International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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Woodland Kahler (1895-1981)
Executive Committee Member 1953-1971
President of IVU 1960-71

It is apparent from the above memoirs that Woodland Kahler became vegetarian in 1948, age 53, and attended the 1st American Vegetarian Convention in 1949 where the American Vegetarian Union was launched.


Officers of the International Vegetarian Union - elected at Sigtuna
Vice-Presidents, . . . Mr. Woodland Kahler, U.S.A.; . . .
Executive Committee, . . .Mr. Woodland Kahler, . . .

right: "Internationalities" Jon Hanworth Walker, Secretary of the International Vegetarian Union, ... with Mrs Walker and Woodland Kahler, Foreign Secretary of the American Vegetarian Union, and well-known novelist in USA and France.

[from the UK magazine of same year]
Rennaissance in France

In years gone by La Sociéte Vegetarienne de France was a well-known member of the world vegetarian family, but the disintegrating effect of the war shattered this Society among so many others and scattered its fragments over a wide field. In view of the present day importance of vegetarianism and because France has always played a leading part in cultural movements, it was considered due time to invite the vegetarians of France to reunite into a national body and strengthen the world vegetarian structure by joining the International Vegetarian Union.

A large and widely representative gathering attended the opening meeting, held in the [Paris] home of Woodland and Olga Kahler, two leading workers in the field of American Vegetarianism, of which Woodland Kahler is the accredited Foreign Secretary.


Committee members Messrs Kahler, Nussbaum

It was agreed that Messrs Kahler, Nussbaum and the Secretary should act on behalf of the Committee in organising the 14th World Vegetarian Congress in Paris in 1955 & that they should invite suitable vegetarian leaders in France to join in forming a special Congress Committee.

Messrs Nussbaum Kahler were asked to find a suitable location in Paris for the Congress and the President would visit it with them on her forthcoming visit to France.

. . . In connection with this expedition to Israel Mr.Woodland Kahler expressed his willingness to accompany the secretary at his own expense and the offer was gratefully accepted.

It was agreed that a finance sub-committee be appointed consisting of the President, the Treasurer, the Assistant Treasurer, Mr.Woodland Kahler and the Secretary, Mr Kahler to act as chairman in the event of the President's absence. Mr Woodland Kahler proposed that in view of the extensive travels of the secretary the meetings to be attended and the hospitality to be extended to our many visitors a car should be provided for the use of the secretary. It was agreed that such a car be purchased at a price of approximately £450.

MAY 1st/2nd 1954 - PARIS
8 - Report on Israel Tour by Vice President Woodland Kahler
11 - Proposed Far Eastern Tour - Woodland Kahler

Deputy President Egerod first thanked Mr & Mrs Kahler for their hospitality and welcomed Mr Kahler to the Executive Committee

Mr Kahler, in the absence of Dr.Nussbaum reported on the program made with the arrangements for the Paris Congress.
The secretary further reported on Congress arranegments & pointed out that the first request to book La Cité Universitaire was turned down but special intervention of Mr & Mrs Kahler, on personal lines, secured this excellent building for us.
It was agreed that Mr Kahler find a speaker from the U.S.A.

Mr Kahler reported on the I.V.U. Tour of Israel when he and the secretary visited that country to further the movement internally, and link Israeli vegetarians with the world movement. He expressed his surprise on the situation in Israel calling it a modern miracle of rebirth. From a land ruined by the goat-culture of the Arabs it is now a land where tree-culture is recliming lost fertility & making the deser blossom again. The two IVU delegates were officially adopted and shewn every hospitality and assistance. He stressed the importance of Israel in modern world affairs pointing out that lines of communication reach from that country to all Jewish colonies and settlements all over the world and said that if Israel were to become largely vegetarian such propaganda for our movement would reach all corners of the earth. To Mr Kahler, Israel was an ideal country for vegetarians. He stated that he was eager to the point of impatience to have the secretary go out and finish the work that had been started.

Mr Kahler commented on the organising of the Israeli Tour saying that there are three separate but interdependent actions to take, first preparation by letters and advance publicity, then the tour itself and finally the follow-up to see that connections made were developed and suggested plans put into operation. He wanted the secretary to return to Israel for up to six months then to collect him and both go East to India, Ceylon & other countries of the Orient. Mr Kahler continued to unfold his wise scheme suggesting that after the 1955 Congress an IVU delegation go to Russia encouraged by the overwhelming success of the Israeli Tour, the internal set-up of these two countries being so similar. After which & with the gathered prestige and experience he and the secretary to tour the USA to unify the vegetarian movement there. He stated that the American Vegetarian Union had petered out & that visits to so many other countries would impress the USA where considerable sums of money were waiting to be tapped for I.V.U. work.

Mr Egerod stated that anti-Jewish, anti-Russian feeling in the USA would antagonise the latter nation.

Mr Kahler replied that this would not be the case if wisely handled, that the whole picture would be tackled on a global front & Russia not over emphasized.

Mr Sibly asked for financial details for such an extensive plan & Mr Kahler replied that his idea was for the secretary to take his family to Israel where they would live in a settlement while the secretary toured the country. He would be able to help the secretary with his fare to the Far East & furthermore on the passing of his father, would be in a financial position to help forward the work of the IVU.

The committee thanked & congratulated Mr Kahler & the secretary on their work in Israel.

With further expressions of gratitude to Mr & Mrs Kahler for permitting the committee to meet in their convenient and comfortable residence & with thanks to the able chairmanship of Mr Sibly, the meeting closed.


An excellent panel of speakers has been appointed for the main addresses. These include the I.V.U. President, Mrs. Clarence Gasque, Mr. Woodland Kahler (U.S.A.),

right: IVU Represetatives received by Mr Nehru - Mr & Mrs Woodland Kahler, of Paris, seen with the Prime Minister of India when they recently made a tour of India.

All members of the Executive Committee were returned to office again, namely, . . .Woodland Kahler of U.S.A. and France, . . .

The names of the lecturers, with their titles, were as follows:- . . . - Woodland Kahler (U.S.A.), on "Nostalgia for Perfection ", . . .

Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting held on the 27th, September 1957 at the I.V.U. offices, 24 Binney Street, London W.1.

Present :- Messrs . . . Woodland Kahler

Photo left from the Souvenir book of the 1957 IVU Congress


The Sessions of The Indian Congress November 1957

The General Organising Committee will include among many others, . . . Mr. Woodland Kahler, as representatives of the Executive Committee of the International Vegetarian Union.

Present: . . . Woodland Kahler, . . .

right: Deputy President welcomed. Mr Oluf Egerod, of Denmark, Deputy President of I.V.U., when he was greeted on arrival in India. With him are Mr Shah, Mr J.N.Mankar, chief organiser of the Congress, Mr Woodland Kahler and Mr Pattani.

Committee: the above and Mr.Kahler. Mr.James Hough and Frau Ecker-Lauer having resigned, Dastur F.Bode and Herr.Geo Hiller were elected in their places. (a rather confusing statement, possibly connected with the sacking of the Secretary the previous year)

on 9 May 1958, International Vegetarian Union

PRESENT: . . . W.Kahler,

on 4 June 1960

Present: . . . Mr Kahler, . . .

In the absence of the Deputy President Mr Kahler was elected Chairman for the meeting.

Indian Delegates: The Committee was very sympathetic towards the Indian delegates in their difficulty of obtaining foreign currency but felt it was their responsibility to make the best arrnagements they could. Mr Hiller keindly offered to give hospitality in Hannover and Hamburg to 3 delegates and Mr Kahler stated that he was already sponsoring several Indians.

Presidency: It appeared from nominations so far received that Mr Kahler had the majority. In the event of his being elected he said that he would endeavour to serve IVU to the best of his ability.

Vote of thanks: Mr Kahler was thanked for his kind and generous hospitality at 87 Av Henri Martin, Paris, France.

The Business Sessions

Election of Officers for a term of office - the following were elected unanimously:
PRESIDENT: Mr Woodland Kahler BA (USA, France and India)

The following cable was read from Mr Kahler: "I feel pleased and honored to hear of my election as President and will do my best to merit the confidence placed in me. Greetings and best wishes to all Delegates and visitors attending the 16th World Vegetarian Congress in Germany. Let us help the world to awaken from its nightmare to a happier reality."

from the report in the British Vegetarian Nov/Dec 1960:
We welcome the appointment as President of Mr. Woodland Kahler, of America, France and India, where he has his three homes. Mr. Kahler is well known for his deep and thoughtful literary contributions to vegetarian literature and is also the author of several novels, "best sellers" in America and France. Free to travel and give his time to furthering the aims of The I.V.U., he is welcomed as a very worthy successor to our late President, and will, we know, bring his enthusiasm to the work and uphold the high standard set by his predecessors.

During the 1950s Mr. Kahler and his Russian wife, Olga, were legally adopted by a very elderly French aristocrat who was heir to the title of Marquis de St. Innocent. Whe she died the Kahler's inherited the title, but they decided not use it publicly until Woodland's father died. From the early 1960s he was referred to in the IVU minutes as the Marquis de St. Innocent.

A Committee Meeting during the I.V.U. Congress. (from left): Mr Ian Vinkenborg, Dr Gordon Latto, the General Secretary, Mr Geo.Hiller, Dr Jean Nussbaum and the Marquis de St.Innocent.

held in Barcelona under the auspices of The Spanish Vegetarian Societies
MINUTES of the Business Sessions during the period

CHAIRMAN: Woodland Kahler Marquis de St Innocent (President of The IVU) presided at all Sessions.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS: The following were re-elected and elected:
President: Woodland Kahler Marquis de St Innocent (re-elected)

10 November 1963
The Ambassador Hotel, The Hague, Holland

Apologies and regrets at not being able to attend from The president, Marquis de St.Innocent; . . .


PRESENT The Marquis de St.Innocent (President) in the Chair, . . .


Marquis de St. Innocent and President of International Vegetarian Union and his wife, Mrs. Olga Kahler, were guests of honour at a Vegetarian Dinner organised by Mr. Madanlal Somafli, President, Bombay Vegetarian Society, at the Indo-German Cultural Society on 9th December [1964].

Mr. Madanlal Somani, while welcoming Mr. Kahler and other guests, said that India is very proud to have been associated with the International Vegetarian Union. After the 15th World Vegetarian Congress, which was attended by delegates from about twenty-three countries of the world, a sort of international brotherhood among vegetarians has been established, resulting in interchange of views, literature and contacts. This holds out a bright future for the country. Mr. J. N. Mankar, Vice-President of the International Vegetarian Union and Regional Secretary for India and Eastern countries, gave an account of the progress of the vegetarian movement in India and announced the programme for the forthcoming 18th World Vegetarian Congress, to be held at Swanwick, Derbyshire, England. He said he hoped that a delegation of about fifteen members may attend the Congress.

Mr. Kahier, while thanking the host, Mr. Madanlal Somani and other friends for their kind expression, said that today a change of diet is not the only problem, but that the real problem is cruelty versus compassion. If people still believe in compassion, cruelty has to be eliminated from the world as this alone can usher in an era of universal peace and brotherhood. He believed that ethical and spiritual considerations are by far stronger in the adoption of a vegetarian diet than other factors. He extended an invitation to all friends of vegetarianism to attend the 18th World Vegetarian Congress.

Miss Nalini Morarji proposed a vote of thanks.

- WOODLAND KAHLER, MARQUIS DE ST. INNOCENT, President: The International Vegetarian Union
( for the 1965 Congress)

19th World Vegetarian Congress 1967
Delhi/Bombay/Madras, India

Address of Welcome by Smt. Rukinini Devi Arundale.
It is indeed a great privilege for me to give you the warmest welcome on behalf of the President of the International Vegetarian Union - Woodland Kahler, Marquis de St. innocent, who unfortunately is not able to be with us

from the Nov/Dec 1969 issue of The British Vegetarian:
WOODLAND KAHLER DE ST. INNOCENT President of the International Vegetarian Union

21st World Vegetarian Congress 1971
The Hague, The Netherlands

An emotive tribute was paid to Mr. Woodland Kahler, Marquis de Saint Innocent, retiring President of the IVU. Mr. Kahler, who had announced his desire to retire several months before, was presented with an engraved bowl, for his invaluable services during his 10 years in charge of the IVU.

From The Vegetarian (UK) July 1974:

The Marquis and Marquise de St.Innocent seen with Pandit Nehru [picture as above from 1955], one of many fascinating illustrations to be found in Olga: The memoirs of Olga La Marquise de St.Innocent. Completed before her death in 1972, her fabulous life story is now published by Walker and Company, New York ($9.95*). One chapter describes their close association with India which began when Woodland Kahler Marquis de St.Innocent - known as Woody to vegetarians the world over - as vice-president of the International Vegetarian Union went to Bombay to organise the 1957 Congress. Woody, who received the Prani Mitra award from India's President in 1973, has acknowledged the great inspiration he has derived from both Mahatma Gandhi and Sadu Vaswani. Although the Olga memoirs are not yet generally available over here, a limited number were specially flown over for the May Meetings. A few copies are still available at a specially reduced price f £3.00* (plus 20p post and packing), and - thanks to Woody's generosity - the proceeds will go to the restoration fund for the London Vegetarian Centre. [extracts]

23rd IVU World Vegetarian Congress 1975
Orono, Maine, USA

right: No Congress would be complete without them - Woodland Kahler, Marquis de St.Innocent, and Shri Jayantilal N.Mankar, Secretary of the Bombay Humanitarian League. Woody, as he is known to one and all, is immediate Past President of the International Vegetarian Union and was Honorary Chairman of the 23rd World Vegetarian Congress. Mankar is IVU General Secretary for Asia and has long been a key figure in the Indian vegetarian movement. Both men are over 80, have been active in humanitarian work for a good portion of their lives - and neither shows any sign of flagging for a long while yet!

Minutes of the International Council meeting of I.V.U. at 09.30 hrs. on Tuesday 28th August 1979 in Room J.130 of the Edward Herbert Building of the University of Technolofy, Loughborough, Leicestershire, England, U.K.

Apologies for absence :- Mr Woodland Kahler;

25th World Vegetarian Congress 1979
Loughborough, England

Hon.Fellows . . . Past President for I.V.U. Woodland Kahler (USA)

Minutes of a meeting of the International Council of I.V.U. held at the Movenpick Hotel, Edwin-Scharff-Haus, Silcherstrasse 40, Neu-Ulm, West Germany, on Saturday 11th and Sunday,12th July, 1981.

The Hon. General Secretary announced the passing of Mr Woodland Kahler, former President of I.V.U.,

Minutes of a meeting of the International Council of I.V.U. held at the Edwin Scharff-Haus, Neu-Elm, West Germany, 23rd July,1982

It was agreed to hold a period of silence at the beginning of the congress business session in memory of Woodland Kahler, former president of I.V.U., Dr Bichard St Barbe Baker of the Men of the Trees and of others Who had died since the last Congress.

26th World Vegetarian Congress 1982
Neu-Ulm, West Germany

The Hon. General Secretary informed the meeting that since the last World Congress Woodland Kahler (former President of I.V.U.), . . . had died. Participants stood for a short period in their memory.

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