Bliss, Charles K.

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Bliss, Charles K.

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  • Blitz, Karl Kasiel
  • CKB
  • C.K. Bliss

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Charles K. Bliss was born September 5, 1897 as Karl Kaisal Blitz into a Jewish family to parents Michael Antchel Blitz and Jeanette Jochewed Seidmann. Bliss was born in Czernowitz, the capital of the province of Bukowina in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now a part of Ukraine. Bliss spent his childhood growing up and attending school in Czernowitz, and enrolled in the Army at the age of 18 to fight in World War I. After which, he studied chemistry at the University of Czernowitz, and then enrolled at the Technical University of Vienna to become a chemical engineer.

While living and working in Vienna, Bliss was arrested by the Nazi party and was transported to the Dachau Concentration Camp. Throughout September 1938 to April 1939, Claire, Bliss's wife who was German, attempted to negotiate his release from the camps.

In April of 1939 Bliss was released and able to flee to London, England, where he changed his name from “Blitz” to “Bliss” in response to the London Blitz bombings. Throughout the next year, Bliss attempted to negotiate a visa for Claire to leave Vienna and join him in England, but they were unsuccessful. In 1940, they were able to acquire visas to Shanghai, China where they were officially reunited in 1941. In 1946, Bliss and his wife moved to Sydney, Australia where they settled until their deaths.

Between 1941 and 1949 Bliss began a process of developing his own symbolic language, partly inspired by Chinese characters. His hope was to create a universal language where meaning and intent could not be misconstrued or manipulated by others. In 1949, Bliss published Semantography (Blissymbolics) which described his symbolic language, Blissymbolics. The book attracted little attention by the public until 1971, when it was discovered by teachers at the Ontario Crippled Children’s Centre, who began to use Blissymbolics in their classrooms for children with cerebral palsy.

Bliss died in 1985.


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