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Ivo Pilar — First President of the Vegetarian Society. The Beginnings of the First Organised Vegetarian Movement in Croatia

Institute of Social Sciences IVO PILAR
Publication Date
  • Law
  • Medicine


This paper presents the beginnings of the vegetarian movement in not only Zagreb but also in a much wider region. Vegetarianism has been practised in different societies and cultures all throughout human history; following the growth of the middle-class in the 19th century, it became one of the social movements. The first modern vegetarian society was founded in 1847 in England. At the end of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century the number of vegetarian society members increased and their ideas steadfastly spread all around Europe and the world. The first ever mention of vegetarianism in Croatia was the “hygienic sketch” by dr. Lobmayer entitled Vegetarijanci (Vegetarians) published in Zagreb in 1886, and the first ever vegetarian society (Vegetarsko druπtvo / Vegetarian Society) was founded forty-two years later, in 1928, also in Zagreb. One of the reasons for a formal institution of this Society was the fact that the community did not share the same views and that their ideas were not widely accepted. The vegetarians, thus, organised themselves to overcome the problems they would encounter with joint forces. The Society existed for nineteen years — from 1928 to 1947. Pilar became a vegetarian for medical reasons already in his youth, most probably during his studies in Vienna. Upon his return to Zagreb and the founding of the Vegetarian Society he became its first president (1928-1929). Until his death in 1933 he remained one of its board members and their legal advisor. Based on his experience from Vienna and the regulations of the Vienna Vegetarian Society, he outlined the Society’s first regulations in collaboration with dr. Ivo Hengster, who was one of Pilar’s closest associates and who portrayed Pilar — in the speech he gave on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Society — as a role model to be looked up to by younger vegetarians.

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