Felix Calonder

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Felix Calonder

Felix Louis Calonder (born December 7, 1863 in Scuol ; † June 14, 1952 in Zurich ; resident in Trin ) was a Swiss lawyer and politician ( FDP ). For more than two decades he was a member of the Grand Council of the Canton of Graubünden , from 1899 he was a member of the Council of States . In 1913 he was the first Romanian to be elected to the Federal Council. As such he was interior and foreign minister and once held the office ofFederal President . After his resignation in 1920 he worked for the League of Nations .


Career and canton politics

He was the son of Johann Calonder and Ottilia Mani. He spent the first years of his life in Scuol, where his father worked as a builder. In 1869 the family moved back to Trin , where Calonder attended school. From 1878 he graduated from the Chur Cantonal School , which he left after three years without a degree. He worked as a businessman at home and abroad and completed his high school diploma in Zurich . From 1885 he studied law in Zurich, Munich , Paris and Bern , and in 1889 received his doctorate from Carl Hilty with a dissertation on Swiss neutrality. Calonder was a member of the Zofingia and had the rank of major in the army . In Chur , after completing his studies, he initially worked as a clerk at the cantonal court until he became self-employed in 1891 and founded his own law firm with partners. A year later he married Ursulina Walther, with whom he had three children.

Calonder's political career began in 1891 with the election of a member of the Trins district in the Grand Council of the Canton of Graubünden, and from 1893 he represented the Chur district . Also in 1893 he entered the government council elections without success . In 1894 he was a co-founder of the FDP Graubünden and, as party president, built up the structures of the new party, which after a short time celebrated considerable success and rose to become the strongest political force in the canton. In 1896 and 1899 he presided over the Grand Council, of which he was a member until 1913.

Federal politics

In 1899 Calonder was also elected to the Council of States , mainly because of his commitment to railroad construction. In 1902 he was a co-founder of the International Splügen Committee, which unsuccessfully promoted the construction of a transalpine transit route on the Splügen route . In parliament, Calonder campaigned for federal subsidies for the narrow-gauge network of the Rhaetian Railway . From 1904 he was a member of the Council of States commission that drafted the civil code . In 1908 he conducted negotiations with the Grand Duchy of Baden about the use of the High Rhine . In 1911/12 he was President of the Council of States , and from 1898 to 1913 he was a member of the Central Committee of the Swiss FDP.

After the death of Adolf Deucher in July 1912, a successor had to be elected in the Federal Council. In the parliamentary group's internal area code of the FDP, Calonder was defeated in the third round by the Aargau Council of States Edmund Schulthess with 41 to 52 votes. The Bündner press did not approve of this defeat and called for a boycott of the federal celebration . In May 1913 Federal Councilor Louis Perrier died surprisingly after only 13 months in office. On June 12, 1913, the Federal Assembly of Calonder made him Perrier's successor, with 151 of 199 valid votes in the first ballot. The Valais State Councilor Arthur Couchepin received eleven votes, and various other people received 37 votes. The parliamentarians from French- speaking Switzerland had not been able to agree on a candidate, so that the traditional second Federal Council seat for French speakers temporarily went to the Romansh minority. In addition, the canton of Graubünden was again represented in the state government 30 years after Simeon Bavier .

Federal Council

On July 21, 1913, Calonder took over the Department of the Interior from his deceased predecessor and party colleague . One of Calonder's first submissions concerned the establishment of the Swiss National Park in 1914. The law on the utilization of water power, which was promoted by its predecessors, was passed in parliament in 1916 after several years of deliberation. When he was elected Federal President in 1918, he took over the management of the Political Department . His presidential year was overshadowed by tensions between German-speaking and French -speaking Switzerland and the financial and economic hardship of the population in the last year of the First World War . In August he entered into negotiations with the Olten Action Committee for the first time . Since this was unsuccessful, the state strike began on November 11, 1918 . A day later, Calonder, on behalf of the entire Federal Council, ultimately called for the strike to be ended and several cities were militarily occupied. The strike finally ended after three days. Since Gustave Ador wanted to keep his previous department as the next Federal President, the Federal Council created the legal basis that allowed Calonder an additional year in office in the Political Department without the presidency.

While Switzerland had broken off relations with the Soviet Union , in 1919 it took over the diplomatic representation of Liechtenstein abroad. In the same year, Calonder was mainly concerned with joining the League of Nations . He commissioned studies that dealt with questions of neutrality policy and international law when participating in this international organization. His only trip abroad took him to Paris to attend the conference of the victorious powers with the neutral states. In order to enable Switzerland to join the League of Nations, he developed the idea of ​​“differential neutrality”. Parliament approved membership in November 1919, and the people also approved on May 16, 1920. Calonder expressly supported the connection of Vorarlberg to Switzerland after over 80% of the population there had spoken out in favor . Edmund Schulthess and Giuseppe Motta , however, forced Calonder to reject possible accession negotiations for economic and linguistic reasons.

Calonder's role during the national strike and his advocacy of the League of Nations earned him opposition from the Social Democrats and those in favor of absolute neutrality. In the general election on December 11, 1919, he achieved the second-worst result of all seven federal councilors. Five days after his re-election, he asked for a leave of absence. On January 21, 1920, Calonder announced his resignation for health reasons, without (as originally planned) having taken over the Federal Department of Justice and Police . The Federal Assembly accepted his resignation on February 12, 1920 and elected Heinrich Häberlin as his successor.

further activities

After almost six and a half years of government activity at the federal level, Calonder took over international tasks at the League of Nations from 1920 . He was involved in the settlement of the dispute over the Swedish-speaking Åland Islands in Finnish territory and, from 1922 to 1937 , he was very committed to the Joint Commission for Upper Silesia in Katowice , which was supposed to ensure compliance with the German-Polish Agreement on Upper Silesia . After the transfer of power to the National Socialists in 1933, they had to suspend the anti-Semitic measures in Upper Silesia following the Bernheim petition , and Calonder dealt with the complaints. From 1924 to 1937 he lived in Neudeck Castle near Świerklaniec . He then lived in Zurich , where he worked as a legal advisor.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Simonett: Das Bundesratlexikon. P. 282.
  2. Simonett: Das Bundesratlexikon. Pp. 282-283.
  3. Simonett: Das Bundesratlexikon. P. 283.
  4. Simonett: Das Bundesratlexikon. Pp. 283-285.
  5. Simonett: Das Bundesratlexikon. P. 285.
  6. Simonett: Das Bundesratlexikon. Pp. 285, 287.
  7. See German-Polish agreement on Upper Silesia. (Upper Silesia Agreement, OSA) of May 15, 1922, In: Reichsgesetzblatt . 1922, part II, p. 238ff.
  8. Philipp Caspar Mohr: No right to interfere? The political and international legal reaction of Great Britain to Hitler's 'seizure of power' and the ensuing persecution of the Jews. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2002, ISBN 3-16-147610-7 , p. 139.
  9. Kurt Jacob Ball-Kaduri : The life of the Jews in Germany in 1933: a time report . Frankfurt a. M.: European Verl.-Anst. 1963, pp. 185-199.
  10. Simonett: Das Bundesratlexikon. P. 287.
predecessor Office successor
Louis Perrier Member of the Swiss Federal Council
Heinrich Häberlin