A Case History

Dr. Ursula A. Falk

Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk


A Modern Day Bilbel or J'Accuse Revisted


A female client came to my office - ostensibly for psychotherapy  - in truth for exoneration from a "Bilbel" she had perpetrated in her work place. ( A Bilbel is a falsehood that damages one or more fellow human beings - not unlike the Passover legend of Jews using the blood of gentiles for baking Matzot, or the famous biography of Alfred Dreyfus who was falsely accused of treason and arrested in 1894 mainly because of his Jewishness). The woman, a package examiner, related the following story: A Jewish fellow employee and she had been working side by side and they were bantering back and forth - "just kidding each other" when in the course of their conversation she decided to tell him "I wouldn't f--- a Jew if he were the last person on earth". The man promptly reported her remark to the Human Resources division of their company. The woman was called into that office and confronted. In order to escape any consequence of her antisemitic statement she alleged that the man had touched her mammary glands (This action, according to her confession to me, had not occurred). The female employee was thus forgiven and the Jewish man was suspended and in danger of permanently losing his much needed employment. It was no surprise to me that this woman had no remorse for what she had perpetrated and found it rather amusing. She spewed much anger toward the Jew who had reported her. 

My thoughts turned back to history.  After the Treaty of Frankfurt which ended the Franco-Prussian War in which the German military humiliated the French military, Alsace was annexed by the Germans.  France was "seeing spies in the trees". Dreyfus, a 35 year old captain, an Alsatian, became the scapegoat. He was falsely accused of giving French defense positions to the Germans, thus causing the French to lose the war. Lying witnesses were called to a secret court martial and Dreyfus was was publicly degraded, stripped of his epaulets and medals and he was sentenced to a life term on Devil's Island. The Dreyfus story has a happy ending, if you can call it that, because the real villain, a Major Esterhazy was found, and ultimately Dreyfus was released after spending many years in "hell" and humiliation. It was not until l906 that Alfred was totally exonerated. It was to the credit of writer Emile Zola that Dreyfus was ultimately freed. Zola risked his reputation and his freedom. He was accused of libel and had to escape to England to escape incarceration for being a just human being.

There are many lessons to be learned from history.   One is that history repeats itself; there is sometimes justice in the world; that antisemitism is still alive and that we must stand up for our fellow Jews, our brothers. Am Yisroel Chai! Shalom!

Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the co-author, with Dr. Gerhard Falk, of Grandparents:  A New Look at the Supporting Generation (publ. 2002)

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