The Danish Peace Academy
S A T Y A G R A H A
No. 38 (November 2003)
Information for members of the Gandhi Information Centre
Owing gratitude to my hosts Betty Nielsen and Holger Terp at Hvidovre (Denmark), a suburb of Copenhagen, I recollect an inspiring and interesting weekend in August this year. For decades, Holger Terp, who became member of our Center, has worked for Danish peace organisations and - as librarian and archivar - for the Danish Peace Academy. As a dedicated collector of rare books on Pacifism and Nonviolence he started a kind of alternative history writing which could be read in numerous articles under various keywords in his internet representation.
Together with Mr. Enuga S. Reddy from New York, the former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, who successfully campaigned for the abolition of the South African Aparthied system and whose personal webpages can be found on the official world wide web representation of the South African "African National Congress" (ACC), Holger Terp could collect the correspondences of Mahatma Gandhi with Scandinavians and publish these sources on the Internet after years of research. We now hope to document these correspondences of Mahatma Gandhi with his Danish contemporaries Anne Marie Petersen, Esther Faering (Menon) and Ellen Horup in cooperation with the editors and the Danish Peace Academy during the year 2005.
Great joy for me was the opportunity to correct the German language autobiographical articles of Kurt Singer whereafter a vivid correspondence followed with the book author and publisher Kurt Singer who is now living in California. Kurt Singer who as well as Holger Terp and Enuga S. Reddy became member in our Center and who signed the "Manifesto against conscription and the military system", was the first biographer of the German Nobel Peace Laureate Carl von Ossietzky. Kurt Singer had supported Ossietzky's daughter Rosalinda von Ossietzky-Palm during her first years in Swedish exile and organised the Swedish support committee to promote the Nobel Peace Prize for Carl von Ossietzky (1936, posthumously for 1935), the journalist and responsible chief-editor in charge of the Berlin weekly "Weltbühne" (World Stage) who was prisoner in a concentration camp by the German Nazis from 1933 to 1936.
In this context we remember the words which Carl von Ossietzky wrote as early as 1929 honouring 60-year-old Mahatma Gandhi (Weltbühne, 8 October 1929, no. 41, p. 569):
"The German perceptions of India still are rather vague. The average man only recognizes a multi-coloured land of fairy tales, where gods and temple dancers have company with each other. The educated ones occasionally say "Nirwana" taking this for a particularly refined drug, the more subtle eroticists have the "Kamasutra" on their bedside table.
But the India of today is a country which has been passing through a state of mighty social unrest and which from thousand and one night of dreams is stepping into the relentless daylight of modern struggle for emancipation. And India's great guide and leader is Mahatma Gandhi, a reformer and revolutionary in rank of Lenin and Sunyatsen, but one who does not trust in the bloody revolt, but in the power and force of Thought and Reason. Gandhi is not a a political man in the European meaning of the word. He is more. He is the secret power which yet without office and party however rules everyone. He is the defender of the old and guide into the unknown, at the same time a teacher of wisdom and a master of the elementary school, thinker and practical expert, visionary dreamer and organiser of American standard.
In all his activities he but sets an example, whether he advocates sanitary reforms or whether he fights the age-old prejudice against the Pariahs or whether he silently enters the prison of the British.
The pathway from medieval times to modern times has become bloody and thorny for all peoples and nations. India can be counted lucky that her new law has not been imposed by a dictator, has not been roared by the mercilessly dictating command voice of an Asian Napoleon, but that her new law has been proclaimed by the gentle voice of Mahatma Gandhi."
On the occasion of Carl von Ossietzky's birthday (3 October) we have published the following Press Release:
"The first biographer of Nobel Peace Laureate Carl von Ossietzky (1936, posthumously for 1935), Mr. Kurt Singer (born in Vienna on 10 August 1911, residing at Goleta, California,USA) signed the "Manifesto against conscription and the military system" on 7 September 2003.- see http://home.snafu.de/mkgandhi/manifest.htm - He was instrumental in promoting the international Nobel Peace Prize campaign in favor of Hitler's prisoner in concentration camp, the journalist Carl von Ossietzky.(biography: Burger, Felix (d.i. Kurt Grossmann), Singer, Kurt (d.i. Kurt Deutsch): Carl von Ossietzky, Zurich 1937)".
"Press Information 20 October 2003:
To acknowledge and for publication we today draw your attention to
1) The Danish Peace Academy
... and the dedicated archivist and „webmaster“
2) Holger Terp
...and their online publication on:
3) Mahatma Gandhi and Nordic Countries
...collected by Holger Terp and
4) E.S.Reddy (UN Assistant Secretary-General from 1983 till 1985)
...as well as to the essay written by
5) Christian Bartolf
6) Tolstoy’s Legacy for Mankind: A Manifesto For Nonviolence
...as well as to Kurt Singer‘s activities to support Carl von Ossietzky
by publishing the first biography (1935):
7) „Carl von Ossietzky: The peace hero in the concentration camp“
8) „Carl von Ossietzky: Fredshelten i Koncentrationslejren“
Our distinguished members Holger Terp, E.S.Reddy, Kurt Singer signed the
"Manifesto against conscription and the military system"
(with the updated list of all signatories):
From Berlin-Tiergarten we wish you a peaceful end of the year,
Christian Bartolf (for the Chair)