Skip to main content

Bernstein, Henri-Leon


BERNSTEIN, HENRI-LEON (1876–1953), French playwright. Bernstein was born in Paris, and during his early period (1900–1914) wrote powerful, realistic plays depicting the cruelty of modern life and society. The best known of these are La Rafale (1905), Le Voleur (1907), Samson (1908), Israël (1908), and Le Secret (1913). Some of his plays deal with the Jew's position in modern society. There are echoes of the *Dreyfus case in Israël, which deals with one of the tragic results of assimilation. The young leader of an antisemitic movement discovers that his own father is a Jew. Overwhelmed by the revelation and unable to accept his new status, the young man is eventually driven to suicide. The plays written from 1918 to 1938 place increasing emphasis on the psychological problems of their heroes. To this period belong Judith (1922), Félix (1926), Mélo (1929), and Espoir (1936). The theme of antisemitism periodically recurs, and Nazism is attacked in Elvire (1940). During World War ii, Bernstein lived in the United States. Although he continued writing after 1945, tastes had changed, and his plays declined in popularity.


L. Le Sidaner, Henri Bernstein (1931); P. Bathile, Henri Bernstein, son oeuvre (1931); H. Clovard, Histoire de la littérature française du symbolisme à nos jours, 1 (1947).

[Denise R. Goitein]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Bernstein, Henri-Leon." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 16 Jun. 2019 <>.

"Bernstein, Henri-Leon." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (June 16, 2019).

"Bernstein, Henri-Leon." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved June 16, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.