Two Impressions of the XVa

Two Impressions of the XVa

I. Miss Leonora Stoeppler

I arrived the evening before the opening of the Congress and went first where I had rooms reserved "Am. Sterntor." Most of the English Esperantists were there—but kept to themselves—not even a greeting. I got my Congress ticket, looked in vain for a familiar face,—but, alas, ten years had elapsed since I had attended an International Congress.

After a few greetings to new and strange gesamideanoj, I went home to bed at an hour unusually early for a kongresanino.

The opening meeting was wonderful and inspiring. After the singing of the Hymn by all present, and the place was more than crowded, there was a greeting (rising salute) to Mrs. Zamenhof, and a minute of silence in memory of the dead and gone eminentuloj—Dr. Zamenhof, Mybs, Pollen. There were greetings from all representatives, delegates, etc. I had the pleasure of presenting salutations for the New York Esperanto Society, the New York Chamber of Commerce and the Esperanto Association of North America. I was especially impressed with the number of delegates officially representing their respective governments and educational departments.

I attended one or two business meetings and a few concerts, one of them entirely by blind Esperantists. One blind Esperantist came all alone from Pekin, China, a most picturesque figure.

On Friday morning there were very inspiring exercises at the statue of Albrecht Durer. A large wreath was laid at the base of the statue, the Esperanto Hymn was sung, addresses were made in Esperanto and in German, and in the pouring rain we lowered our umbrellas to have our picture taken, observed by crowds on the street and innumerable heads at all available windows.

A few of us were invited to meet the chief mayor for an audience; I was the only American present and was selected to represent the United States. The mayor was much interested in Esperanto and pledged his help in every way. He had addressed us at the opening meeting in Esperanto; imagine the effect that was created. Did we cheer? Oh, boy!

Just as we were leaving we heard of the death of President Harding. A member of the Associated Press, ever on the alert to advertise Esperanto, whispered to the Mayor that there was only one American present and it might be graceful to say a few words of condolence to her. The Mayor was greatly shocked at the news and spoke simply and feelingly of his admiration for President Harding. He asked me to convey to the American people his deep sympathy as well as that of the city of Nuremburg and all Germany. I thanked him in German and was glad I could converse with him in his own language. Prof. Lederer translated our respective speeches into Esperanto for the benefit of the other gesamideanoj including Mrs. Zamenhof. The press representative cabled this to all the American and German papers and the next day or two I was surprised to read my name in all the German papers in connection with the incident. Dr. Lederman, the Secretary of the Congress asked me to write the Mayor's message to Mrs. Harding (a cablegram from the Congress was sent) and I received a reply on my return home.

In the afternoon fourteen of us, carefully selected to represent as many nations, went in great state in autos to a visit of condolence to the family of Leopold Einstein, friend of Zamenhof and pioneer of Esperanto in Germany. Speeches were made by nearly all present, toasts were drunk (Oh! Oh! Volstead), and Mrs. Zamenhof and Mrs. Einstein renewed their old friendship. There were many remembrances of the two great men, the Majstro and his Herald who organized the Weltsprach Verein in Germany. This later spread all over the world. Einstein was one of the first to take up Esperanto and work for its progress. The son and daughter promised to remain living monuments of the work of their great father. We had brought with us an enormous wreath, on a broad green ribbon were the words "La Tutmonda Esperantistaro al nia meritinda Pioniro." We all went to the cemetery and laid it on his tomb.


My experience was such as to preclude any more detailed report than the general statement that the congress as a whole was a wonderful success. The only qualification to this is that it was almost too successful in having so many present. It was almost impossible to handle things in the separate groups, but what interfered with my part in it was as follows:

When I landed at Bremen I was met at the station by the delegate for that city Dr. William Fricke, who took care of me with the utmost hospitality up to the time when he put me on the midnight express for Nuremburg. A train loaded to the full including many women and children pulled out of Bremen station just ahead of us, and about daybreak just out of Hamburg our express crashed into this train,—the most terrible railroad accident that has taken place in Germany for years; fifty-two were killed and eighty wounded. When I escaped from the confusion I found my traveling checks, about three hundred dollars' worth, were missing. Then followed fourteen hours drag to Nuremburg and nothing to eat and seated on wooden benches; and the time I hoped to put in at the conference was largely spent in visiting the railroad officials, the police, and the cable offices to secure funds from home, and returning to Bremen to follow the same inquiries there.

I regret extremely that I have not given and cannot give under the circumstances a detailed account of this convention, but as to the life and force of the Esperanto movement in Europe it cannot be questioned.