Alfred Hassler

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Alfred Hassler
Born 1910
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Died June 5, 1991(1991-06-05) (aged 80–81)
Good Samaritan Hospital
Suffern, New York
Education Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute
Columbia University
Occupation author, anti-war activist
Spouse(s) Dorothy

Alfred Hassler (1910–1991) was an anti-war author and activist, active during World War II and the Vietnam War. He worked with the U.S. branch of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR USA), a peace and social justice organization, from 1942–1974.

Biography[edit]

Early life and education[edit]

Hassler was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania in the United States. He grew up in New York and was educated at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. He studied night classes in journalism at Columbia University.

Career and anti-war activism[edit]

He worked as a journalist at the Leader-Observer in Queens and then American Baptist Publications in Philadelphia.

In 1942, Alfred Hassler became the editor of a pacifist journal called Fellowship published by FOR USA. He was imprisoned for his stance as a conscientious objector during World War II. While imprisoned, he wrote a book, Diary of a Self-Made Convict. He authored several anti-war books and articles (and co-authored the 1957 advocacy comic book Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story, published by FOR USA).

In 1958, Hassler became executive secretary of FOR USA.[1] Hassler led FOR USA delegations to Vietnam in 1965 and 1967, which let to his collaboration and friendship of Thích Nhất Hạnh.[2] In 1969, Hassler founded the Dai Dong Project, which linked war, environmental issues and poverty, and he became the president of the International Confederation for Disarmament and Peace. In his 1970 book, Saigon, U.S.A.[3], Hassler supported the Vietnamese Buddhists, arguing they could form a nonviolent "Third Force" for peace independent of both the Saigon and Hanoi governments.[2]

Hassler retired from his position with FOR USA in 1974, and with his wife Dorothy founded a retirement community in southern Spain, Almeria. In the 1980s he returned to New York.

Death[edit]

Hassler died of cancer on June 5, 1991, at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, New York at the age of 81.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

In 2013, Hassler, along with Thich Nhat Hanh and Sister Chan Khong, became the subject of a comic book and animated feature documentary film entitled The Secret of The 5 Powers.[5][6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Peoples congress - Registry of World Citizens
  2. ^ a b Mary Hershberger, Traveling to Vietnam: American Peace Activists and the War. Syracuse University Press, 1998. ISBN 081560517X, (p.21, 157)
  3. ^ Hassler, Alfred (1970). Saigon, U.S.A. New York, NY: R. W. Baron. 
  4. ^ Lifelong Pacifist And Environmentalist, Dies at 81 - New York Times
  5. ^ http://www.peaceisthewayfilms.com
  6. ^ Sperry, Rod Meade (May 2013), "3 Heroes, 5 Powers", Shambhala Sun, 21 (5): 68–73