Bent Andresen registered as a conscientious objector during WWII, and was sent to a Civilian Public Service in 1944. Andresen participated in a "guinea pig project" in which he and several other C.O.s lived in a refrigerated room for three months to test the impact of a high-protein diet on cold-weather conditions. He went AWOL in 1945 and was sentenced to two years in prison. Andreson was involved in various peace/justice groups throughout his lifetime.
Bent Andresen was born January 14, 1908 in Copenhagen, Denmark; his family later moved to Saskatchewan, to Minnesota in 1914, and then to the east coast. Andresen attended Columbia University in New York from 1932 to 1934, where he joined the Student League for Industrial Democracy and the Socialist Party. In 1936, he married Frances [Taddy] White. Andresen was a union organizer and worked for the Cooperative Movement until he registered as a conscientious objector during WWII. He was sent to CPS Camp 16 in Kane, Pennsylvania on March 10, 1944, where he worked for six months before being sent to Cornell University. There he participated in a "guinea pig project" in which he and several other COs lived in a refrigerated room for three months to test the impact of a high-protein diet on cold-weather conditions. After the experiment, he was sent to Government Camp 135 in Germfask, Michigan and later to Minersville, California. He was so appalled when the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 that he went AWOL in protest. He had 5,000 copies of a leaflet he wrote printed and he distributed them as he hitchhiked across the country to New York. He began a hunger strike and did not voluntarily drink or eat for eight months. After the first month he was sentenced to two years in prison; for seven months before he was released, he was force fed by a tube in his nose at a medical center for federal prisoners in Missouri.
After being released, Andresen returned to New York before moving to Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He worked at a variety of jobs -- he and his wife tried to start an intentional community with several other COs (it lasted for three years), he was a carpenter, a factory worker, and an administrative assistant to the Executive Director of the Central Committee of Conscientious Objectors . He later moved to Lambertsville, NJ, where he organized and ran a recycling program for 12 years for the city. He had joined the War Resisters League in 1932 and was involved with that organization for many years, including serving on the Executive Committee. He was an activist throughout his life, advocating for conservation and recycling, and protesting civil defense, the death penalty, and the nuclear arms race. He was a member of Common Cause, Solar Lobby, Ralph Nader's Public Citizens, Concern for Dying, and the American Civil Liberties Union, and was a hospice volunteer. He helped promote the Bucks County Peace Fair for twenty years.
Relatively late in life, Andresen became affiliated with the Religious Society of Friends and he retired to the Friends Village in Newtown, Pennsylvania, where he died on February 11, 1991.