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Today In History: Esperanto Outlawed by Nazis, 1935

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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-17-05 10:14 AM
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Today In History: Esperanto Outlawed by Nazis, 1935
Esperanto en Eŭropo, lingvopolitiko: Esperanto-malpermeso antaŭ 70 jaroj

This story is from the Esperantoland website:

I have translated it from the original Esperanto of the web page.

Im posting this for the dozen DUers or so who have an interest in Esperanto, as well as for those who are interested in the history of progressive politics.

Esperanto is not usually deemed worthy of discussion in the monolingual United States of America, but this news brief from a German Esperanto website may be of some interest. The pre-WW2 Esperanto movement found many supporters and activists among the Labor and Social Democracy movements which supported its internationalist and non-nationalist aspirations. SAT, Sennacieca Asocio Tutmonda, or the World Non-Nationalist Association, was one such major organization; it survived the war, but was further weakened by anti-Communism of the 1950s. Both Hitler and Stalin were ardent foes of Esperanto and banned all Esperanto activity under their dictatorships.

The fact that the author of Esperanto, Lazar Zamenhof, was a Polish-Russian Jew from the inter-territorial ghetto of Bialystok, was not lost on them. Ulrich Lins, author of The Dangerous Language, estimates that perhaps half of the Esperanto movement died in the Nazi Holocaust and the Soviet terror under Stalin. Since many Esperantists were Jewish and/or Leftists who did not follow the Moscow party line, and they were murdered under a number of pretexts, the exact number will never be known, but estimates range from one to three million.

Incidentally, Herr Rusts full title was Minister for Wissenschaft, Erziehung und Volksbildung, which I have translated as Science, Education and Public Education. Since my German is quite bad, if this title is incorrect or a calque, please post the better translation. (For Esperantistoj, the translation was scienco, edukado kaj popolklerigo). Any other corrections you may have are invited, as well.

If you would like my working translation document (Esperanto and English side-by-side, with citations intact), send me a note by DU e-mail (my IMs do not seem to work properly) with your preferred e-mail address.


Esperanto In Europe: Language Politics
Esperanto Banned 70 Years Ago

Dateline May 15, 2005

On May 17th, 1935, the German Minister for Science, Education and Public Education, Bernhard Rust, banned the teaching of Esperanto in German schools. The decree gave as its reason that the use of Esperanto would lead to weakening of the essential values of national character. Thus, the suppression of Esperanto, which had already begun in the Nazi regime in 1933, was officially confirmed.

The greater part of the Esperanto courses in the schools had already been stopped before the decree; when the Nazis took power, radio broadcast courses stopped immediately. School-based instruction was stopped in more than 100 schools in Germany from the 1920s onward, and the crippling of organized labor (which supported Esperanto) struck the Esperanto movement during the subsequent decades.

Banishment of Esperanto Associations

The suppression of workers associations took place between March and December 1933 the possessions of the German Workers Esperanto Association (GLEA) were confiscated by the police, the Socialist Esperanto Association (SEA) decided to dissolve itself, the contents of the EKRELO Press were confiscated and the activities of SAT (Sennacia Asocio Tutmonda, or the World Non-Nationalist Association) were banned. Many of the activists from the workers Esperanto movement were imprisoned; some died.

The German Esperanto Association (GEA), after a June decree from Heinrich Himmler, director of the German police and of the Nazi SS organization, was dissolved until July 15th, 1936, in order to avoid disbanding by the state. Thus, the Nazis shut down organized labor working on the behalf of Esperanto.

Postwar Rebuilding

After the war, on January 12, 1949, Esperanto groups in the Soviet occupied zone were again forbidden; the Central Labor Circle of the Friends of Esperanto (CLE) was established in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) only in 1965. Esperanto groups had reappeared in West Germany starting in 1946, after receiving permission from Western Alliance members.

The losses from Nazi suppression and the war were strongly visible in membership numbers, which regained less than half their pre-war count.
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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-18-05 07:13 AM
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1. Sola pugobato
One kick. Just in case anyone out there would like to read this. Then it sinks into the Memory Hole.

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