International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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13th IVU World Vegetarian Congress 1953

Sigtuna, Sweden

SIGTUNA CONGRESS Sweden, 1953
HANWORTH WALKER
Secretary, International Vegetarian Union

It is almost certain that never before in the long history SIGTUNA has such a varied international gathering trodden its old streets. In the first week of August, 1953, vegetarians from twenty nations settled into the most comfortable quarters of the Humanistiska College, in which spacious and dignified buildings the Thirteenth World Vegetarian Congress was held.

All of the delegates will have carried away their own special a and individual memories, but to us all there will long remain the recollection of beautiful surroundings, excellent and most liberal food and a radiant family spirit generated by a colourful and kind people all dedicated to the non-hurtful way of life. On arrival we were welcomed by the genius of the Congress, Josef Pedersen, treasurer of both the I.V.U. and the Swedish Vegetarian Society whose good humour, infinite patience and capable management kept the complicated Congress machinery running smoothly through the whole week. Very little seen, even less heard, Josef Pedersen's name will always be associated with a Congress that, in the opinion of those who have attended many, was as good as any of the past. That was the standard set and that was the aim achieved. The week went far too quickly and was all too short for the exchange of views and experiences that arise from the many approaches to the Vegetarian Way of Life. An additional impetus to time's passing was given by the variety of lectures, excursions and activities, and listened with rapt attention to such learned and entertaining speakers as Mrs. Clarence Gasque, Mr. W. A. Sibly, who showed us breath-taking pictures of his wide travels, Dr. Frank Wokes. nutrition expert, Major Ernst Killander, President of the Swedish Vegetarian Society, and one of the most loved men in that country Mr. Olof Thorborg, who always lifts his audience nearer to the heights, Dastur Framrose Bode, whose beautiful voice and spiritual insight brought the romance and ageless philosophy of the east to -stir our hearts and open our eyes, Mr. Peter Freeman, a member of the British Parliament, whose powerful speech and telling facts made us more aware of the influence that vegetarianism could be in the world, Professor Scott Nearing, who, with his great-hearted wife Helen, have crystallised the dream of the idealist into a practical and exemplary reality, Mr. G. van Nederveen, our loyal and good-natured friend from Holland, who spoke of the work and aims of the Institute of the Dutch Vegetarian Society which could well become a research centre for the world vegetarian movement, Dr. Kirstine Nolfi, the courageous lady from Denmark whose valuable work has already benefited so many in the past and which will inspire many in the future, Mr. Walter Sommer, of Germany, whose calm and quiet exterior covers a deep and searching inner nature, speakers and addresses alike of lasting memory. Some of the papers will be printed in full in the various national vegetarian magazines.

Coach loads of lively and voluble people drove through the attractive Swedish countryside to visit the old university town of Uppsala to listen to learned addresses in the University, and to climb over the ancient burial mounds of old Uppsala. An equally happy and enjoyable journey was made to Skokloster castle, which houses much evidence of Sweden's cultural heritage and military past.

An outstanding event was the Festival Evening, when the delegates and many inhabitants of Sigtuna gathered in the great -Gymnasium Hall to be greatly entertained by an impromptu programme of instrumental music, singing and dancing. This delightful evening was further enhanced by a striking address from Mrs Clarence Gasque, remarkable for its profound understanding and fluent delivery. An unexpected and highly entertaining stage show was put on by Mrs. Gasque and Mr. Sibly, when the former, on behalf of all those present and many more absent, after a most gracious speech, presented our retiring President with a token of our affection and sincere regard for one who has done as much for the vegetarian movement as any living soul. The spontaniety of the act and the -natural deep feeling that stirred these two great leaders brought -warm and vociferous response from the audience.

And so to the last day - and what a day of experiences. Early away from Sigtuna and a reluctant farewell to the friendly buildings that had been home in all senses to this significant meeting of nations. The coach drive to Stockholm was rounded off by a sightseeing tour of this most clean and beautifully situated city. Thence to the Town Hall - a masterly blending of contrasting styles of architecture - surely one of the masterpieces of modern building. Admiring eyes and appreciative remarks praised the gems of within, and we saw that the culture of Sweden is no less than her more obvious industrial ability. But the finale of this visit to Stockholm's famous Town Hall was alone worth the long journey to Sweden. Our guide made his closing remarks with his back against a pair of massive doors and, as he finished, these two great wooden screens slowly parted and revealed a sight so amazing, indeed almost fantastic, as to draw forth a long exclamation of wonder and excitement from all those present. Beyond was a great hall in golden mosaic inlaid with huge figures of almost barbaric splendour and in this palace of wonder long tables were set out and laden a feast to vie with the surroundings. Two figures were quietly enjoying this magnificent surprise, for this was the closely guarded secret of Ernst Killander and Josef Pedersen, and their faces made no attempt to conceal their boyish delight at their guests' burst of appreciation for this most generous gesture. Satisfied with the delectable refreshments and as happy as a band of children the whole company then moved to the Swedish Houses of Parliament -where, after being permitted to view the impressive Council Chamber, -the final meeting of the Congress was held in one of the appointed committee rooms. For most of us, one might even truly say for all, this was saddened by the thought that here was to drop the curtain on a most memorable week. Mr. P. Gyllensva..rd, President of the Stockholm Vegetarian Society spoke words of brotherly kindness to all those who had been the guests of Sweden, and then keeping the level of Congress discourse on the week's high plane. Dr. Ragnar Berg, the youthful ancient of Swedish vegetetarianism poured forth a lecture that should be reprinted in every vegetariar. publication in the world - and every other publication for that matter. Now we were nearing the close and Mrs. Gasque with well chosen words delivered in a quiet voice, vibrant with feeling admirably expressed our feelings of gratitude and friendship for our Swedish brothers and sisters, and made us feel, as we truly are, one great family which, by its humanitarian consideration for all forms of life, might lead the world to more peaceful ways.

Then the partings, the warm handshakes, the reluctant leave-takings and the promise, oft-repeated " See you in Paris in '55!' May that be so for us all, and may the great spirit of goodwill that we all truly felt remain with us undiminished until "Paris in '55!"

Officers of the International Vegetarian Union - elected at Sigtuna
President, Mrs. Clarence Gasque, U.S.A.
Past President, Mr. W. A. Sibly, MA., J.P., England.
Deputy President, Mr. O. Egerod, M.A., Denmark.
Vice-Presidents, Mr. James Hough, England; Mr. Woodland Kahler, U.S.A.; Dr. A. Capitani, Italy ; Mr. G. Hodson, New Zealand; Dr. B.P. Allinson, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., England; Mr. L. Pritztker, Canada; Mr. D. Semple, Scotland; Dr. rer. oec. R. Bircher, Switzerland; Dastur F. Bode, India; Dr. phil. H. J. Rogler, N way; Dr. John Maxwell, U.S.A.; Dr. J. Nussbaum, France; Mr van Nederveen, The Netherlands; Mr. L. Fillmore, U.S.A.; Major E. Killander, Sweden; Professor J. de Marquette, France; J. Kimball, Canada; Mr. H. B. Stevens, U.S.A.; Dr. jur. E. Waag, Germany; Mr. C. Schelin, Sweden; Mr. Scott Nearing, B.O., B.S., Ph.D., U.S.A.; Mr. N. Nielsen, Denmark: Mr. H. Th. Kall, Germany.
Treasurer, Mr. J. Pedersen, Sweden.
Assistant Treasurer, Mr. H. H. Jones, England.
General Secretary, Mr. Hanworth Walker.
Executive Committee, Mrs. Clarence Gasque, Mr. W. A. Sibly, Mr. O. Egerod, Mr. J. Pedersen, Mr. J. Hough, Mr. H. H. Jones, Mrs. E. Ecker-Lauer (Germany); Mr. Woodland Kahler, Dr. J. Nussbaum.




At Sigtuna, Sweden
Interesting personalities at the I V U Congress snapped by the Editor: Mr. Hanworth Walker, I V U Secretary; Mrs. Clarence Gasque, USA, (elected President of the I V U on the retirement of Mr. W. A. Sibly, M.A., J.P.); Major Ernst Killander, President of the Swedish Vegetarian Society; Mrs. Ferne Lasser, Secretary of Chicago Vegetarian Society.


Congress Personalities
From the editorial camera:- Mrs Ecker-Lauer (elected to IVU Executive); Dastur Bode, Zoroastrian High Priest; Dr J.G.Nussbaum (elected to IVU Executive); Dr John Maxwell, America's 90 year old vegetarian G.O.M.; and Mr Josef Pedersen (IVU Treasurer)


Congratulations on a fine Congress to -
Mr Josef Pedesen, Treasurer of the I.V.U., and Swedish Vegetarian Society, seen chatting at the Congress to Major Ernst Killander, President of the Swedish Vegetarian Society.


Congress Pictures
An open air lecture in progress at The Humanistika College and (below) Mr Oluf Egerod, of Denmark, with Dr J.Nussbaum, of France, and Mrs Ferne Lasser of Chicago.


More "Internationalities"
Seen at Sigtuna (from left):- Miss Ingeborg Sulkowsky (Germany), Mrs Sommer (Germany), Mr G.Herman (Italy), Mr & Mrs Winkelborg (Holland), Dr E.Waag (Germany), Mr Walter Sommer (Germany).


Dear Young Friends
Here is Mrs Neilson, of Denmark, with her pretty little daughter at the Sigtuna Congress. Mrs Nielson is in the Norwegian national costume, which was her nationality before her marriage.

Right: A Swedish boy having a look around!


Finale
Mrs Clarence Gasque, IVU President, and Mr W.A.Sibly M.A.,J.P., Past President, exchange presentations.


Some of the delegates from 20 nations at the Sigtuna Congress 2-8 August