Igal Roodenko


Gay American peace activist Igal Roodenko played a part in protesting some of the 20th century’s most famous conflicts, from segregation to the Vietnam war. He was stationed with Civilian Public Service in lieu of military deployment during World War II, but his hunger strike and refusal to work in protest of government mail censorship led to his imprisonment; the resulting appeal became one of four to be heard by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled against him and his fellow litigants. Undaunted even after his prison term, he struck out on the Journey of Reconciliation where he was again arrested and awarded triple the sentence of his black counterparts because the judge objected to “Jews from New York” joining with black riders in solidarity.

Roodenko passed away in 1991 after decades spent with the War Resisters League and other pacifist organizations. An in-depth audio interview with Roodenko is archived here.

2 thoughts on “Igal Roodenko

  1. The peace movement was (and still is) full of LGBT – and WRL in particular. David McReynolds and Karl Bissinger were also on the staff of WRL with Igal – and Barbara Demming was also a prominent pacifist in the WRL circle. I met them in the early 80’s when I was active in the Women’s Pentagon Action and was trained by them. I brought my non-violence civil disobedience training skills with me to ACT UP in 1987.
    I think it is great that you selected Igal, he was an amazing guy.


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