Adele Duttweiler-Bertschi

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Gottlieb and Adele Duttweiler in 1913
Adele Duttweiler-Bertschi

Adele Duttweiler-Bertschi (born December 29, 1892 in Horgen ; † May 27, 1990 in Rüschlikon ) had been the wife of Migros founder and politician Gottlieb Duttweiler since 1913 .


Their ancestors came from Ammerswil in the canton of Aargau . Father Samuel Bertschi (1821–1901) emigrated to the USA in the 1860s , where he set up a ribbon weaving business with 250 workers. After the death of his first wife, he sold the factory and returned to Switzerland wealthy. In 1882 he married Maria Antille, 40 years his junior, from Saint-Luc in the canton of Valais . They settled in Horgen and had six children together, three of whom died in childhood. One son and two daughters survived. When Adele was born, the father was already 71 years old; he died when she was eight years old.

After elementary school in Horgen, Adele completed the then obligatory Welschland year for young women. She then worked at the ETH Zurich , where she worked in the seed control center. She commuted to work by train from Horgen to Zurich every day. On one of these trips in 1911 she met the four-year-old businessman Gottlieb Duttweiler from Rüschlikon . For a long time she was dismissive of his advances, but he stubbornly sought her favor. The wedding finally took place on March 29, 1913 in the Reformed Church in Horgen . "This is the beginning of the completely unusual, almost half a century long living and working community of two people, whose work left a lasting mark on Switzerland in the twentieth century."

Adele Duttweiler-Bertschi was her husband's partner and a strong woman in the background who had a decisive influence on his career. In July 1923, the childless couple traveled to Brazil , where the husband wanted to collect credits that were still outstanding after the liquidation of his company Pfister & Duttweiler . On the spur of the moment, he bought a fazenda in the state of São Paulo to try his hand at becoming a farmer. From the start, Adele felt unwell, fell ill and lost a lot of weight. In February 1924 the couple returned to Zurich . There a doctor found that the hot, humid climate and the unfamiliar diet had had a negative effect on Adele's red blood cells; in the longer term there would have been a decomposition of the blood. In retrospect, this event turned out to be a fortunate coincidence, because Gottlieb soon had the idea of setting up a retail business. He promised her: "If this venture doesn't succeed, I won't start anything new." In 1925 Migros was founded , which over the decades has developed into the market leader. Adele was her husband's most important advisor and he discussed all strategic decisions with her before making a final decision.

When Gottlieb Duttweiler announced his intention to convert Migros into a cooperative in 1940 , they expressly supported him and did not allow the directors to change their minds, who wanted to dissuade him from his plan. In doing so, in a sense, she consented to her own disinheritance. It only imposed the condition that one of the production companies, GD Produktion AG in Basel , remained in his possession for security reasons. On December 29, 1950, Gottlieb and Adele Duttweiler published 15 jointly developed theses. As a kind of ideal legacy, they laid down the intellectual goals and moral values ​​of Migros. Two days earlier, the couple had founded the Gottlieb and Adele Duttweiler Foundation , which, especially after the death of its founders, will work to ensure “that the goals we set out to establish the Migros cooperatives are preserved and pursued”. Among other things, it is intended to "support all efforts which, in the spirit and spirit of the founders, are based on the free development of people in a liberal but socially responsible democratic economy".

After her husband's death in 1962, she remained an authority in the Migros Cooperative; all the directors came to her for advice. As president of the Gottlieb and Adele Duttweiler Foundation , she watched over the adherence to the ideas of the donors until 1983. When she died in 1990, the Migros family lost its “mother figure”.


Adele Duttweiler-Bertschi was made an honorary citizen by her community in Rüschlikon. A foundation named after her awards the Adele Duttweiler Prize every two years to people and organizations that are particularly committed to social or educational issues. The cargo ship Adele of Reederei Zürich AG was named after her, later it was renamed Sunadele. A cultivated rose with an orange color also bears her name; it can be found in the orange garden next to the park im Grüene in Rüschlikon.


  • Curt Riess : Gottlieb Duttweiler - a biography by Curt Riess . Europa Verlag, Zurich 2011, ISBN 978-3-905811-32-2 (new edition of the book from 1958, published by Wegner Hamburg and Arche-Verlag Zurich, with a foreword by Karl Lüönd ).
  • Alfred A. Häsler : Adele Duttweiler-Bertschi. A century of life. Edition M, Zurich 1992.
  • Alfred A. Häsler: The Migros Adventure. The 60 year old idea . Ed .: Federation of Migros Cooperatives. Migros Presse, Zurich 1985.

Web links

Commons : Adele Duttweiler  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Häsler: The Migros Adventure. P. 31.
  2. ^ Häsler: The Migros Adventure. P. 30.
  3. ^ Häsler: Adele Duttweiler-Bertschi. A century of life. Zurich 1992.
  4. ^ Häsler: The Migros Adventure. P. 35.
  5. ^ Riess: Gottlieb Duttweiler. Pp. 66-68.
  6. ^ Häsler: The Migros Adventure. P. 37.
  7. ^ Riess: Gottlieb Duttweiler. Pp. 258-259.
  8. ^ The 15 theses of Gottlieb and Adele Duttweiler. Migros , accessed on October 8, 2019 .
  9. ^ Häsler: The Migros Adventure. P. 251.
  10. ^ Migros -Genossenschafts-Bund (Ed.): Chronicle of Migros 1925–2012 - Portrait of a dynamic company . Zurich 2013, p. 73 ( online ).
  11. Alfred Häsler, Adele Duttweiler Biography 1992 (foreword),
  12. Pierre Wüthrich: mother of Migros . Migros Magazin 10, Zurich March 6, 2017, pages 45–47