/exhibition within the 20th Białystok Zamenhof Days
exhibition opening: December 13, 2019, 5 PM
On August 11-18, 1912, the VIII World Esperanto Congress was organized in Krakow. During the congress, its participants worked in various sections, visited the Wieliczka salt mine and laid wreaths at the monuments of Adam Mickiewicz and Nicolaus Copernicus among other activities.
It was the first congress organized in Poland. It was in Krakow that Ludwik Zamenhof renounced his leadership in the Esperanto movement, saying the meaningful words: “This is the last congress where you see me in front of you; then, if I can come to you, I will be only among you”.
About 1,000 people from 30 countries participated in it, including a large group of Esperantists from Great Britain with colonel John Pollen, Richard Sharp and John Mabon Warden at the forefront. The latter, a Scottish Esperantist and co-author of the English-Esperanto pocket dictionary reissued several times (1915) and the main editor of the Esperanto Bible (1926), took a series of commemorative photos. He recorded the participants of the congress, Ludwik Zamenhof himself and the city and its inhabitants.
The pictures have been preserved in the form of several glass plates – heliographs. We do not know the history of this collection, we can only assume that it is a fragment of a larger collection of Warden’s documentation, done during larger and smaller meetings of Esperantists.
The glass negatives have been preserved for over a hundred years in their original packaging. Today, they come to us as a gift from the British Esperantist Bill Chapman through the Polish Cultural Institute in London.