Ernst Nobs

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Ernst Nobs

Ernst Nobs (born July 14, 1886 in Seedorf ; † March 13, 1957 in Meilen ) was a Swiss politician ( SP ) from the canton of Zurich . As a Federal Councilor he was head of the finance department and once held the office of Federal President . In 1943 he was the first social democrat ever to be elected to the state government.


Growing up in Grindelwald as the son of a master tailor , Ernst Nobs was originally a teacher in Wynau and Ostermundigen (1906–1912), then a journalist. From 1912 he worked as an editor for various party newspapers of the SP, the "Free Central Switzerland" (Lucerne) and the Volksstimme in St. Gallen. In 1915 he became editor-in-chief of the largest social democratic daily newspaper “ Volksrecht ” in Zurich . In 1916 Nobs was elected to the Grand City Council of Zurich for the SP, of which he was a member until 1933.

Listening record of a telephone conversation between Robert Grimm and Ernst Nobs on November 8, 1918

On November 8, 1918, in the run-up to the state strike , telephone conversations between Robert Grimm and Ernst Nobs, as well as other parties involved, were tapped explosively . In 1919 he was sentenced to imprisonment by a military tribunal in connection with the state strike, and in the same year he was also a member of the National Council. After he left the city council of Zurich in 1933, Nobs was elected to the government council of the canton of Zurich in 1935. He gave up this office in 1942 when he was elected to succeed Emil Klöti as Mayor of Zurich.

After the National Council elections in autumn 1943, the SP became the strongest faction in parliament and, following the announced resignation of Ernst Wetter, raised a claim to the vacant seat of the FDP . On December 15, 1943, Ernst Nobs was elected to the Federal Council as the first Social Democrat in the first ballot.

On January 1, 1944, Nobs took over the Federal Finance and Customs Department from his predecessor . For reasons of age, he announced his resignation on November 13, 1951, effective December 31, 1951. He was Vice President of the Federal Council in 1948 and Federal President in 1949 . Its federal financial reform failed in 1950.

Ernst Nobs supported the renowned German women's rights activist and sex reformer Helene Stöcker and also stood by her side during her exile in Switzerland.

Ernst-Nobs-Platz, Zurich

On December 17, 2003, the city of Zurich renamed the former Stauffacherplatz to Ernst-Nobs-Platz .

He found his final resting place in the Manegg cemetery in Zurich .

Election results in the Federal Assembly

  • 1943: Election to the Federal Council with 122 votes (absolute majority: 91 votes)
  • 1947: Re-election as Federal Council with 137 votes (absolute majority: 81 votes)
  • 1947: Elected Vice President of the Federal Council with 187 votes (absolute majority: 96 votes)
  • 1948: Election to the Federal President with 192 votes (absolute majority: 99 votes)


Web links

Commons : Ernst Nobs  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Historical Archives of the (Swiss) PTT. Retrieved August 25, 2018 .
  2. Helene Stöcker: Memoirs , ed. by Reinhold Lütgemeier-Davin u. Kerstin Wolff. Böhlau, Cologne 2015, p. 266.
  3. The Ernst-Nobs-Platz. In: Retrieved February 17, 2018 .
predecessor Office successor
Serious weather Member of the Swiss Federal Council
1944 - 1951
Max Weber
Emil Klöti Mayor of Zurich
Adolf Lüchinger