Abstract Zamenhof is well-known as the creator of the international language Esperanto. The origins of Esperanto stem from Zamenhof's attempts to convince Jews that they could form a nation, even without territory, on the basis of a language, namely Esperanto; otherwise, they would always be an ethnic group only. Zamenhof presented his doctrine in 1901 in a Russian language leaflet entitled Hilelism. He decided to address the Jewish intelligentsia in Russia, where the Jewish issue was most pronounced and tense. But the Russian intelligentsia was unable to work out a national program. Already at the beginning of the 20th century, it was split into many groups with a variety of standpoints, and each group perceived the Jewish nation in a different way and, most importantly, located its seat in a different part of the globe. Esperanto itself, however, became increasingly more popular at that time. Its adherents strongly criticised a broad spectrum of different, mildly utopian doctrines on how to solve the Jewish issue. Zamenhof reedited his Hilelism in such a way that his efforts to solve the Jewish issue began to be absorbed into broad humanism. Later, he gradually promoted Homaranism, being at a distance from Judaism itself. Zamenhof finally believed that he left Esperanto, not to a 'specific ethnic group,' but to all humanity.
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