A “second Captain Dreyfus affair”: Joseph Bernstein’s Halifax experience

Wednesday, December 13th, 2023, 7:00 pm (Atlantic), Halifax Public Library (Unfortunately there will be no Zoom option tonight – we apologize for this inconvenience). 

Judith Fingard is a retired Dalhousie University history professor and a Fellow of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society as well as the Royal Society of Canada. For her publications, see her website: judithfingard.com

Abstract: In 1892 Joseph Bernstein arrived in Halifax where he shared with other members of the small Jewish community a typical pattern of commercial employment until 1899 when he became an immigration interpreter at Pier 2, the Deep Water Terminus. His stable work life came to an abrupt halt in 1908 when he was dismissed from the government service. At first he blamed this turn of events on the vindictiveness of five Jewish families involved in a dispute over the suitability of a marriage partner for the third Bernstein daughter. When he delved deeper he decided that antisemitism had determined his fate. Bernstein’s identification with Alfred Dreyfus may have been inspired by cinematic depictions of the injustice endured by that French soldier.

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