L. L. Zamenhof

Ophthalmologist and inventor of Esperanto

Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof (/ˈzæmənhɒf/; Polish: Ludwik Łazarz Zamenhof, Yiddish: לײזער לֵוִי זאַמענהאָף; 15 December [O.S. 3 December] 1859 – 14 April [O.S. 1 April] 1917), credited as L. L. Zamenhof and sometimes as the pseudonymous Dr. Esperanto, was an eye doctor, linguist (who creates a language), and scholar who created the international language Esperanto.

Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof
LLZ 1904.jpg
L. L. Zamenhof, 1904
Born(1859-12-15)15 December 1859
Died14 April 1917(1917-04-14) (aged 57)
Burial placeJewish Cemetery, Warsaw
52°14′51″N 20°58′29″E / 52.24750°N 20.97472°E / 52.24750; 20.97472Coordinates: 52°14′51″N 20°58′29″E / 52.24750°N 20.97472°E / 52.24750; 20.97472
Other namesDr. Esperanto
  • Eye doctor
  • linguist
  • scholar
Known forCreator of Esperanto
Notable work
Unua Libro
Spouse(s)Klara Zamenhof
ChildrenAdam, Zofia, and Lidia
Zamenhof subskribo.svg


Zamenhof was born in 1859 in the town of Białystok, Poland. At the time, Poland was a part of the Russian Empire. Bialystok contained three major groups: Poles, Belorussians, and Yiddish-speaking Jews. Zamenhof thought that one common language would join these groups and stop fights between them.

His first language was said to be Polish. His parents spoke Russian and Yiddish at home. His father was a German teacher, so Zamenhof learned that language from an early age and spoke the language fluently. Later he learned French, Latin, Greek, Hebrew and English. He also had an interest in Italian, Spanish and Lithuanian.

Zamenhof decided that the international language must have a simple grammar and be easier to learn than Volapük, an earlier international language. He attempted to create the international language with a grammar that was rich, and complex. The basics of Esperanto were published in 1887. He translated the Hebrew Bible into Esperanto.

His grandson, Louis-Christophe Zaleski-Zamenhof, was an engineer.

He was 14 times nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize between 1907 and 1917.[1]


  1. "Nomination Database". Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB. 2014. Retrieved 2018-01-13.