Lazar (Ludovik) Markovich Zamenhof (1859-1917) was born on December 15, 1859 in the city of Bialystok (Poland, then part of the Russian Empire). His father Mark Fabianovich Zamenhof was a teacher of foreign languages.
In Bialystok there lived Russians, Poles, Germans and Jews. All of them spoke their language and were hostile to others. At every step, it was felt that the difference in languages is one of the main reasons that separate people.
Already in his childhood Zamenhof had the idea that one common language would help the people better understand and respect each other more.
Ludovik Zamenhof had excellent abilities for languages and still studied a lot of languages (besides native Russian - Polish, German, French, English, Latin, Ancient Greek, Hebrew). Soon he was convinced that neither ancient nor modern languages are suitable as a common language. Then he conceived the most difficult: creating a new language that would not belong to any people, would not affect anyone's national feelings, would be easy to learn, but at the same time would not be inferior to national languages in wealth, flexibility and expressiveness./>
Not being a professional linguist, Zamenhof, however, had a remarkable linguistic intuition. Before the end of the gymnasium, the initial draft of the international language was ready in vain. But it took many more years before he, tried in practice, corrected and refined, saw the light.
Zamenhof studied medicine at the Moscow and Warsaw universities, then worked as an oculist. Zamenhof-doctor has gained great popularity in the poor neighborhoods of Warsaw, Grodno, Kherson, tk. Often treated poor people free.
To publish his project of an international language, Zamenhof had no money. Probably the happiest day in his life was when his future father-in-law Alexander Zilbernik from the city of Kovno (Kaunas) invited him to use part of the dowry for the publication of the book. In the end, a 40-page book was published in Warsaw on July 26, 1887. This date is the birthday of Esperanto. Zamenhof signed the book with the pseudonym "Doktoro Esperanto"; "Hopeful". Gradually this pseudonym turned into the name of the language.
Later he published Esperanto dictionaries, textbooks and individual editions of his original works and translations into Esperanto from world classical literature. Among his translations are Shakespeare's Hamlet, Gogol's Inspector General, Andersen's Tales, Bible.
Zamenhof saw in Esperanto not only language as a technical tool, but from the very beginning he associated with him the idea of brotherhood and peaceful coexistence of peoples.
Zamenhof died on April 14, 1917, between two revolutions, in Warsaw, occupied by Germany.
He could not imagine that his children and many relatives would later be brutally murdered in fascist concentration camps ...