Esperanto
Author: David Poulson


Esperanto - Origin of Esperanto

Author: David Poulson
Published on:July 1, 1998

Page 1


On the 15th of December, 1859, a child was born in a small wooden house at 6 Zielona Street, Bialystok. His name was Ludovic Lazarus Zamenhof and he is now frequently referred to as the "creator" of Esperanto, although he himself modestly denied that he was the creator. "I am only the originator," he used to say. "I just got it started."

Well, Zamenhof was a very modest man; he even refused to accept any royalties or other income derived from Esperanto, nor would he accept any executive status in the organised Esperanto movement. However, in a speech which I delivered (in Esperanto) to a Zamenhof festival, I insisted that he did have a right to be called the creator of Esperanto and gave my reasons why this was so. I'll return to this subject in a later article.

Bialystok is now in Poland but in 1859 the country that we know as Poland had been annexed and divided into three parts by the empires of Austria, Germany and Russia. If you would like to know more about this shameful act of imperial privacy, there is a very good short history of Poland at this link:

At the time of Zamenhof's birth Bialystok was under Russian control (it is very close to the border of modern Russia and Poland) and also had a rather unusually mixed population, even for a central European town. In one of his letters, Zamenhof described vividly what it was like for a sensitive and idealistic child to be brought up in such an environment.

"In Bialystok the population consisted of four diverse elements: Russians, Poles, Germans and Jews; each spoke a different language and was hostile to the other elements. In this town, more than anywhere else, an impressionable nature feels the heavy burden of linguistic differences and is convinced, at every step, that the diversity of languages is the only, or at least the main cause that separates the human family and divides it into conflicting groups. I was brought up as an idealist; I was taught that all men were brothers, and, meanwhile, in the street, in the square, everything at every step made me feel that men did not exist, only Russians, Poles, Germans, Jews and so on. This was always a torment to my infant mind, although many people may smile at such an anguish for the world in a child. Since at that time it seemed to me that the grown-ups were omnipotent, I kept telling myself that when I was grown-up I would certainly destroy this evil."

When Zamenhof was fourteen, his family moved to Warsaw but he never forgot the terrible racial hatred he encountered as a young child at Bialystok which erupted into dreadful violence in 1905. Speaking to the Second Universal Esperanto Conference at Geneva in 1906, Zamenhof told the assembled delegates that:

"In the streets of the unhappy town of my birth, savage men with axes and iron bars fell like wild beasts upon peaceful citizens, whose only crime was that they spoke another language and held another creed than those savages."

He went on to describe in moving detail the atrocities inflicted upon the inhabitants of the Jewish quarter of the town by vicious thugs from other national groups.

Zamenhof believed that racial hatred was a product of ignorance and prejudice and he also believed that linguistic diversity made it difficult to achieve the level of mutual understanding between different nationalities necessary to overcome such ignorance and combat such prejudice.

And so, without waiting until he became an "omnipotent grown-up," he began his search for a solution to the problem while still a schoolboy.

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PRI TUTKOMUNA LINGVO
PRI RUSA LINGVO
PRI ANGLA LINGVO
PRI ALIAJ NACIAJ LINGVOJ
BATALO DE LINGVOJ
ARTIKOLOJ PRI ESPERANTO
"" PRI "KONKURENTOJ" DE ESPERANTO
LECIONOJ DE ESPERANTO
.KONSULTOJ DE E-INSTRUISTOJ
ESPERANTOLOGIO KAJ INTERLINGVISTIKO
TRADUKO DE MALSIMPLAJ FRAZOJ
TRADUKOJ DE DIVERSAJ VERKOJ
FRAZEOLOGIO DE ESPERANTO
, . VERKOJ DE ZAMENHOF KAJ PRI LI
, PROKSIMAJ MOVADOJ
ELSTARAJ PERSONOJ KAJ ESPERANTO
PRI ELSTARAJ ESPERANTISTOJ
. EL HISTORIO DE RUSIA E-MOVADO
KION ONI SKRIBAS PRI ESPERANTO
ESPERANTO EN LITERATURO
. KIAL E-MOVADO NE PROGRESAS
HUMURO PRI KAJ EN ESPERANTO
- ESPERANTO POR INFANOJ
DIVERSAJHOJ
INTERESAJHOJ
PERSONAJHOJ
/ DEMANDARO / RESPONDARO
UTILAJ LIGILOJ
IN ENGLISHPAGHOJ EN ANGLA LINGVO
PAGHOJ TUTE EN ESPERANTO
NIA BIBLIOTEKO


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