Johannes Baumann

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Baumann on the day of his election to the Federal Council

Johannes Baumann (born November 27, 1874 in Herisau ; † September 8, 1953 there ; entitled to live in Herisau) was a Swiss politician ( FDP ). From 1901 he was a member of the Cantonal Council and from 1905 to 1931 the Government Council of the Canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden . During his entire 26-year tenure as a member of the government council, he headed the military and police directors. From 1911 he represented his canton in the Council of States , which he presided over in 1920/21. He was the first Appenzeller to be elected to the Federal Council in 1934 and then headed the Justice and Police Department until his resignation in 1940 . During this time, various important legislative proposals, in particular the uniform penal code, are being implemented . In view of the National Socialist and Fascist threats, he significantly expanded state security. On the other hand, he was responsible for questionable alien police decisions that were made in response to the refugee crisis before and shortly after the start of the Second World War .


Study and job

He was the son of the embroidery manufacturer and politician of the same name and of Anna Altherr. With a strictly Protestant upbringing, Baumann first attended elementary school in Herisau and then moved to Bern , where he completed the free grammar school. At the University of Basel , in accordance with his parents' wishes, he began to study theology , but then decided after one semester to study law . He joined the Zofingia student association and attended other semesters at the universities of Bern , Leipzig and Zurich . His lecturers included Eugen Huber , the author of the civil code . In 1897 he received his doctorate in Bern with a dissertation on the legal history of the Reformed Church of Appenzell Ausserrhoden .

Baumann started to work in a Zurich law firm, but only stayed there for a short time. A childhood friend made him aware of a vacancy as a court clerk in 1898 . He applied for it and was elected to this office by the Cantonal Council. A year later, he was elected interrogator and cantonal police director in Trogen . In 1905 he married Hanna Bischofberger from Rehetobel , the daughter of a weaving manufacturer and chief judge; the marriage resulted in two daughters. During the First World War , he commanded a battalion as a major in the Swiss Army , and was then promoted to colonel .

Cantonal and federal politics

From 1901 Baumann sat as one of the members of the constituency of Trogen himself in the canton council, 1904/05 he chaired it. As a member of the Constitutional Council, he also participated in the revision of the canton's constitution. In 1905 the Ausserrhoder Landsgemeinde elected him to the government council , whereupon he gave up his previous offices and moved his residence back to Herisau. Until 1931 he was in charge of the canton's military and police directors. For the years 1910–1913, 1916–1919, 1921–1924 and 1927–1930 the Landsgemeinde designated him as Landammann . He initiated a cantonal old-age insurance (incorporated into the nationwide AHV in 1951 ) as well as an insurance for natural hazards and unemployment, making Appenzell Ausserrhoden a pioneering role in Switzerland.

Baumann represented his canton from 1911 in the Senate and served 1920-21 as Senate President . On a national level, he appeared primarily as an advocate of a Swiss-wide uniform penal code and as President of the Council of States Finance Commission. In addition, he was a member of the boards of directors of Ausserrhoder Kantonalbank , St. Gallisch-Appenzellische Kraftwerke and Nordostschweizerische Kraftwerke as well as the supervisory board of Rentenanstalt . From 1932 to 1934 he was a member of the Bank Council of the Swiss National Bank . He presided over the Appenzell Officers 'Society and from 1919 to 1931 the Progressive Citizens' Party of Appenzell Ausserrhoden. He was also a member of the central understanding of the Swiss FDP .

Heinrich Häberlin and Jean-Marie Musy resigned after the defeat in the referendum on the tightening of the state protection provisions of federal law ( Lex Häberlin II), which resulted in two vacancies in the Federal Council in 1934 . Baumann was considered a possible successor to Häberlin, but some liberals considered him too old for this office, which is why they supported the Basel criminal law professor Carl Ludwig , although he was a member of the LPS . The SP, however, relied on National Council President Johannes Huber from the canton of St. Gallen. In the Federal Council election on March 22, 1934, Huber initially fell out of the running in the second ballot. In the third ballot, Baumann prevailed against Ludwig with 141 votes to 73.

Federal Council

On May 1, 1934, Baumann von Häberlin took over the management of the Justice and Police Department (FDJP). In view of the growing threat from Nazi Germany , he advocated the expansion of state security - all the more so after Gestapo agents in Basel kidnapped the German journalist Berthold Jacob in March 1935 and the informer Hans Wesemann was arrested in Ascona . One month later, the Federal Council decided to expand the Federal Prosecutor's Office and to create the Federal Office of Police . Two weeks after Wilhelm Gustloff was murdered in Davos , on February 18, 1936, at Baumann's request, the Federal Council issued a ban on the NSDAP's foreign organization in Switzerland. In December of the same year, the assassin David Frankfurter was sentenced to life imprisonment (and pardoned after the end of the war) after a trial that received high international attention. The activity of German and Italian agents became so serious that in December 1938 further state security measures had to be adopted.

Baumann showed impressive legislative activity. Under his leadership, the Alcohol Act and the Code of Obligations were revised, a new Civil Service Act and an Agricultural Debt Relief Act were put into effect, and a draft for a revised military penal law was drawn up. In 1938 he served as Federal President and was able to celebrate the greatest success of his political career in his presidential year, when the people adopted the uniform penal code with a narrow majority in an optional referendum on July 3 (which came into force on January 1, 1942).

While Baumann appeared confident in the legal field and as a defender of democratic rights, his record is - in retrospect - questionable foreign police clouded decisions. He trusted the expertise of his chief officials too much and was too indulgent to the wishes of the Political Department . Baumann's responsibility for the strict Swiss refugee policy at the time is lessened by the fact that the entire Federal Council mostly approved his proposals. When, for example, after the annexation of Austria in March 1938, thousands of refugees streamed into the St. Gallen Rhine Valley , he decided to reintroduce the visa requirement for holders of Austrian passports and justified this measure with the fear of " foreign infiltration " as well as the proclamation of the Federal Council and the parliamentary groups regarding the Switzerland's neutrality. On October 4th of the same year he advocated marking German passports with the Jewish stamp - despite the concerns of Aliens Police Chief Heinrich Rothmund . After the outbreak of the war, Baumann's department had central responsibility for the implementation of refugee policy, especially since after 1935 there was a shift in competencies from the cantons to the federal government. It is also known that there were strong xenophobic and anti-Semitic tendencies in the FDJP and that the police department concentrated its efforts on repelling the refugees.

Last years

Together with his Federal Council colleague Rudolf Minger , Baumann announced his resignation for the end of the year on November 8, 1940. He chaired the board of directors of the Rupperswil-Auenstein power plant in the canton of Aargau , which was built between 1942 and 1945, and headed the “Association for the Dissemination of Good Writings ”. Otherwise he lived quite secluded in Bern. Increasingly suffering from arthritis , he went to rest in his native Herisau in September 1953, where he died of a heart attack at the age of 78 .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Alder: Federal Councilor Dr. Johannes Baumann (1874–1953). P. 28.
  2. ^ Alder: Federal Councilor Dr. Johannes Baumann (1874–1953). P. 29.
  3. ^ Rohner, Schläpfer: Das Bundesratlexikon. P. 344.
  4. a b Alder: Federal Councilor Dr. Johannes Baumann (1874–1953). Pp. 29-30.
  5. ^ A b Rohner, Schläpfer: Das Bundesratslexikon. P. 345.
  6. ^ Rohner, Schläpfer: Das Bundesratlexikon. Pp. 345-346.
  7. ^ Rohner, Schläpfer: Das Bundesratlexikon. Pp. 346-347.
  8. Jörg Krummenacher: In 1938 he wants to escape the Austrian "Witches Sabbath of the Mob" - and flees to Switzerland. Neue Zürcher Zeitung , March 12, 2018, accessed on May 1, 2019 .
  9. ^ Federal Council (Switzerland) : Proclamation of the Federal Council and the parliamentary groups regarding neutrality. Swiss National Sound Archives , March 21, 1938, accessed on October 26, 2019 .
  10. ^ Proclamation of the Federal Council and the parliamentary groups regarding neutrality. In: Stenographic Bulletin of the Federal Assembly. National Council (Switzerland), March 21, 1938, accessed October 26, 2019 .
  11. ^ Rohner, Schläpfer: Das Bundesratlexikon. P. 346.
  12. ^ The Federal Council and the Federal Department of Justice and Police . In: Independent Expert Commission Switzerland - Second World War (Ed.): Switzerland, National Socialism and the Second World War . Pendo Verlag , Zurich 2002, ISBN 3-85842-601-6 , p. 132–133 ( Online [PDF; 1.7 MB ; accessed on May 1, 2019]).
  13. ^ Rohner, Schläpfer: Das Bundesratlexikon. P. 347.
predecessor Office successor
Heinrich Häberlin Member of the Swiss Federal Council
Karl Kobelt