Achilles De Maertelaere and Esperanto


Achilles De Maertelaere was very sympathetic to the Esperanto movement. This is evident from several contributions he made for Esperanto magazines.

When exactly he 'joined' the movement is not known. We find a first mention in a portrait of the founder of Esperanto, L.L. Zamenhof. It is a red chalk drawing, signed Aĥileo De Maertelaere and dated 1915. The portrait is now included in the AMSAB's collections.

In the monthly Belgian magazine Belga Esperantisto in 1921, L. Cogen writes a long article on Bentos' two war monuments inaugurated in Ghent in 1921 (one in Sint-Salvatorstraat and one in Gebroeders De Smetstraat).

Achilles De Maertelaere later made a portrait of Zamenhof, the father of the Esperanto movement; it is now presented in the Esperanto Museum in Vienna. He donates this work in 1929. There is also a second portrait of Zamenhof (in an oval frame) painted by Bentos; this one was commissioned by the Esperanto department in The Hague, which would also have donated it to the museum.

Several contributions by Achilles De Maertelaere can be found in Esperanto magazines, on the language, on a monument designed in honour of Zamenhof, and he publishes some poems in Esperanto. He will also participate and sometimes collaborate in the organisation of several Esperanto congresses in Belgium.

Achilles De Maertelaere continued to deliver contributions until 1938. Afterwards, we find no trace of any activity within the Esperanto movement.

He will, however, continue to wear the star of the Esperantists on the lapel of his vest throughout his life. Below are two photos of him, young and old, but always wearing the star of Esperanto.