In his open letter, published in L’Aurore newspaper, Zola denounced the French general staff for covering up the wrongful espionage conviction of Jewish French army officer Alfred Dreyfus driven by high anti-Semitic sentiment. Zola was arrested, prosecuted and found guilty of libel for his publication. He fled to England until the Dreyfus case reopened a year later. “J’ accuse” played a major role in the growing movement in favor of Dreyfus’s innocence.

Other notable events on January 13th:

In 2012, the Costa Concordia, an Italian cruise ship carrying 4,200 people, struck rock and capsized off Giglio Island in Italy, killing 32 passengers.

In 1968, Johnny Cash performs live at Folsom State Prison and record his hit album “Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison”.

In 1915, the worst earthquake in Italy’s history hits the town of Avezzano, 100km from Rome, killing 30,000 people.

Affaire Dreyfus : Émile Zola « J’Accuse…! Lettre au président de la République », L’Aurore (1898) — Page 1, Musée Criminocorpus consulted on Dec. 14, 2020.