Olten group

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The Olten group was an association of Swiss authors that existed from 1971 to 2002 and was named after the place where the first preparatory meetings were held, the small town of Olten in the canton of Solothurn .


In the Olten group, members of the Swiss Writers' Association (SSV) gathered who had left the association in 1970 because, in their opinion, it was dominated by reactionary forces. The external reason for the secession was the (anonymously) made by SSV President Maurice Zermatten and, in its anti-communist tendency, which branded all left intellectuals as “traitors”, the French translation of the official civil defense book , which in the spirit of the Cold War is to the population mutual spying and was distributed to all households. After Franck Jotterand discovered this “scandal”first appeared on October 27, 1969 in the Gazette de Lausanne a protest by 78 writers and professors from French-speaking Switzerland . After the board of the SSV Zermatten had unanimously expressed their full trust, Jotterand also sought contact with the German-speaking Swiss writer colleagues in order to jointly declare the resignation shortly before the regular general assembly of the SSV.

He found another 21 willing to leave: Peter Bichsel , Jeanlouis Cornuz , Walter Matthias Diggelmann , Friedrich Dürrenmatt , Ernst Eggimann , Jürg Federspiel , Dieter Fringeli , Max Frisch , Walter Gross , Vahé Godel , Ludwig Hohl , Peter Lehner , Kurt Marti , Adolf Muschg , Werner Schmidli , Jörg Steiner , Yves Velan , Walter Vogt , Otto F. Walter , Walter Weideli and Heinrich Wiesner .

However, not all SSV members had found out about the resignation. "Some subsequently followed the dissidents , others remained loyal to the SSV out of defiance and indignation that they had been ignored."

On April 25, 1971, the founding meeting finally took place in the bilingual Biel / Bienne . Anne Cuneo became the first president of the five-member board . The Bernese songwriter and lawyer Mani Matter had drafted the association's statutes ; they were approved at the general assembly on June 13th in Neuchâtel , where Hans Mühlethaler was also elected secretary. To the disappointment of many, neither Dürrenmatt nor Frisch (he followed only later) were persuaded to join the new club, and neither did Federspiel.

For the founding members of the Olten group, writing was inextricably linked with a politically binding citizenship. So the aim of realizing “a democratic socialist society” was subsequently included in the articles of intent of the statutes. This goal was given up again in 2000, which resulted in the resignation of Mariella Mehr . The remaining part of the article read: “You [the Olten group] supports political endeavors on a national and international level that promote the equitable distribution of goods, the democratization of the economy and public institutions, the protection of the world from military and civil destruction as well aim to realize human rights ”.

On October 12, 2002, the Olten group in Bern and the SSV, now known as the “Swiss Writers' Association”, formally dissolved. At the same time, a new, joint association was founded under the name “ Authors of Switzerland ” (AdS).

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Individual evidence

  1. Mühlethaler: Die Gruppe Olten , p. 14.