Name at birth: Eliezer Zamenhof
L.L. Zamenhof was a Polish eye doctor who spent his life constructing and promoting the Lingvo Internacia -- international language -- known as Esperanto. He first worked on the language as a teenager; biographers have traced his primary work to the period between 1877 and 1887. In 1905 he organized the first conference to promote the language as a way to world peace. Zamenhof's dedication to his avocation led him to write texts, dictionaries and translations of great literature while trying to raise a family as an ophthalmologist in a poor neighborhood. Esperanto features the use of words and wordroots common in European languages, but with a regular grammar and phonetic spellings. Today the language still has a small but loyal worldwide following. Three decades after Zamenhof's death Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union deemed Esperanto a dangerous part of some ill-defined Zionist conspiracy. During World War II Zamenhof's grown children, Adam, Zofia and Lidja, were all imprisoned and executed by Nazi Germany.
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