Gilberte de Courgenay

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Gilberte de Courgenay on a painting by Vittini
The Hôtel de la Gare in Courgenay

Gilberte de Courgenay , actually Gilberte Montavon (born March 20, 1896 in Courgenay , † May 2, 1957 in Zurich ) was a Swiss waitress who became an idol of soldiers.


At the beginning of the First World War she was 18 years old and then worked during the war in her parents' Hôtel de la Gare in Courgenay. The village, located near the French border , became a military base; Gilberte entertained thousands of soldiers and officers and was enthusiastically revered by them. Hanns In der Gand made the song La petite Gilberte de Courgenay , written and composed by the Entlebuch military musicians Robert Lustenberger and Oskar Portmann, known in the winter of 1915/16 . This quickly became popular and so Gilberte became known throughout the country. After their wedding, she moved to Zurich. She died of cancer in 1957 and was buried in the Nordheim cemetery in Zurich.

In the service of intellectual national defense during the Second World War , Gilberte finally became the protagonist of a novel by Rudolf Bolo Maeglin (1939), a play and two films ( August Kerns Marguerite et les soldats from 1940 to 1941 and Franz Schnyder's Gilberte de Courgenay from 1941) to the patriotic cult figure.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Sound document from Fonoteca Svizzera, Lugano: