Esperanto, artificial language constructed by the ophthalmologist Lazar Ludwig Zamenhof (1859-1917), (first in 1887 as a project in the form of a text book). The 1st Esperanto group in the Austro-Hungarian Empire was founded in Brno; all-Austrian congresses took place in Vienna (1910), Prague (1911), Graz (1913) and Franzensbad (1914). In 1917 a lectorate for Esperanto was established at the University of Technology in Vienna; from 1924 Esperanto was allowed to be taught at public schools. Until 1934 the Austrian Esperanto movement was divided along party lines. The social-democrat esperantists started in 1912; in 1923 a "neutral" Esperanto organisation with 23 groups was established; in 1928 Catholic esperantists organised themselves; in 1929 the Austria Esperanto-Asocio was founded. In 1945 the heavily decimated Esperanto movement started to recover.
In 1985 the Austrian Esperanto Association was founded, all Austrian Esperanto groups are members of this association. Since 1927 there has been the International Esperanto Museum of the Austrian National Library in Vienna. The Austrian radio station Radio International broadcasts a programme in Esperanto once a week. In 1987 the printing firm "Pro Esperanto" was founded in Vienna. The Esperanto world congress, which takes place annually, has met four times in Vienna: in 1924 (3,400 participants), in 1936 (854 participants), in 1970 (1,987 participants) and in 1992 (3,033 participants).
Some of the most famous Austrian esperantists are: A. H. Fried (1864-1921, Nobel peace prize winner of 1911), F. Wollmann (1871-1962, Inspector of Schools of the province of Vienna); R. Kaftan (1870-1958, founder of Vienna´s Watch Museum), H. Weinhengst (1904-1945, Esperanto author), ex-Federal President F. Jonas and E. Wuester (1898-1977, author of the Encyclopaedic Esperanto Dictionary).
Literature#D. Blanke, Internationale Plansprachen, 1985; U. Lins, Die gefaehrliche Sprache, 1988; H. Mayer, Die Etablierung der Interlinguistik als Wissenschaft und ihre moeglichen Auswirkungen auf den Sammlungsauftrag des Internationalen Esperanto-Museums in Wien, 1988; U. Eco, Search for the Perfect Language, 1994.