Thursday, September 11, 2014

Zamenhof Found!

Was he ever in trouble?
This was a news story that crops out of nowhere. It something that was only reported on once it was over, but some news articles note that Dr. Zamenhof “had been missing for several months.” Edmond Privat in his Life of Zamenhof makes no mention of the Zamenhof’s being missing at all. However, it does seem that the Esperantists in Washington, D.C. were concerned and were able to get the State Department to look into it.

The Washington Herald noted that Dr. Zamenhof was living with his family in Poland, which didn’t actually exist as a country in 1915. Warsaw was part of Germany, while Bialystok (another town that Zamenhof lived in) was in Russa, as was Hrodna, where his family lived for some time. Bialystok is now within Poland’s borders and Hrodna is in Belarus.

Admittedly, when all this happened, Europe was in the midst of World War I. This was a war zone.

The Washington Herald’s piece is the longest:
State Department Denies Report of Banishment of Zamehof.
The Esperantists of Washington have learned that Dr. L. L. Zamenhof, the inventor of Esperanto, is well and resides with his family at 9 Dzika Strato, Warsaw, Poland.

This information was furnished in a latter from the State Department to N. S. Guimont, president of the Kolumbia Esperanta Unuigo, who had requested the department to seek information concerning Dr. Zamenhof’s welfare.

It had been reported that the doctor had been banished from his home at Warsaw.
Where was it reported? Perhaps in the Esperanto press. I haven’t found it.

Other articles provide two other pieces of information. First, the search was carried out by Ambassador Gerard. He was the U.S. Ambassador to Germany until diplomatic relations were broken off in 1917. Other articles note that the search for Zamenhof "was begun during Secretary Bryan’s administration at the request of members of the Esperanto society.” William Jennings Bryan had only left the position of Secretary of State in June of that year.

Note that the Herald’s report clearly comes from the Kolumbia Esperanta Unuigo (Columbian Esperanto Union, that is Washington D.C.'s Esperanto group), as it notes Dr. Zamenhof’s address as 9 Dzika Strato, using the Esperanto word for “street.” A modern apartment tower is on the location now, or maybe it’s part of the grounds of the nearby school. Just once I’d like to look for a place of historic interest to Esperanto and actually find the building there.
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