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Emile Zola

Geburtstag: 2. April 1840
Todesdatum: 29. September 1902

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Émile Édouard Charles Antoine Zola war ein französischer Schriftsteller und Journalist.

Zola gilt als einer der großen französischen Romanciers des 19. Jahrhunderts und als Leitfigur und Begründer der gesamteuropäischen literarischen Strömung des Naturalismus. Zugleich war er ein sehr aktiver Journalist, der sich auf einer gemäßigt linken Position am politischen Leben beteiligte.

Sein Artikel J’accuse …! spielte eine Schlüsselrolle in der Dreyfus-Affäre, die Frankreich jahrelang in Atem hielt, und trug entscheidend zur späteren Rehabilitierung des fälschlich wegen Landesverrats verurteilten Offiziers Alfred Dreyfus bei.

Zitate Emile Zola

„Wenn es kein Brot gibt für alle, macht man keine Kinder mehr, und die Nation verreckt!“

— Emile Zola
Die Erde. Übersetzt von Hans Balzer. Berlin: Rütten & Loening, 1973. S. 164

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„La vérité est en marche et rien ne l'arrêtera.“

— Emile Zola
"Die Wahrheit ist im Anmarsch und nichts wird sie aufhalten.") - J'accuse (Ich klage an)

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„As they have dared, so shall I dare. Dare to tell the truth, as I have pledged to tell it, in full, since the normal channels of justice have failed to do so. My duty is to speak out; I do not wish to be an accomplice in this travesty. My nights would otherwise be haunted by the spectre of the innocent man, far away, suffering the most horrible of tortures for a crime he did not commit.“

— Emile Zola
Context: A court martial, under orders, has just dared to acquit a certain Esterhazy, a supreme insult to all truth and justice. And now the image of France is sullied by this filth, and history shall record that it was under your presidency that this crime against society was committed. As they have dared, so shall I dare. Dare to tell the truth, as I have pledged to tell it, in full, since the normal channels of justice have failed to do so. My duty is to speak out; I do not wish to be an accomplice in this travesty. My nights would otherwise be haunted by the spectre of the innocent man, far away, suffering the most horrible of tortures for a crime he did not commit.

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„Meanwhile, in Paris, truth was marching on, inevitably, and we know how the long-awaited storm broke.“

— Emile Zola
Context: Meanwhile, in Paris, truth was marching on, inevitably, and we know how the long-awaited storm broke. Mr. Mathieu Dreyfus denounced Major Esterhazy as the real author of the bordereau just as Mr. Scheurer-Kestne was handing over to the Minister of Justice a request for the revision of the trial. This is where Major Esterhazy comes in. Witnesses say that he was at first in a panic, on the verge of suicide or running away. Then all of a sudden, emboldened, he amazed Paris by the violence of his attitude.

„It came down, once again, to the General Staff protecting itself, not wanting to admit its crime, an abomination that has been growing by the minute.“

— Emile Zola
Context: It came down, once again, to the General Staff protecting itself, not wanting to admit its crime, an abomination that has been growing by the minute. In disbelief, people wondered who Commander Esterhazy's protectors were. First of all, behind the scenes, Lt. Colonel du Paty de Clam was the one who had concocted the whole story, who kept it going, tipping his hand with his outrageous methods. Next General de Boisdeffre, then General Gonse, and finally, General Billot himself were all pulled into the effort to get the Major acquitted, for acknowledging Dreyfus's innocence would make the War Office collapse under the weight of public contempt. And the astounding outcome of this appalling situation was that the one decent man involved, Lt. Colonel Picquart who, alone, had done his duty, was to become the victim, the one who got ridiculed and punished. O justice, what horrible despair grips our hearts? It was even claimed that he himself was the forger, that he had fabricated the letter-telegram in order to destroy Esterhazy. But, good God, why? To what end? Find me a motive. Was he, too, being paid off by the Jews? The best part of it is that Picquart was himself an anti-Semite. Yes! We have before us the ignoble spectacle of men who are sunken in debts and crimes being hailed as innocent, whereas the honor of a man whose life is spotless is being vilely attacked: A society that sinks to that level has fallen into decay.

„Dreyfus is innocent. I swear it! I stake my life on it — my honor!“

— Emile Zola
Context: Dreyfus is innocent. I swear it! I stake my life on it — my honor! At this solemn moment, in the presence of this tribunal which is the representative of human justice, before you, gentlemen of the jury, who are the very incarnation of the country, before the whole of France, before the whole world, I swear that Dreyfus is innocent. By my forty years of work, by the authority that this toil may have given me, I swear that Dreyfus is innocent. By all I have now, by the name I have made for myself, by my works which have helped for the expansion of French literature, I swear that Dreyfus is innocent. May all that melt away, may my works perish if Dreyfus be not innocent! He is innocent. All seems against me — the two Chambers, the civil authority, the military authority, the most widely-circulated journals, the public opinion which they have poisoned. And I have for me only an ideal of truth and justice. But I am quite calm; I shall conquer. I was determined that my country should not remain the victim of lies and injustice. I may be condemned here. The day will come when France will thank me for having helped to save her honor. Appeal for Dreyfus delivered at his trial for libel (22 February 1898).

„The public was astounded; rumors flew of the most horrible acts, the most monstrous deceptions, lies that were an affront to our history. The public, naturally, was taken in. No punishment could be too harsh. The people clamored for the traitor to be publicly stripped of his rank and demanded to see him writhing with remorse on his rock of infamy.“

— Emile Zola
Context: The public was astounded; rumors flew of the most horrible acts, the most monstrous deceptions, lies that were an affront to our history. The public, naturally, was taken in. No punishment could be too harsh. The people clamored for the traitor to be publicly stripped of his rank and demanded to see him writhing with remorse on his rock of infamy. Could these things be true, these unspeakable acts, these deeds so dangerous that they must be carefully hidden behind closed doors to keep Europe from going up in flames? No! They were nothing but the demented fabrications of Major du Paty de Clam, a cover-up of the most preposterous fantasies imaginable. To be convinced of this one need only read carefully the accusation as it was presented before the court martial. How flimsy it is! The fact that someone could have been convicted on this charge is the ultimate iniquity. I defy decent men to read it without a stir of indignation in their hearts and a cry of revulsion, at the thought of the undeserved punishment being meted out there on Devil's Island. He knew several languages: a crime! He carried no compromising papers: a crime! He would occasionally visit his country of origin: a crime! He was hard-working, and strove to be well informed: a crime! He did not become confused: a crime! He became confused: a crime! And how childish the language is, how groundless the accusation!

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