AV Welfen Zurich

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Circle of the AV Welfen
Description of the connection
Location: Zurich
Schools: University of Zurich
ETH Zurich
Zurich universities of applied sciences
Founding: November 8, 1921 in Zurich
Association: Swiss student association
Abbreviation: WE!
Motto: Nec timere nec terrere!
Colours: Colors of the AV Guelphs
Members: 379 (as of December 2009)
Internet presence: www.avwelfen.ch/

The Academic Association Welfen (AV Welfen) is a student association founded in Zurich in 1921 , which belongs to the largest association of academics in Switzerland, the Swiss Student Association (SchwStV). According to its own information, the association is one of the associations with the largest number of members in Switzerland, consisting of former and active students from Zurich universities ( university , ETH , technical colleges ) (as of 2009) .


Environment and foundation

The Academic Association Welfen was founded on November 8, 1921 in the Scheuchzerstube by five members of the Academic Association Fryburgia and two members of the Struthonia High School Association. It was created in the course of the reform movement within the Swiss Student Union and as such marks the end of a long struggle for a reform section in Zurich.

The reform of the Swiss student association

In contrast to most of the other umbrella organizations of student associations, which were founded as an amalgamation of their member associations, the Swiss Student Association was founded as an umbrella association from the start. It was the task of a member of the Swiss Student Union to join an association of the same umbrella organization at the new place of study after the start of a course or to found a new section in the absence of one. In the course of time and with the growth of the club as a whole (i.e. Schw StV), the sections became stronger and more independent and the influence of the club as a whole decreased. Customs and utensils were adopted from German connections in particular , but the introduction of a comment to the entire association was tacitly not dealt with at the General Assembly in 1878 after it had been worked out - it was left to the sections to act out such a comment .

The drinking habits many found un-Swiss, particularly the elaborate pomp , the time-consuming Couleur student life and the associated alcohol consumption was from 1883 increasingly criticized: So the Swiss called bishops in a Repentance mandate 1,883 students for moderation in alcohol consumption and demanded the abolition of the drinking coercion. In 1897, the former Central President (aCP) deMontenach demanded the reform of the association:

"[for de Montenach] the baroque exterior of the club is an abomination, luxury is the student wardrobe,
Waste the heavy silk of the banners, the appearance of the public appearance, more tiresome
Ballast of the Kommers "

At the general assembly in Zug in 1916 , also under the influence of the First World War , the compulsory drinking was abolished. However, the mainly addressed German-speaking university connections - the later "block connections" - did not adhere to the Zug resolutions. The Central Committee (CC) of the SchwStV then allowed the formation of sections with reduced operations in the association year 1916/17.

The reform in Zurich

In a report in the SchwStV's official association magazine MONTIESROSEN (today: Civitas), the reform association AV Berchtoldia , founded in Bern in 1917, pointed out that more than 20 StVer (members of the Schw StV) stayed away from the association in Zurich. A survey in the Altherrenverband (AHV) Turicia -Kyburger, the then existing Zurich StV connections, showed:

  • Do you agree to the establishment of so-called reform associations? j: 24, n: 57, e: 4
  • Do you agree to the formation of non-colored connections in the SchwStV? j: 23, n: 62, e: 0

On November 8, 1921, 7 StVer (5 Fryburger, 2 Struthonen) met to discuss the establishment of a section of the SchwStV in Zurich. The initiator is Johann Baptist Manser, later Prof. Dr. med et lic. iur, who makes himself available as the first senior . On November 15, 26 men commit to membership, the first provisional committee is elected, and three members are to draw up statutes. The program is:

  • Reduction: Away with the financial overload, away with the compulsion to drink, with the exaggerated comment.
  • Development: Promotion of social life inwards, cultivation of a cordial, informal cosiness through chants and games, cultivation of a true friendship, more contact with the people, activity in the charitable area, in the Vinzenzverein.

After the actual establishment, the young association asked to join the association as a whole. While a welcome from the Bern reform association Berchtoldia triggers storms of enthusiasm, the Freiburg reform association AV Fryburgia obliges its members to join the Kyburgers by resolution. An initial submission to the Central Committee (CC) is rejected in the same year (but not yet finally). At a meeting in the New Year - on January 4, 1922 in Zurich, the CC refused the application of the 3 committed representatives of the new connection and decided in favor of the Zurich block - the AV Turicia and the AKV Kyburger. The new association cannot be deterred, it chooses its name in February: Academic Association Welfen, modeled on the noble family of Welfs .
The members mobilize their friends on all sides, especially with the Berchtolders, the Fryburgia, which is now on their side, and the GV Struthonia. At another meeting in July, the opposites of bloc and reform collide again, and no agreement is reached. The block connections want to allow non-colored connections in the whole association, but reject the reform sections as a failed experiment. The reform demands nothing less than their recognition and admission to the Swiss Student Union. After heated debates at the General Assembly in Lucerne in 1922 , the assembly passed the resolution to allow the establishment of a colored association with reduced commentary on the Zurich square. In the same year the AV Welfen received recognition from the rector of the University of Zurich .

In 1923 the Guelphs hold a ball which, in return, brings them a carved chair for the senior citizen - sponsored by the women of the association, the wives and friends of the members. The Guelph Ball, already in its first semester, is met with critics in theological circles. A flag fund is raised, sashes are bought for the AGM. The old gentlemen's association (AHV), founded in 1925, in which members are accepted after graduation, donates the first flice to the young association for the flag consecration . Whenever such a connection tool is introduced, a great discussion is held as to whether this is a betrayal of the principles. When the founder, Johann Baptist Manser, joined the old gentlemen's association in 1927, he warns that the continuation of the connection is by no means secured, that one must make every effort to ensure that their raison d'etre, the ideals of the founders, do not become illusory.

The chaos of war and separation

At the time when the bloc and reform on the square in Zurich came together at the beginning of the 1930s, a new, politically explosive situation in Europe came for the members of the young association, which worsened the longer it went. The signs of the times do not leave the Guelphs unscathed, as some decisions and events show. On May 23, 1933, a resolution was passed against the CC's ban on entry into the fronts , which was withdrawn just under a month later. On St. Nicholas Day 1933, a member spoke about "Aryan race and youth problems", while at the same time the question of color was brought to the fore again - some members expressed concerns about the usual wearing of the connecting colors at the university in the financially difficult times as a result of the global economic crisis . Pomp and waste are still associated with the color in people's minds. Nevertheless, the prevailing opinion is that Couleur is a political and religious creed precisely because of the conditions in Germany and Austria.

While the Welfs can settle their differences with the Turicians and Kyburgers - they take part in the 75th anniversary of the Turicia in 1935, and two years later in the 25th anniversary of the Kyburgers - the issues in the connection are becoming more and more politically explosive. In May 1936 there was a lecture on "active and passive air defense", at the end of the same year five on "Becoming, essence, forms, tactics and defense of Bolshevism ". One member speaks about "national renewal", notes a "failure of the systemic government" and speaks of a "tight organizational consolidation of all forces willing to build up, especially the nationally minded youth".

Number of members of the AV Welfen 1921–1946

The willingness to get involved is also evident in the fact that the Guelphs provide their first central president in 1937, Alexander Bannwart v / o Mephi, and Theo Keller v / o Schmacht, a member of the Association of Honorary Members (EMV). Schmacht wants to endeavor, according to his inaugural address, "to get all of our honorary members to do their best and as possible so that our covenant never experiences hours of humiliation and shame [...] like our sister associations in the north and east [ ...] had to experience 1933 and 1938 ". He speaks of the ban of the Austrian Cartel Association and the self-dissolution of the German Cartel Association under the pressure of the circumstances.

After the CC recognized the newly established reform association AV Froburger in Basel in 1939 , the Welfs uncompromisingly supported the new association when they were admitted to the 1940 general assembly in Freiburg. The matter occupied the convents of the Guelphs for years. While Switzerland is now also affected by the war, the connection with its drafted members at the front tries to keep in touch through letters. The question of colors intensified after the decision to wear colors only for tribes and official occasions in November 1939, the decision was revised again in January 1940. The statement "The steel helmets at the front, the hat in the hinterland" falls. There is no celebration of the 20th anniversary. While mobilizations sometimes force changes in the committees, the connection is very popular. In 1945 the Welfs had 30 foxes , as the new members were called, while Aktivitas had 80 members in 1946.

The association deals intensively with the problem that too large numbers of members entail and comes to the conclusion that the association should be shared. The old gentlemen's association is in favor of a division of the connection - a division of the old man's association is rejected. On April 26, 1946, the division of the connection was definitely decided - the connection between Neu-Welfen was born, the old rulers remained together for the time being, and a cartel with cartel senior was created. The cartel agreement provides for a joint senior gentlemen's association, close cooperation and joint events. The admission of new members will be made more difficult in the future; one can afford to turn down interested parties and also, for example, the boys 'exams to conclude the foxes' time, in 1947 such a fire week is introduced.

The German and Austrian connections of the sister associations ÖCV and CV had to reactivate after the Second World War . The Swiss Student Union wanted to lend a hand and allocated individual friendship connections to the member connections. In 1946 he came into close contact with the three Viennese connections Franco-Bavaria, Norica and the Babenbergers. This friendship is highly valued, contacts are still available today and the senior of the Guelphs also wears the ties of friendship - at Franco-Bavaria he even has the right to participate in the boys' convention.

The cartel is not supposed to last long. Although Welfen and Neu-Welfen have come together for the election of Robert Vögeli v / o Pips as the central president of the SchwStV, there is a huge internal crisis. On December 14, 1952, the Palmhof cooperative was founded, which was supposed to secure the local pub for the connection and was granted the right to purchase the property. The cartel problem, however, is not settling. The regular bar and the old gentlemen's association are burdened too much by two connections. While the regular establishment is being rebuilt and both connections move into a replacement establishment, Welfen and Neuwelfen parted ways on July 10, 1955; the cartel is dissolved, the old rulers are separated.

The influence of the 1968 movement, the question of women, AV Welfen today

Two batches of the AV Welfen (2009)

At the beginning of the 1960s, the Welfs again had over 80 members, again there was talk of a separation, but discussions continued. In December 1960, out of 13 interested parties, only 10 were accepted, one was active and the Welfs provided their third central president, Klaus Hug v / o Chlötzli. In 1961 the reform is officially dissolved and it sees its goals as achieved. In their place, the Bern Group was created , in favor of which the Guelphs' attempt to revive the reform was abandoned. The Berne Group, which had its most influential time in the 1970s, was disbanded in 1981 due to a lack of interest in the individual associations as a whole. In 1983 a reform group was founded again , consisting of the members of the first and second reform, which was dissolved again in 1993. The main aim of these groups was to create a counterpoint to the tightly organized block as a whole.

The Welfs advocate the establishment of the AV Orion in Zurich and its inclusion in the general association, which from 1968 also opens its doors to women. There are also signs of change in the Guelphs themselves; Only in 1962 did they introduce a (drinking) commentary in place of the previous etiquette with new statutes and rules of procedure, which was only abolished in the spring of 1963 after fierce resistance from the old rulers. The question of color was only decided shortly afterwards: According to the decision, from 1966 onwards, wearing a hat and ribbon is reserved for Welfen events, not at the university. From 1978, votes for the acceptance of women are also loud among the Guelphs. After some differences with the Swiss Student Union, especially when electing Welfen to the Central Committee, the members largely withdrew from the entire club. From 1965 to 2004 no Guelph was available for an office in the Central Committee, although the Guelphs are always one of the connections with the largest number of members. This often brings her little sympathy in the overall club, especially in the block.

Although membership numbers are always high, fraternities weren't exactly popular in the 1970s and 1980s. The AV Orion was temporarily suspended in the early 1990s after no more new members were found, and like the other Zurich connections, the Welfs were fighting for members. The number of members is falling steadily; Instead of high requirements for members, there are increasing questions about the added value of association membership. Internally, too, there is a struggle for committed members; in 1992, with the slogan "more old men to the tribe", an attempt was made to liven up contact between old men and active members. In 1993 the Welfen opened their doors to the first two female members. The new female members are full members from the start. No statutes need to be changed, the Guelph term also applies to female members. 1996 the first woman is elected to the office of senior.

On May 3rd, 2002 the Palmhof Foundation was established. It takes the place of the Palmhof cooperative, with the aim of maintaining the Guelph houses, providing affordable housing for students and securing the Guelph tribe for the Guelphs in the future.

Club characteristics of the AV Welfen


The AV Welfen are divided into two independent associations based in Zurich, the Academic Association of Welfen and the Old Men Association of Welfen . Statutes, rules of procedure and the customary book regulate the life of the association. Membership conditions are for Aktivitas to be a registered student at a Zurich university - people closely related to the connection can be accepted as interns. After completing the active period, it is possible to transfer to the old man's association.

There is also the Palmhof Foundation , which manages the Welfenhäuser at Universitätstrasse 21 and 23. The AV Welfen are named in the foundation's purpose. There is also the Bursa amicitiae sacrae foundation , which can help Guelphs in need.


Circle of the AV Welfen

The motto of the Guelphs is: "Nec timere nec terrere" (Latin: neither fear nor frighten). Since the founders shook existing forms in the course of the reform movement in the Swiss Student Union, the aim was to express their convictions through the motto. You are not afraid of others or of breaking new ground, but you also don't want to scare anyone.


The Welfenzirkel is a couleur student monogram of 4 letters, V, C, F, W, and a call sign.
These letters stand for VIVANT CRESCANT FLOREANTQUE WELFEN (The Welfen may live, grow and prosper).
The callsign stands for IN AETERNUM and means that the connection is still active, i.e. still has active students in its ranks.
The stylized W on the left stands for the name of the compound, Welfen.
The stylized V and C on the right stand for VIVANT (live) and CRESCANT (grow).
The middle part forms a stylized F and stands for FLOREANT (bloom or flourish).

Known members (selection)

  • Raymund Breu, CFO Novartis
  • Gion Condrau (1919–2006), psychiatrist, doctor and psychotherapist, former National Councilor
  • Eugen David (* 1945), former member of the Council of States
  • Bruno Frick (* 1953), former member of the Council of States
  • Kurt Furgler (1924–2008), former Federal Councilor
  • Thomas Stocker (* 1959), professor, climate researcher and IPCC member
  • Pierin Vincenz (* 1956), manager


  • Sébastien Grüter: Histoire de la Société des Étudiants Suisses . Imprimerie de l'Œuvre de Saint-Paul, Friborg, 1916
  • Urs Altermatt , Schweizerischer Studentenverein (Ed.): To dare the huge battle with this time ... Swiss Student Association 1841-1991 . Maihof-Verlag, Lucerne, 1993, ISBN 3-9520027-2-0
  • Max Imfeld, Roy Maybud, Placidus Plattner, David Wenger: The little giant fight . Thur Verlag Markus Egli, Jonschwil 2002
  • Dr. phil Hugo Hungerbühler: Welfen Zurich 50 Years 1921-1971 - Festschrift . Offizin Ostschweiz AG, St. Gallen 1971

Web links

Commons : AV Welfen  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. The Little Giant Fight: p. 12f
  2. Grüter Histoire de la Société des Étudiants Suisses: p. 379
  3. 50 Years of Welfen Zurich - Festschrift pp. 13–35
  4. ^ Statutes ( Memento from August 12, 2015 in the Internet Archive )