Date: 27 november 2019 at 19:00 to 20:30. Wednesday.


Place: Sala de Conferencias, Palau de Cerveró, Plaza Cisneros, 4. 46003 Valencia.


Twinning project (Ángeles Llorente, Culture Councillor of Cheste City Council)

Launching of the book Los trenes de la esperanza. Esperantistas solidarios: niños austriacos en la región valenciana, 1920 (Cheste, 2019)

The book by José Vicente Castillo entitled Los trenes de la esperanza (Trains of hope) (Cheste, 2019) narrates the welcome given by families from different Valencian populations to some thirty Austrian children after the First World War. The extreme poverty in which Austria was plunged and, in particular, the region of Styria around Graz, was the reason for the long trip to Spain undertaken by nearly 400 children, now just one hundred years ago.

The surprising fact about that humanitarian feat, now forgotten, was that the initiative did not come from official institutions, but from groups of Esperantists who responded to the spirit of solidarity and internationalism that underlies Esperanto, the language invented and disseminated by Dr. Zamenhof. It is impressive to know that the promoters of the trip, as well as the families involved in such a generous initiative, were generally people with scarce economic resources, sometimes poor farmers who had just enough to live on.

José Vicente Castillo's book relates the organisational aspects of that journey, taking into account the added difficulties of a war-torn Europe. It also gathers the rich experiences lived by the children who were welcomed in Valencian lands, as well as the benefactor families who took them in. He also identifies with their names the protagonists of that feat and reconstructs in many cases their itineraries from the moment of departure until the return to the places of origin.


Organized by:

Institut Interuniversitari López Piñero (Universitat de València).




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