Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Ferdinand Berthier

Ferdinand Berthier was born on 28 September, 1803 and died on 12 July, 1886. Ferdinand was a deaf educator, intellectual and political organizer in 19th Century France, and is one of the earliest champions of Deaf identity and culture. In late 1837 Ferdinand petitioned the French government for permission to create the Société Centrale des Sourds-muets, which was officially founded the following year as the first organisation to represent the interests of the deaf community. The organisation aimed to bring together “all the deaf spread across the globe. Ferdinand played a delicate balancing act as a passionate defender of the deaf identity and sign language, while under a repressive social and political climate. Ferdinand also wrote books about deaf history and deaf culture, noting deaf artists and sign-language poets of his time.

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Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Rudi Carrell

Rudi Carrell was born on 19 December, 1934 in Alkmaar, Netherlands and died on 7 July, 2006 in Bremen, Germany of Lung Cancer at the age of 71.

Rudi Carrell was a Dutch entertainer. Rudi’s own show “The Rudi Carrell Show” was a huge success in Germany from the 1960s to the 1990s. The show included a similar concept to “Star Search” or “Pop Idol” and brought many well-known German pop stars and actors to prominence, such as Alexis or Mark Keller. It also featured comedy sketches. In 1987, he famously caused a diplomatic rift between Germany and Iran with a sketch in which veiled women threw their undergarments at someone dressed like Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. The outraged Iranian government responded by expelling 2 German diplomats and closing the Goethe Institute in Tehran.

Another controversial sketch used clever editing to show the then Chancellor Helmut Kohl and other prominent German politicians apparently consorting with prostitutes.

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Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Pierre Desloges

Pierre Desloges was born in 1747 in the Touraine region of France, Pierre moved to Paris as a young man, where he became a bookbinder and upholsterer. Pierre was deafened at the age of 7 from smallpox, but did not learn to sign until he was 27, when he was taught by a deaf Italian.

Pierre also wrote a number of well-received political books around the time of the French Revolution. Pierre was the 1st deaf person ever known to write a book of any kind.

In 1779, he wrote what may be the first book published by a deaf person, in which he advocated for the use of sign language in deaf education. It was in part a rebuttal of the views of Abbé Claude-François Deschamps de Champloiseau, who had published a book arguing against the use of signs. Pierre explained, “like a Frenchman who sees his language belittled by a German who only knows a few French words, I thought I was obliged to defend my language against the false charges of this author.” Pierre describes a community of deaf people using a sign language (now referred to as Old French Sign Language), many of whom would have no knowledge of spoken or written French.

The Abbe de l’Epee and his Paris school have often been credited with the invention of sign language, and deaf schools (especially residential ones) have been seen as the site of transference of sign languages from one generation to the next. Pierre’s book proves that French Sign Language predates deaf schools and is truly the invention of deaf people.

Pierre also wrote a number of well-received political books around the time of the French Revolution. The time and place of his death are unknown, but he published a book as late as 1792. Some suggest he died in 1799.

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