Ludovic Lazarus Zamenhof (December 15, 1859 – April 14, 1917) was an eye doctor, philologist, and the initiator of Esperanto, the most widely spoken and successful constructed language in the world. His native languages were Polish, Russian and Yiddish but he also spoke German fluently. Later he learned French, Latin, Greek, Hebrew and English, and he also had an interest in Italian, Spanish and Lithuanian.
Zamenhof was born on December 15, 1859 in the town of Bialystok (in Poland) to parents of Lithuanian Jewish descent.
In 1885 he graduated from Warsaw University and gained Doctoral degree. Since then he named himself Doctor L. L. Zemenhof and started to look for a job. His eldest sister with her husband lived in Lithuania, in Veisiejai. Zamenhof moved to live together with them. There, in Veisiejai, Zamenhof finished to create the Esperanto language. Unfortunately, the profession of the physician was not rewarding. This was due to the fact that Lithuanians were not rich at all. Moreover, Zamenhof was a very sensitive person. It was very painful for him to see suffering people. That is why he decided to become an oculist and moved to Plotsk, then to Vienna.
In 1886, in Warsaw he started his practice of a physician at last.
Klara Zilbernik, his future-be wife was born in Kaunas, in 1863. In 1886-1886 winters Klara Zilbernic lived with her sister in Warsaw. There she met Zamenhof, and they immediately fell in love with each other. They engaged in March 30 and got married in August 9. Zamenhof look for the financial support for two years to publish his book. At last, he attained the support from Klara’s father.
The 90th Esperantist Congress of the World was held in 2005, in July. It was held after a hundred years from the first congress which was organized in France (Bolon-sur-Mer) in 1905. According to Renato Corsett, the president of Esperantist alliance of the world, this jubilee was organized in Lithuania because the origins of alliance of Esperantists were in Lithuania. ‘In this sense it is like coming back home’- he noted during the news conference.
On FDC monument
of L.L.Zamenhof in Veisiejai, Lithuania - where he used to live with his sister.
On the stamp portret of L.L.Zamenhof. On the background of stamp and FDC we see the text about L.L.Zamenhof’s biography. One of the sentences in the Esperanto text says:
"Lia familio estis litvaj (ne litovoj!) judoj".
To be able to translate from Esperanto, first of all we need to explain the difference of Esperanto words "litvaj" and "litovoj”:
litovoj – lithuanians, litvaj – Lithuania territory, which until 1915 stayed independent from Poland, but was ruled by Russian empire. So this sentence can be translated: - “His family were not lithuanians, but jews of Lithuania coming from that part of Lithuania territory”.