IVU General Secretary 1947-50
Vegetarian Congress 1947, England:
. . .as Johan Bolt is too heavily engaged in vegetarian and literary
work in the Netherlands to act as I.V.U. Secretary, Mr. Kaj Dessau,
of Denmark, who impressed everybody with his ability and modesty (as
also with his charming Swedish fiance, Ingrid Peterson), was appointed.
During a year of professional work in the United States, he will travel
as I.V.U. Secretary, and then return to Europe to plan the Twelfth
I.V.U. Congress. Sibly, Egerod and Dessau form the small working Executive,
. . .
. . . Mr. KAJ DESSAU (Denmark) was unanimously elected. . . .
. . . the Congress asked the Executive to endeavour to find an Editor
for an I.V.U. news-bulletin of about four pages, to be edited from
reports sent in and other material, transmitted in English to all
national vegetarian editors, and-this was strongly and rightly emphasized
by the proposer, Kaj Dessau - printed in full by them in their own
languages. . . .
. . .In September, the London Vegetarian Society arranged a similar
reception at the Attic Club for the new Secretary of the I.V.U., Mr.
Kaj Dessau. . . .
1949 American Vegetarian Convention:
Of the Americans who worked for this result, and on whom now falls
the burden, we shall surely hear more. This is the time and place
to pay tribute to the Honorary Secretary of the International Vegetarian
Union, Kaj Dessau of Denmark, who drove 56,000 miles around America,
neglecting urgent family and professional affairs in Europe, to make
the Union possible in a country that is really a continent. One morning
at The Coffee Shop in nearby Walworth, a few American and European
friends tried to show Kaj how they felt about his tireless idealism.
They gave him a symbol of his work in America - an empty pocket-book.
Not quite empty. There was a blurred, but still legible copy of the
constitution of the American Vegetarian Union, unanimously adopted
a few hours before, and a cheque negotiable in no ordinary bank, signed
by all his friends, and pledging them to pay him any amount of goodwill
at any time the I.V.U. might need it.
1950 World Vegetarian Congress, The Netherlands:
Mr. KAJ DESSAU (Denmark), in a vigorous call to action, spoke of
Future of the International Vegetarian Movement." (full text
From the Vegetarian Messenger, (Manchester) following the Congress:
. . . Of direct application were two eloquent addresses, by Kaj Dessau,
the retiring Secretary of the I.V.U., on "The Future of the International
Vegetarian Movement " - this was a clarion call to vigorous action
. . .
The vigorous address of Kaj Dessau, which is included in this
number, is a clarion call to action. It is sincerely written by an
idealist with a real concern for the future of the international movement
and we agree entirely with him when he says "I know we could
do much, much more." The complete answer to Mr Dessau's challenge
is provided by himself in his address- "Until we give all, we
do not give enough" and this explains his disappoint-ment with
the progress made in our movement. But there is not one person in
a million who can give all or even nearly all, and if we started afresh
to-day with new organizations, new officials, etc., the problem would
still be an individual one and the progress or otherwise of the movement
would still advance in proportion to individual enlightenment. Organizational
problems are important but whether there is one or half a dozen organizations
working for the same object, that particular movement can only expand
with the rate of development of the individual consciousness. Indeed,
a rapid expansion would give much cause for suspicion because emotions
can swayed backwards and forwards in response to any clever orator
at almost any time. Human consciousness does not ordinarily develop
rapidly, nevertheless, it is on this development that the real stability
of the vegetarian movement is based. Mr. Dessau's criticism could
be applied equally to Christianity and its progress during the past
2,000 years, or to any other movement which demands from the individual
some sacrifice-and the reason for the comparatively slow development
of all is virtually the same. It is important that we should understand
this fundamental fact which, to a large extent, regulates the progress
of our movement. Nor does it mean that because we are cognisant of
this obstacle we be complacent-no one should be complacent in the
world of to-day, but as Bernard Shaw says in his Postscript to Back
to Methuselah. "We must not stay as we are, doing always what
was done l ast time, or we shall stick in the mud. Yet neither must
we undertake a new world as catastrophic Utopians, and wreck our civilization
in our hurry to mend it."
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