The Abbé Hémonet has made only a few rare appearances in the historical record. This is what we know. He was ordained in 1882 and worked in rural parishes in Lorraine until he was suspended from the priesthood for “insubordination” in 1893. The ostensible issue was his refusal to move to another parish. He claimed, at the papal court in 1894, that he had been dismissed because of his book, Nancy-Juif
. In 1898 he pops up in the town of Toul, running for the Chamber of Deputies on a virulently anti-Semitic platform. He won only a few dozen votes, losing to a conservative candidate supported by the Church. In 1920, after proclaiming that he regretted his past actions, he was given the right to say mass again.
The Blood of Lorraine gives him an imagined life as a murder suspect in the last months of 1894.