ulmer & Berne LLP; Donna Yanowitz; Zack Bruell Events

Patron Sponsors: Anonymous; Marilyn B. Cagin; Elk & Elk Co., Ltd. – Injury Lawyers; Mr. & Mrs. Robert Gries; Stewart & Donna Kohl; David B. Malik, Esq; Dick and Pat Pogue; Barbara S. Robinson; Mr. & Mrs. Sanford Shore; Weston Hurd

TRAITOR! Spies, Lies and Justice Denied is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. 

The Ohio Arts Council helped fund the Maltz Museum with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.