International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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1st IVU World Vegetarian Congress 1908

Dresden, Germany

Further reports about the Congress

From the Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester) November 1908:

International Union of Esperantist Vegetarians. - There was founded at the close of the International Esperantist Congress in Dresden an International Union of Vegetarian Esperantists. The meeting was attended by 19 people, but a number of friends who could not attend the Congress had sent their names, and the Union at the beginning of September had a membership of 37, from ten different nations. The Esperantist Union has decided to co-operate with the International Vegetarian Union, and will do all it can to assist in the propagation of ideas for which the both Unions are working. The Esperantists at Dresden crowded out all the vegetarian cafés, and had menus printed in Esperanto. Their Union at future congresses can do much good in this direction. Esperantists are the most sane and practical of enthusiasts, and we heartily welcome their co-operation in our movement. Those of our readers interested in Esperanto should communicate with the secretary of the Union, Mr. R. de Ladevèze, Altonaerstrasse 67 m, Hamburg.

From the Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester) December 1908:

Vegetarianism and Language. - Mr. J. Arthur Gill writes :- "At the recent International Congress in Dresden there was opportunity for observing the part which language can play in the spread of a movement.. The present writer is an Esperantist and a vegetarian who attempted to attend both series of meetings. After one of the vegetarian meetings, he found a German regarding him with friendly eyes, and at once tried to fall into conversation with him. But no! after each had cudgelled his brains for a few stray words in the other's language, the whole and sole result was the following scene : - 'Vegetarian? Yes!' 'Vegetarian? Yes!' violent and delighted handshake. When this had been repeated two or three times, one began to feel a need for further details, and the interest waned. How different was the case with a charming vegetarian, who, oh joy! Spoke also Esperanto! It was a noticeable thing, too, that whereas the day meetings consisted largely of just the delegates who had come to lay down the foundations of the future International Vegetarian Federation, the four vegetarian restaurants were filled day by day with Esperantists, who were actually vegetarians, or that way inclined. What delightful places those Dresden restaurants are! Picture a little group of half-a-dozen sitting round a table and vastly amused with everything around, and especially one another, all speaking with interest and animation. From the conversation it was impossible to learn of their nationality, yet one would be a Finn, another a Tyrolese, another a Frenchman, and so on. The function of the Internacia Unicio de Esperantistaj Vegetaranoj, is to supply services to vegetarians, through the instrumentality of their International language. If any vegetarians in England, for instance, desires to travel, or desires to correspond, he will write to Sinjoro R.de-Ladevèze, Hamburgo, Altonaer starsse, 67 III, who will give him addresses of vegetarian restaurants, pensions, etc., or will put him into communication with kindred spirits for the interchange if ideas."

Dresden Conference. - Among the delegates who attended our first International gathering was Mr. A. Meyroos, LL.D, who represented the "Nederlands Vegetariër-Bond." He congratulates the Meeting on its good results, in as much as a provisional committee was formed, and a meeting for next year projected in Manchester, to which he looks forward with delight, and from which he hopes great things. Mr. Meyroos praises the good cordial understanding which reigned throughout the meetings, and also Mrs. Thesmar's excellent catering and homelike hospitality. Another outcome of the Dresden Meeting is that Dr. E.M. Thomas, of Berlin, has sent articles dealing with vegetarianism, to several Berlin papers. He speaks of our cause in a favourable light, and urges that a rational adoption of a vegetarian dietary would go a long way towards solving the social difficulties. He holds that Society owes us a debt for having brought our views clearly before the eyes of thinking people. For one thing is certain, he says: We eat too much, and above all we eat too much flesh food.


The following, from The Vegetable Passion by Janet Barkas (1975), indicates some origins in Dresden:

Another influential figure in these early days of the movement was Dr. Heinrich Lahmann .... Lahmann traced many illnesses to an over-reliance on meat and unnatural medications. One of the first German physicians to use natural healing methods, Lahmann called animals his brothers and refused to use them for his experiments. Instead, he used himself as a guinea pig. His regime consisted of fruits aud vegetables, aud fresh air. Water was endorsed for its strengthening powers, and loose and porous clothing were recommended so that air might circulate freely. To provide goods that followed his progressive ideas, he designed shoes, boots, and clothing for all ages. He also recommended pillows filled with plants, rather than feathers.

Lahmann's major books on these subjects were Natural Healing, The Natural Way to Care for Your Health, and The Dietetic Mixture of Blood, in which he recommended a well composed blood mixture that could be achieved by living in a calm, spiritual way, bathing in the open air, and taking sauna baths. His sanitorium generated much enthusiasm, and, at the turn of the century, he founded a vegetarian society in Dresden.

In 1992 the entire May/June issue of Der Vegetarier, the magazine of the Vegetarier-Bund Deutschlands, was devoted to the centenary of VBD, having been founded in June 1892. The article about the early history of the Bund (Federation) states that a local vegetarian society had existed in Dresden since 1881.

From TEVA The Esperantist Vegetarian Movement celebrates its 90th year - EVU News 98/1:

The year 1908 saw three important events in the history of the vegetarian and Esperanto movements. In Geneva, Switzerland the ‘Universala Esperanto-Asocio’ (Universal Esperanto Association) was established; in Dresden, Germany, the International Vegetarian Union (IVU) and the “Internacia Unuigo de Esperantistaj Vegetaranoj” (IUEV) were founded. IUEV changed its name to Vegetara Ligo Esperantista (VLE), and later to the Tutmonda Esperantista Vegetarana Asocio (TEVA).