In 1867 Eduard Baltzer, from Liepzig, founded the Deutsche Verein
für natürliche Lebensweise (German
Natural Living Society) - as far as we know this was the first society
in Germany to promote vegetarianism.
The following year, 1868, Gustav von Struve founded the Stuttgarter
Vegetarierverein (Stuttgart Vegetarian Association) ; this group expanded
in 1877 to become Süddeutschen Vegetarierverein (South German
In 1879 Robert Springer founded a group in Berlin - Deutsche Verein
für harmonische Lebenweise (German Association for Harmonious
Living), which soon became another national society, the Vegetarier
Verein. There were soon many more local
groups in Germany mostly affiliated to one of the two national groups.
In September 1889 the Liepzig group invited the two major British Societies
and others from Germany to a Congress in Cologne. This appears to have
been the first ever international gathering of vegetarians. A good time
was had by all, including boat trips on the Rhine for the first two days
followed by lectures and discussions on the remaining days. The event
was very successful, with between 80-100 people at each of the lectures,
and it was agreed to arrange further international meetings.
On October 1st the London Vegetarian Society initiated the Vegetarian
Federal Union, which was meant to be for all vegetarian societies from
any country but, in reality, was mostly English speaking groups in Britain,
Ireland and America. Some representatives from Germany attended an International
Congress organised by VFU in London in September 1890, and one or more
German groups joined VFU, but they were never very actively involved.
On June 7, 1892, at a joint Congress in Leipzig, the two national societies
agreed to unite and form the Deutscher
Vegetarier-Bund (German Vegetarian Federation) with its base in
By the end of 1893 many more local groups had joined the Federation,
including 'Berlin, Chemnitz, Frankfurt/M., Glauchau, Hanover, Hamburg,
Leipzig, Magdeburg, Meissen, Zurich as well as the vegetarian settlements
Eden Orianenburg, near Berlin, and Bülach in Switzerland.' The Bund
published a magazine: Vegetarische Warte.
The Stuttgart group remained outside the Federation along with a few
others, but over the following years about 70% had joined the Bund.
In 1908 the first IVU Congress
was held in Dresden, this was initiated by the Manchester, UK based
Vegetarian Society, following a suggestion from the French Society. The
idea of holding the Congress in Dresden may have been a deliberate attempt
to link the English and German speaking Federations - if so it succeeded
admirably and IVU has continued from that point until today.
The Dresden Vegetarian Society was founded in 1881 and in 1908 it appears
to have been a member of the Deutscher Vegetarier-Bund as they
worked closely together on the Congress with Dr.Selss, president of the
Bund, in the chair. The Secretary of the Dresden Society is mentioned
in the reports as Georg Förster.
Between 1910 and 1913 Herr Förster and his wife, Martha, broke away
from the Bund to form their own societies, including Verein Vegetarischer
Frauen - Association of Vegetarian Women founded by Martha. In 1918
another Federation was started from Berlin and the Dresden groups joined
it. However by 1930 they had fallen out and the Dresden groups started
their own Federation, very much based on the personality of Georg Förster,
but nevertheless very successful.
In 1932 the IVU Congress
was held at the Eden Camp, Berlin, which was a member of the Deutscher
Vegetarier-Bund - now celebrating its 40th year.
In 1935 independent societies were made illegal and were forced to either
join the Nazi Living Reform Movement or close. The members of the Deutcher
Vegetarier-Bund conducted a ballot of their members and they voted
to close. On February 18, 1935 the Bund was dissolved.
The groups based in Dresden attempted to continue under Nazi authority
but they had also closed by 1941 or 42.
In 1945 the Vegetarians re-established themselves and, after various
reorganisations and name changes, became the Vegetarier-Bund Deutschlands
(Vegetarian Federation of Germany) in 1985.
Other related info (some from Switzerland, the early German Federation
included some Swiss groups):
If you have any more information about anything on this page please contact
John Davis - firstname.lastname@example.org