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History of the German Vegetarian Societies

Local Societies in Germany

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), October 1881, p216:

The Neue Freie Presse says that the Congress of German Vegetarians, to be held next month at Stuttgart, will be one of unusual interest.

We have received the first number of the Berliner Blätter, the monthly organ of the Berlin Vegetarian Society. The greater part of its members are connected with the University.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), December 1881, p270:

Germany - The annual meeting of the German Vegetarian Union, held this year at Halle, appears to have given complete satisfaction; about fifty members were present.
The annual meeting of the South German Society, held at Stuttgart, on October 2nd, appears to have been most successful, about one hundred guests being present at the banquet, many ladies being among the number.

According to La Réforme Alimentaire [France], local Vegetarian Societies exist in Berlin, Nordhausen, Stuttgart, Augsburg, Carlsruhe, Chemnitz, Cologne, Frankfort-on-the-Main, Halle, Leipzig, Ulm, Pforzheim, and in Austria at Vienna, Gratz, and Murzzuschlag. There are also thiry -four Vegetarian medical men or hygienic establishments where such practice in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Graham bread is also regularly made by upwards of one hundred bakers in sixty-six towns in Germany and Austria, where also Vegetarian restaurants now exist in nineteen towns. Four journals specially devoted to the movement exist in Germany, whilst five others strongly advocate it. The Guide to Vegetarian Literature, published by R. Springer in Berlin, gives the titles of more than 200 publications on the subject in the German language.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), January 1882, p23:

From the Berliner Blätter we learn that the rise of the German Academical Vegetarian Society took place in 1878, at the University of Greifswald, the residence at that time of Herr Maximillian Klein, now president of the society and editor of the official organ. The only Vegetarian there, he sought to gain converts from amongst his acquaintance, his interest in the subject being strengthened by the perusal of Prof. Virchow's writings in opposition to Vegetarianism (habent sua fata libelli) and also by Shelley's notes on "Queen Mab". A providential invitation to dinner led to a Vegetarian discussion, resulting in one conversation, the number of the faithful being eventually increased to three - tres faciunt collegium - in the summer of 1879. Shortly afterwards, the Academical Vegetarian Union was founded in Berlin. The event attracted much attention, the foundation of the society being noticed by nearly every German newspaper, even down to the smallest provincial organ. The number of adherents increasing, and the desire existing that the members should be principally drawn from the educated classes, the name of the society was eventually altered to that of the "German Academical Union," the object being to embrace the whole German-speaking intellectual classes, but not necessarily those connected with the universities.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), February 1882, p44:

COLOGNE - We are glad to hear of a public dinner given in this ancient city by the Vegetarian Society of Cologne, in the Town Hall, and also lectures on the subject by Dr. Dock.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), March 1882, p70:

The Berlin Society announces that arrangements have been made to supply Graham bread in 1 1/2 lb. loaves for 2 1/2 d. each, or, if required, six loaves can be forwarded, carriage paid, to any part of Germany for 1s. 9d.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), April 1882, p88:

The new German Academical Union for harmonious diet (Vegetarier Verein), founded 1879 (see German Vereins-Blatt, No.134), is divided into three classes of members: (1) ordinary members with the certificate of a university or any other high school, and bound to fulfil all the duties of the union; (2) extraordinary members or friends, who must have the same education, pay their contribution, but who are not bound to live as vegetarians; (3) honorary members, or those who have made themselves useful and serviceable to the union. The secretaries are Mr. H. Ehlert and Mr. P. Breitkreuz, theri addresses being Kürassierstrasse, 4, Berlin, S.W.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), June 1882, p135:

The Vegetarian Cause in Germany seems to have much benefited by the missionary tour of Dr. Dock, the result of a proposition made at the recent Vegetarian Congress at Halle. Nearly £100 was subscribed towards the lecturer's expenses by thirty different societies, some of the more important places requesting two lectures, thirty discourses in all having been delivered, exclusive of other opportunities for disseminating information. The lectures appear to have been generally well attended, that at Hanover numbering 600, a considerable proportion being of the working classes. The lecturer being unable at present to devote more time to the undetaking, has deferred the completion of his tour to the coming autumn.

From the Vereins Blatt we learn that a Vegetarian Society has recently been successfully inaugurated at Hanover. [further references to Dr. Dock's lecture tour and the well attended meeting at Hanover]. A short time afterwards a Vegetarian Conference took place, at whoch there was an attendance of nearly 250 persons. The result was a Vegetarian Society, numbering 40 members, the committee consisting of our active friend Herr von Seefeld, with Herren Mayersieck, Horn, Steckleberg, and Ratz. Several families are prepared to receive Vegetarian boarders, so that the persistent labours of our friends there for the last fifteen years appear to be producing fruit at last.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), February 1883, p45:

The Berlin Vegetarian Society have with the New Year enlarged their monthly organ to thirty-two pages. It now appears in book form, under the new title of Vegetarische Rundschau. The subscribers of the Berliner Blätter having more than doubled during the last five months led to the change. It is now rather a national organ for Vegetarians than a local one for the Berlin Society only.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), April 1883, p106/7:

The Berlin University Society also promoted a lecture by Herr Klein, editor of the Vegetarische Rundschau. An audience of four hundred, including many students, was attracted.

A branch of the Berlin Vegetarian Society has been formed in Cassel, and received favourable notices from the entire local press.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), May 1883, p136:

Herr Robert Springer, President of the Berlin Vegetarian Society, has just published, under the title of "Encarpa," a history of Vegetarianism drawn up in biographical form, and so corresponding in a remarkable way, both in plan and date, to the "Catena" of Mr. Howard Williams.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), August 1883, p232:

BERLIN - At the meeting of the German University Vegetarian Society of Berlin, on 10th May, it was decided to remove the word "university" from the title of the Society, and to make it general in character. As the Society declined to put itself under the control of the academical authorities, and the students who were members could not devote any great share of their time and means to its objects, it has been extremely difficult to spread an interest in the subject among the general body of students. It is hoped that by extending the field of its operations the Society will be able to render efficient service to the cause of Vegetarianism.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), September 1883, p262:

The "Berlin Academical Society for Harmonius Life (Vegetarian Society)" has carried the resolution: To admit as members not only students, but all educated men and women. Their principles, however, are not changed. "Our library," writes a member, "is the most complete one of the Vegetarian Societies in Germany. It embraces many English writings. The annual meeting (11th May) elected Mr. P. Breitreux, Friedensstr., 26, as the first secretary. M. Klein, Berlin, N., Weissenburgerstr., 2, is proprietor, publisher and editor of the Vegetarische Rundschau.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), June 1884, p160:

In the May number of Vereins-Blatt, Herr Rober Springer announces that in consequence of the new constitution, his connection with the "Berlin Vegetarian Society" and the "Pythagorean League" has ceased. In an article in the same paper he earnestly protests against the extreme views so often put forward, more especially by youthful advocates of the system; contending that such methods of propaganda sevre only to bring ridicule upon our real work. He says: "At one time it is 'only bread and fruit;' at another, 'only raw fruit;' one advocates the sole use of 'wild fruit;' no salt is to be used (poison), nor sugar (ditto), and even the idea of dwelling in holes and caves, and living like the 'dear animals,' has been openly discussed!" A very full programme is presented by the "German Vegetarian Society" of proceedings at the annual meeting held at Berlin, May 24 to 26, in Vegetarische Rundschau for May.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), September 1884, p258:

"Vegetarianism is flourishing in Germany as in England. Although there are at present only 170 professed Vegetarians in Germany, they are the possessors of a library of 700 volumes on Vegetarianism, the largest library of continental Vegetarians. They also have a monthly periodical, called Vegetarische Rundschau. All this is well, but the name of the society is best of all - it is "The German Society for Promoting a harmonious Manner of Life."
This must have ocurred to some readers of the Pall Mall Gazette as an extraordinary statement. What kind of flourishing is this, when "Germany has only 170 professed Vegetarians!" The truth comes out in a letter to the Editor of the Manchester Evening News :-
"You quote a statement from the Pall Mall Gazette 'that there are only 170 professed Vegetarians in Germany.' Your vivacious contemporary has been misled. The local society at Berlin has that number of members, but there are other Vegetarian associations both in the capital and in other parts of Germany. It would be impossible to say how many 'professed Vegetarians' there are either in Germany or in England; for many who are staunch Vegetarians do not enrol themselves as members of the various societies existing for the purpose of propaganda. The best known of the German societies is the 'Deutscher Verein für Naturgemässe Lebensweise,' of which the venerable and learned Eduard Baltzer is president. This society publishes an 'Adsressbuch.' The issue for 1880 (the latest that is at this moment accessible) contains the addresses of 1,345 known adherents of Vegetarianism in Germany. - A Manchester Pythagorean.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), January 1886, p28:

The death of Robert Springer on October 21, 1885 is reported.
A Vegetarian Society was formed at Crimmintschau, which enrolled 40 members.
Reference to the monthly meeting at Dresden.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), February 1886, p58:

Very successful meetings of Vegetarian societies were held in Berlin on the 10th December, and at Glachau on the 10th November. The Leipsic Society is growing fast.

From the Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), May 1886, p149:

The Vegetarian Society at Leipsic held its eleventh annual meeting in January. Its finances are prosperous, and its number of members is satisfactory. - Vereins-blatt for March.

Over the next two years there were many translated extracts from the various German magazines, with littel comment about the societies producing them.

From the Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), May 1888, p149:

The Vegetarian Society of Hanover has had a full and active year. Thirty-six meetings were held during its course. The members number over fifty.

From the Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), May 1888, p149:

Germany.- The Vegetarische Rundschau for May gives the conditions which have been fixed by Dr. Paul Förster for uniting the two sections of Vegetarians which are at present represented by two societies in Germany. [it would be another four years before this idea made came to fruition].

From the Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), November 1889, p336:

Abstract of the Vegetarische Rundschau for October 1889. This paper gives a full account of the Berlin meeting of the "Vegetarier Union," held onthe 21st and 22nd of September. Dr. Förster presided, and read an excellent paper on "The Art of a Happy Life." The meeting was well attended.

From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), February 1890, p.61:

Abstract of the contents of the Vegetarische Rundschau for December, 1889. Many German words are suggested by correspondents for the word "Vegetarier" and its derivation.

The Berlin Vegetarian Society has opened its autumn session with signs of renewed life and vigour. The numbers which had gone down, are rapidly rising, and the meetings are well attended.

From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), October 1890, p.313:

Germany.- Abstract from Die Vegetarische Rundschau for September 1890: All members and friends of the Deutscher Vegetarier Verein are invited by the committee to the annual meeting, which will be held in Berlin on the 20th and 21st inst.

From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), October 1891, p.311:

Germany.- Abstract from Die Vegetarische Rundschau for September 1891: The German "Vegetarier Verein" gives notice of its annual conference, which will be held in Berlin on the 19th and 20th September. All members and friends are invited. Dr. Andries will preside and deliver his opening address on the evening of the 19th at the rooms of the "Pomona". There will be a dinner and social gathering on the 20th, and excursions on the 21st.

From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), December 1891, p.374:

Germany.- Abstract from Die Vegetarische Rundschau for October 1891: The annual meeting of the German Vegetarier Verein took place in the rooms of the Pomona Restaurant, Berlin, on the 19th September, when papers were read by the president and others. The finances of the society are in a somewhat more prosperous condition than they were at the close of last year. At the proposal of Herr Janke it was agreed to call a united meeting of delegates at Leipsic for Whitsuntide, 1892, in order to consider the amalgamation of this society and the Balzer Verein.

From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), February 1892, pp.50-51:

A Vegetarian Society has once more been formed at Chemnitz: sixteen members joined, and it was resolved to open a Vegetarian restaurant as the best means of spreading our principles. And this Vegetarian restaurant was opened in Berlin on the 3rd inst. Hamburg, on the other hand, remains entirely unsupplied in this respect.

The Vegetarische Rundschau has now closed its eleventh year of life, during which time its circulation has increased from 200 to 1,100. It has a deserved popularity; its sound and broad teaching in the cause of a rational and humane mode of life, entitling it to the support of all Vegetarians.

From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England) July 1892, p.213:

Germany. - In Die Vegetarische Rundschau for April, 1892 . . . The Barmen Vegetarian Society commemorated its third anniversary in February, and the Leipzig Society in March. At each meeting some 1,500 persons were present.

From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England) September 1892, p.280:

It is announced that the general meeting of the German Vegetarier Verein will take place on September 25th, in the rooms, Neue Schönhauser Strasse, 10, I, Berlin. There will be a business meeting, a dinner, and an excursion. Further particulars will be published in the Autumn number of the Rundschau. The main business of the day will be the ratification of the resolution passed in Leipsic, by which the two German Vegetarian Societies - the Vegetarier and the Verein für Naturgemaisse Lebensweise - become amalgamated. The first meeting of the united bodies is fixed, by resolution passed at the Leipsic Congress to take place next Whitsuntide, in Hanover. A large meeting is hoped for to welcome the long-desired union.