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16th World Vegetarian Congress 1960

Hannover and Hamburg, Germany

From The Brtitish Vegetarian Nov/Dec 1960:


Picture taken at the innaugural dinner in Hanover. Left to right: Mrs F.Rudd; Mr G.L.Rudd (Hon.General Secretary, IVU); Mrs Rukmini Devi Arundale, M.P. of India; Mr Geo Hiller, President of Vegetarier Union Deutschland, and Mrs and Mr Peter Hoffman.

Exreme left, Mr Otto Kertscher; centre, Mr J.N.Mankar, and right Mrs F.Rudd

Mr Geo. Hiller and Pastor Dr.C-A Skriver

Dr.F.Wokes (back to camera); Mr H.Forschepiepe and Mr W.Altpeter

Centre facing, Mr C.Reets, who was mainly responsible for accommodation arrangements and social functions, enjoys a few moments of well-deserved relaxation.

Left to right: Miss R..Playle (Canadian V.U.), Mr.C.Mayo (Friends VS) and Miss Dullege (Canada)

Reception of Delegates by Dr.Diedrichs, Social Minister for Lower Saxony in Hanover

Left to right: Mrs Loland (Norway); Dr V.L.Ferrandiz (Spain); M.Max L'Abbé (France)

Dr Barbara Latto talks to Dr V.L.Ferrandiz after having been presented with a boquet of flowers in appreciation of her work translating speeches.

The 16th World Vegetarian Congress of The International Vegetarian Union, by invitation of the Vegetarier Union Deutschland, opened in Hanover on August 20th, 1960, with a Reception Dinner given by the German hosts at the "Haus des Vegetarismus 'bei Hiller ' " in Blumenstrasse.

In welcoming the foreign delegates, Mr. Geo. Hiller, Chairman of the Vegetarier-Union Deutschland, said that there was scarcely another country like Germany where the thought of living reform was so deeply rooted - about 2,000 health food stores served a nation which longed for a natural life on a vegetarian basis-and linked with this surprising fact were the names of Biroher-Benner, Lehman, Just, Gerson, Buchinger and many others.

He deplored the tendency for the man in the street to think of vege-tarianism as a health fad and blamed vegetarians for degrading our way of life to a purely biological matter. He said that human development must be on a more spiritual level and Mens sona in corpore sano must come to mean a healthy spirit living in a healthy body - the aim of our efforts. He believed that vegetarianism must be free from sectarianism and be based on the love for animals and our responsibility towards all men, particularly to the coming generation

Mr. Hiller introduced Mr. D. Bandman, the Kuchenmeister, who received a warm ovation for a splendidly prepared dinner. He then presented the representatives of the German vegetarian movement who supported him as host :-

Pastur Dr. Carl-Anders Skriver, speaker of Nazoräer-Orden
Mr. Otto Kertscher, President of Deutsche Tierschutz-Bund
Mr. Walter Sommer, of Walter Sommer Verlag;
Mrs. Jetty Tellgmann, of Mazdaznan-Frauen-Föderation
Mr. Friedrich Gronbach, of Vegetarische Gesellschaft, Stuttgart, the oldest vegetarian society in Germany, founded in 1868
Mr. Hermann Forschepiepe, of Deutsche Volksgesundheits Bewegung
Mr. Kurt Schmidt. of Deutsche Mazdaznan-Bewegung
Mr. Werner Altpeter, of Verlag Reform-Rundschau
Messrs. Karl Erich Wittmer and Hugo Brosius, of Bund freisozaler Lebens-reform.

The General Secretary of The I.V.U. called upon the delegates of each country in turn to stand and be introduced, and then thanked Mr Hiller and his colleagues for their fine welcome.

In the morning on Sunday, August 21st, the first business session was held and essential transactions were initiated - long sessions were held each day with elections, speeches and reports from Official Representatives.

In the evening the Beethovensaal tn Hanover Stadhalle saw a large audience of foreign delegates and German friends, who heard fine talks by Mrs Rukmini Devi Arundale, M.P., and Dr. Gordon Latto.

The programme continued on Monday. the 22nd with sightseeing tours and visits to industrial establishments like the Volkswagen factory, those not engaged in the business sessions, and Mr. Franz Thiemann spoke on "The Development of Living Reform in Germany" at the Haus der Jugend in Maschstrasse. Dr. Frank Wokes, Director of The Vegetarian Nutritional Research Centre, gave a learned paper and lantern illustrations entitled "Bombs or Food-The World Food Problem." In the evening a Festival Banquet was held at the Maschseegaststatten when about 350 enjoyed the magnificent views over the lake and had the honour of the company of Dr. Diederichs, the Social Minister for Lower Saxony. And Mr Holweg, the Burgomeister of Hanover-both welcomed the visitors to Germany and expressed their pleasure that Hanover had been chosen for the Congress. There was dancing to the Heinz Both Orchestra.

On Tuesday, the business sessions were televised, and the Executive Com-mittee sat and conducted the meeting under the heat and glare of bright electric lights while the cameras recorded the proceedings There were further coach outings, and German friends heard Mrs. Gertrud Schimdt speaking on "The Intellectual World of India-a Source of Strength for Vegetarianism." In the evening, Dr. Diederichs, the Social Minister. entertained the delegates to a Buffet Reception at the Haus des Ministerpräsidanten. and this was followed by a splendid open-air performance-der Königlichen Spiele-in the Herrenhäuser Gärten, the home of the Hanoverian kings. This was a floodlit ballet on the vast lawns and among the fountains to the accompaniment of Handel's Water Music by hundreds of performers, some mounted on spirited horses. The show, at which all the delegates were guests of the German Society, concluded with a colourful display of fireworks.

A display of "vegetarian" footwear loaned by Messrs. Dunlops and the wall charts of The Vegetarian Nutri-tional Research Centre attracted the attention of visitors.

On Wednesday, August 24th, five coaches and an escort of many private cars formed a cavalcade to Bad Pyr-mont, where lunch was given by Dr. Otto Buchinger in his Bomberger Restaurant and an opportunity given to see his famous naturopathic establishment. En route a short time was spent at Hamlin, of Pied Piper fame. The party returned to Hanover in the evening, while a small group made a wild dash to Hamburg for radio and newspaper interviews-one car being hauled out of a ditch by a farmer's cart horse! Early in the morning Dr. Skriver had given a fine talk.

Thursday concluded the Hanover sessions, and loaded buses took the delegates to Hamburg and a picnic lunch was provided at Oberhaverbeck in the picturesque district of Luneberg Heide.

The Congress at Hamburg was designed particularly for publicity purposes to benefit the German Vegetarian Movement, so the main lectures were delivered in German, and these attracted tremendous audiences, which included hundreds of people interested in animal welfare.

On the Friday morning, the delegates were given a salad meal at the huge LEFA Exhibition in "Planten un Blomen," a vast park where exhibitions are held throughout the year and with spacious halls and stands. The exhibi-tion was devoted to food, and manufacturers of health products were pro-minent. Delegates were also entertained at the lovely old Rathaus in Hamburg by Dr. Schmedemann, the Health Senator. Many took the opportunity of introducing themselves to the adjacent Vegetarische Gaststätte of Gebr. Schubarth-the oldest and biggest vegetarian restaurant in Europe, founded 65 years ago.

Near the Curia Haus, the Congress Bureau (appropriately named some believed), is an ultra-modern theatre, the Auditorium Maximum, mushroom shaped in concrete, glass and aluminium; here an audience of about 1,500 heard a series of lectures, Mr. Werner Altpeter, Mrs Ebba Waerland, Mr Günther Schwab and Dr. H. Warning giving excellent talks in what the programme stated to be a Monumental Demonstration of the German Health Movement," which, indeed, it was.

On Saturday, a visit to the Carl Hagenbeck Zoo was organised and visitors saw animals roaming in natural surroundings. In the afternoon Mr. Otto Kerscher, President of the German Animal Welfare Societies, welcomed the Deutscher reform-jugend and Tierschutzjugend-youthers in the reform movement and animal welfare movement, who also gave a musical presentation during the Congress. Mr. Kertscher showed an interesting film taken during his stay with Dr. Albert Schweitzer at Lambarene. and Mr Hiller spoke on "The Animal under the Dominion of Man." Later in the evening, The Animal Protection Society gave a concert with the famous Professor Elly Ney. now 82 years of age, giving a wonderful piano recital of Bach, Schubert and Beethoven. Vladimir Ruzdak (baritone) and Gisela Litz (mezzo-soprano) charmed the audience with their singing.

Sunday, August 28th, was the last day and it opened with a morning celebration in song by the German Reform Youth Movement with a talk by Mr. Werner Altpeter. Leaders of this display were Mr Jurgen Nezband and Miss Hildegard Kohlenberg, accompanied by the well-known composer, the young Mr. Robert Götz. A special meeting of those interested in anti-vaccination resulted in a plan to co-ordinate anti-vaccination work in all countries and it was agreed to ask the National Anti-Vaccination League in London to approve and initiate the scheme. Final speeches were made in the afternoon and evening and farewells said. Before the presentation of a souvenir to Mr. Hiller, the delegates had the pleasure of hearing another gifted pianist, Mr. Alain Motard, of Paris, and then seeing a display of physical perfection by Miss Freya Jossé, the vegetarian international trapeze artist.

Nature Cure-State Recognition
Of very special interest was a privileged visit of a small party to the Nature Cure department of the State-owned hospital at Langenhorn, Hamburg, where Dr. med Fritz Oelze explained the principles by which he worked, and then conducted the party over his hospital-the wards; baths where water therapy is a highly developed science; the kitchens where raw foods and special diets are prepared; and the spacious grounds where men, women and the staff have enclosures for air bathing, which is a recognized part of the naturopathic treatment.

It was with very great admiration for the German recognition of Nature Cure as a method of healing-compared with the shame we feel for British medical authorities in rejecting it-that the party heard Dr. Oelze speak of their success in treating patients with fruit and vegetable diets, water therapy. gymnastics and other unorthodox medical treatments.

The Nature Cure hospital was founded in 1953 under the direction of Dr. Kusche, and the treatments are available free under the German National Health Scheme. Drugs are only used as an absolutely last resource when the patient is beyond any kind of cure and comes too late to benefit from treatment of any kind.

No drugs or antibiotics are used in cases of pneumonia-these are first treated with a short fast, then fruit juices, raw and cooked vegetables, during which water packs are applied to the abdomen. Dr. Oelze, though not entirely vegetarian himself, readily agreed that the vegetarian way of life is better than the normal diet. He found in his medical experience that very good results were obtained with a raw food diet in cases of hypertension. diseases connected with the heart and arterio-sclerosjs.

To ensure that their more orthodox colleagues did not charge them with curing patients of diseases from which they were not actually suffering very careful orthodox methods of diagnosis are used, together with proper records from radiographs, electro-cardiographs and so on.

Cancer, Dr. Oelze said, was a difficult problem and unfortunately among the 40 or 50 cases received they had so far had none which had not first been treated by destructive orthodox methods. When treating disseminated sclerosis cases they found partial success with improved bladder and bowel conditions. Psoriasis, another "incurable" disease, responded to hot baths and sun treat-ment in the garden. Interesting information was given about insulin treatment for diabetes, and how the patient can be weaned from it by reducing food intake and giving an oats and vegetable diet. Success, too, is achieved in rheumatic and arthritic cases, especially when primary chronic rheumatism is reduced to an acute condition by fasting, bath treatment and raw food.

It was felt that British and other medical authorities would be well advised to give Nature Cure its chance in their hospitals and emulate this courageous German step.