Tibor Sekelj

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Tibor Sekelj
Tibor Sekelj 1983.jpg
Tibor Sekelj in 1983
Born February 14, 1912
Spišská Sobota, Poprad
Died September 20, 1988
Subotica, Serbia
Spouse(s) Erzsébet Sekelj.

Tibor Sekelj (in Hungarian: Székely Tibor) (14 February 1912 – 20 September 1988) was an explorer, writer and lawyer. He traveled a lot in South America, Africa and Asia. He spoke many languages, including Esperanto, the made up international language. He was member of the Academy of Esperanto and honorary member of the Universal Association of Esperanto (UEA). He wrote books in Esperanto. He came from a Jewish family.

Early life[change | change source]

Sekelj was born in Spišská Sobota, which was then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It is now called Poprad, in Slovakia. His father was a veterinarian (animal doctor), and the family moved around extensively. They moved to Cheney, now in Romania. In 1922 they moved to Kikinda, Serbia. He went to elementary school in Kikinda. The family moved to Nikšić, in Montenegro where he finished high school. He went to Zagreb where he studied in law at university.

Working life[change | change source]

Disinterested in practicing law, he began working as a journalist in Zagreb. In 1939 he went to Argentina to write about former Croates who had left Yugoslavia to settle in South America. He stayed there for the next 15 years as a journalist and explorer. In 1944 he was part of a trekking party that climbed to the top of highest mountain in the western hemisphere Aconcagua 6,962 m (22,841 ft), near Argentina. He used this experience to write a novel (story) in Spanish about Aconcagua, which became a best seller there. In 1946 he undertook the first of two expeditions into the Amazon jungle, the first of which produced a popular book, (Por Tierra De Indios). His companion from that expedition, Mary Reznik—whom he later married—was the first white woman to have penetrated that deeply into the Brazilian jungle. Together they returned to the Amazon in 1948, after which he penned "Where Civilization Ends" (Donde La Civilizacion Termina). The marriage produced a son, Diego. In 1954 Sekelj returned to Yugoslavia and settled in Belgrade, although he still traveled extensively. In 1962 he traveled through Africa. He married Erzsebet Sekelj, a young woman he met on a trip through Hungary. From 1972 he lived in Subotica (Vojvodina), now in Serbia. He was in charge of a museum in Subotica. He died in Subotica, and is buried there.

Travel books[change | change source]

Books on Esperanto[change | change source]

  • The importance of the international language in the education for a better world, Mexico City: Mexican Esperanto Federation, 1953, 13 pages.
  • Esperanto, the international language; a common language for Africa, a common language for the world, translated from Esperanto into English by John Christopher Wells, Rotterdam: UEA, 1962, 11 pages.
  • The linguistic problem within the movement of the nonaligned countries and the possibility of solving it, Rotterdam: UEA, 1981,16 pages

Books on learning Esperanto[change | change source]

  • The new trovita feliĉo, for children, Buenos Aires: Progreso, 1945.
  • with Antonije Sekelj: Course of Esperanto, a structured method, 1960, 48 pages.
  • with Antonije Sekelj: Dopisni tečaj Esperanta, Belgrade: Serbia Esperanto-Ligo, 1960,63 pages.

Other cultures[change | change source]

During his travels in South America, Africa, Asia, Oceania, Sekelj collected many important items from other cultures. He gave these to the Ethnographic Museum of Zagreb.

His main book on other cultures is Tirez the arrow: oral poetry of the world , Rotterdam: UEA, 1983, 187 pages, ISBN 92-9017-025-5. He translated into Esperanto, the poetry he had collected during his travels.

Dictionary[change | change source]

Sekelj worked with many other writers on a dictionary of museums, called the Dictionarium Museologicum, 1986.