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Dr. Esperanto

As you may know, Esperanto is an artificially constructed language. Thus, it belongs to no linguistic family. However, most of its words come from Roman languages, making Esperanto fairly easy language to learn.  It also has some Slavic and Germanic elements.

Portrait of Dr. Zamenhof, aka Dr. Esperanto
Portrait of Ludwik Zamenhof, aka Dr. Esperanto, the inventor of this international language. Zamenhof’s main idea was to create language which will foster peace and understanding between people all around the world.

You may also know that inventor of this language was Dr Ludwik Zamenhof, Polish ophthalmologist at the end of 19th century. The meaning of word “esperanto”(which was Zamenhof alias) is particularly interesting: it translates into English as the “one who hopes”.

So, Zamenhof’s alias quickly became an official name for his language.  His main intention was to create second universal and international language. Zamenhof was hopeful that new international language would foster peace and mutual understanding between the people all over the world.

Vintage Esperanto posters and memorabilia

Soon after Zamenhof published “Fundamento de Esperanto”, he began to form associations which will nurture his legacy. Numerous Esperanto congresses took place all over the world with usage of Esperanto growing steadily throughout 20th century. Fascists regimes in Germany and USSR persecuted the speakers, but they managed to publish periodicals, promotional posters and other memorabilia. In mid 1950’s, the United Nations granted official support to Esperanto as international language.

Vintage Esperanto poster from congress in Padova, in 1953
Vintage Esperanto poster from congress in Padova, held in 1953. The summit was one of numerous gatherings of Esperanto speakers in second half of 20th century.

The popularity

So after the WWII and in coming years, Esperanto language was very popular. This was obviously because of its main ideas: the peace and mutual understanding. The people were sick of war. Therefore, most of vintage Esperanto posters came out of print during this period. The items printed before the war are exceptionally scarce. The posters were printed to promote events organized all over the world. There were also various brochures and even paintings promoting the ideas of love, peace and understanding.

Original painted poster showing the children from all around the world united in peace and mutual understanding. Besides the names of their countries, children also carry banners titled “Esperanto” and “Unesco”.

Where you can find vintage Esperanto posters

These items are quite rare, but there are few places online where you can find some of them. Today, around 2 million people in 115 countries are still using Esperanto language. However, they use it as a second language. The most famous Esperanto museum is located in Vienna, within the Austrian national library.

If you are interested in Esperanto items from Yugoslavia and Western Europe, feel free to check items in our shop.

Thanks for reading. Stay  tuned for more articles.

Miloš Stanković

Miloš Stanković (*1989) holds MA degree in Serbian literature and language from the University of Belgrade. Main field of his interest are Serbian antique books printed from 15th to 18th century. Besides his native tongue, he is fluent in English and French language.

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