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9th World Vegetarian Congress 1935

Daugaard, Denmark

From The Vegetarian News (London), September 1935:

INTERNATIONAL VEGETARIAN CONGRESS
SOME PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS

BY S. A. HURREN, M.C., F.C.S.

Standing on the quay to welcome us at Esbjerg on July 27th were two young people whom we afterwards knew as Miss Henriksen and her fiancé. They took no rest during the whole of the Congress, and whatever they did was perfectly and graciously done, although much of it was behind the scenes. After a beautifully served meal at Esbjerg (a little rose adorning each one's plate) we were saved what might have been a tiresome series of slow railway journeys by taking coaches all the way to Daugaard. It was dark, wet and stormy when we arrived, but hot "blossom tea," plenty of butter, cheese and bread warmed us again. Egerod, Feix and Jens Henriksen welcomed us with little speeches in English, and boys from the school trotted us off to our respective quarters. Bearing in mind that one hundred were originally expected, and that the booking gradually grew to two hundred, the resources of the school stood the strain very well indeed. Meals were in two relays, the staff heroically dealing with language difficulties and varying temperaments, without any signs of disgruntlement. Mrs. Johnson, the Headmaster's wife, who organised this important side of the Congress, was a model of imperturbability and charm.

From the very moment of its opening meeting, the impossibility of persuading such a community to work by the clock (except for meals) was acknowledged by all, and equally obvious was the fact that a few outstanding personalities really formed the germ of the Congress. Writing affectionately of them in any order, let us first recall Hans Feix, the Secretary, splendid with his English, but modest in his opinion of it. No one can forget his eyes, brimful of undropped tears, when Mr. J. L. Saxon, the Grand Old Man of Sweden, presented Egerod and Feix with a beautiful medal to commemorate the occasion. And when he sang to us one evening, his voice and stature rose to those of a giant.

Van Borrendam, the massive and genial President, capable of the deepest feeling, yet self-controlled enough to listen with enjoyment to excited criticisms of his policy and beliefs, gave us impartial summaries in English as and when required. His re-election was a testimony to his sterling character, however one might disagree with his handling of Europe during the past three years!

Oluf Egerod, a lovable Danish Inspector of Schools, was at his best when "giving," and was never too tired to answer one more question before bed-time. As Treasurer he is more deserving of the adjective "indefatigable" than can be imagined, but he also knows how trust those to whom he allots duties, without worrying himself or them all the time. In other words, he is a born organiser.

Jens David Henriksen, a charming young doctor, was obviously Egerod's great support at all hours of the day and night, placating all who complained of anything, with a charm of manner that will ensure his success as a medical man.

Thomas Spur, a quiet an cultured Dane who had found the religion which gave him poise and peace of mind, was in great contrast to his co-religionist, Simon Kupcik (pronounced "coop-chick") who clinched his lengthy arguments with quotations from the Bible, and lost no opportunity of holding it up and smacking it vigorously with his open hand.

The personality of Hindede, was, of course, a thing to behold. His rugged ways were those of a beautiful enthusiast who has suffered many unjust attacks on his work, but without leaving him bitter or cynical. His powerful voice carried conviction, and his hearers were conscious all the time that they were listening to one who, by the wonderful success of his rationing system long since under War conditions, has made a permanent mark on the history of food reform.

Dr. Jean Nussbaum, the only Frenchman at the Congress, was soon accorded a premier place among the speakers. As would be expected, he holds the view that vegetarianism should be scientific and capable of facing the world with adequate evidence of its superiority over flesh-eating habits. Serious in debate, the learned doctor was a charming raconteur after work was over, and, what is more, he was a good listener, appearing to enjoy the linguistic efforts of the English contingent.

Mr. Moritz Schnitzer, the leader from Czech-Slovakia, was a fluent speaker, listening (with his fellow-countryman, Kupcik) on the necessity of Christianising the movement before it could make much headway. The two great policies are divided out only as to ideals. They are both firmly and completely vegetarian, but the one wishes to confine itself to scientific principles while the other invokes the powerful aid of religion and humanitarian motives. Instead of deploring this fact, anyone who has spent a week at an International Congress will agree that, in this way, all tastes and opinions can be catered for and included in the one word "vegetarian".

Trips on the fjords and a final ceremonial bonfire by the waterside at night, when representatives of each country threw a branch into the fire as a symbol of fidelity to the cause, made a wonderful impression on everyone present, but most of all upon Egerod himself, who will ever retain in his memory the knowledge that his three months intensive hard labour had served to push the movement along one more stage in the history of mankind's struggle for freedom.

S.A.H.

Grateful acknowledgement is here again tendered to Dr. Constance Hurren for her most efficient work in organising the visit of twenty-three representatives from Great Britain who were present at the Congress. Such good representation is the more satisfactory having regard to the peculiar difficulties which, owing to the international complications, were attendant upon this year's proceedings. English people have likewise reason to feel proud of the work done at the Congress by Miss Phyllis Haigh, of Leicester, who holds a position on the staff of the Gymnastic Institute of Sileborg (Denmark). The full list of visitors from Great Britain was as follows [see photo bottom left, but not in the same order]: Mr. James Hough (Delegate of The Vegetarian Society), Mr. S. A. Hurren (Delegate of the London Vegetarian Society), Mr. H. H. Anderson, Mr. E. S. Clark, Miss E. Cohen, Mr. and Mrs. A. P. Haigh, Miss Haigh, Mrs. Hering, Mrs. Howard, Dr. C. E. Hurren, Mrs. Jelfs, Miss K. M. King, Miss E. Lander, Mrs. Morris, Mrs. Paterson, Miss E. W. Peel, Dr. W. L Presswood, Miss V. Richards, Miss A. Roberts, Miss H. M. Schooling, Mr. F. J. Smart and Mrs. G. White.