Laure Wyss

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Laure Wyss
Laure Wyss 1981

Laure Elisabeth Wyss (born June 20, 1913 in Biel / Bienne ; † August 21, 2002 in Zurich ) was a Swiss writer and media pioneer. She accompanied the emancipation of women in Switzerland and gave women a voice as a writer and journalist .

Live and act

Laure (spoken: Lor ) Wyss was born in Biel in 1913. She was the second-born daughter of the notary, FdP city council, FdP grand councilor Werner Wyss and the housewife Anna-Bertha Wyss-Uhlmann. Wyss' sister Hilde was two years older than her. The paternal grandfather, Jakob Wyss, was the founder and rector of the high school in Biel . His wife was the daughter of a Twanner winemaker. The maternal grandfather represented the Swiss mobile insurance company in Biel. His wife ran a shop selling sewing supplies, knitwear, and grocery items such as coffee.

Laure Wyss on the deck chair
Laure Wyss with a white hat

School time and training

Wyss grew up in the city of Biel until 1926. In the same year they moved into the self-built single-family house in Leubringen / Evilard , a farming village and excursion destination above the city of Biel. From 1926 to 1932 Wyss attended the high school in Biel, which had previously been headed by her grandfather. After graduating from high school , she went to Paris and looked for a job as an au pair girl.

In October 1932 she enrolled at the Université de Paris, Faculté des Lettres . There she attended lectures on French literature and contemporary art . After Paris, in the summer of 1933, Wyss completed a six-month internship at her father's notary office , who wanted his daughter to begin studying law . In the fall, Wyss enrolled at the University of Zurich to study German and French. She graduated as a secondary school specialist in French and German. She spent the winter semester 1934/35 at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität (today: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin ) in Berlin, where she attended philosophy lectures. She fell in love with Ernst Zietzschmann, the brother of her college friend. He studied architecture in Germany and graduated in Zurich. The two married in 1937. At that time, Zietzschmann had been living and working in Stockholm for a year .

War years in Stockholm and Davos

From 1937 to 1942 Wyss lived with her husband in Stockholm. She was a housewife and learned Nordic languages ​​such as Swedish , Danish and Norwegian . During her time in Stockholm she made the acquaintance of the conservative-liberal sociologist Berthold Josephy, who had fled Germany as a Jew. Wyss and Josephy had a formative friendship. In his books he mainly devoted himself to the subjects of liberalism and socialism .

Dr. At that time Arthur Frey was in charge of the Swiss Evangelical Press Service and the Evangelical Publishing House in Zurich-Zollikon. He commissioned her to translate documents from Swedish, Norwegian and Danish from the resistance movement of the Scandinavian churches against the German occupation forces. She transmitted writings from Eivind Berggrav , Bishop of Oslo, who was a driving force in the Confessing Church of Norway. She translated sermons from the Danish pastor Kaj Munk , who was murdered by the National Socialists . Her translations were published by the Swiss Evangelical Publishing House. In 1942 the couple returned to Switzerland and moved to Davos .

Working life in Switzerland

After eight years of marriage to Zietzschmann, Wyss divorced a few weeks before the end of the war in 1945. In the same year Wyss moved to Zurich, where she started to work as a freelance journalist. She gave birth to a son in 1949 and was a single working mother. Wyss took a permanent position as an editor in order to have a fixed salary. She retired in 1975 and continued to work as a freelance journalist and court reporter . At an advanced age she created her literary works .

She lived in Zurich and on the French Atlantic coast, in the Charente-Maritime . In her private life, Karl Schmid , the Swiss publicist and Germanist, was close to her. She died on August 21, 2002 at the age of 89 in Zurich. She found her final resting place in the Rehalp cemetery in Zurich .

Her estate is in the Swiss Literary Archives in Bern.


In 1942, Wyss met the editor and editor of the Davos Revue , Jules Ferdmann. Through him she got an insight into the journalistic craft. In December 1943, Wyss' first article appeared in the Davos Revue , which was a book review of the Swedish bestseller Britta Bölja by Tora Feuk.

After the end of the war, Wyss worked from 1946 to 1948 as an editor for the Swiss Evangelical Press Service. She traveled through war-torn Poland and wrote articles and reports on the aid projects that were taking place there. From 1949 she worked as a freelance journalist. From 1950 to 1962 Wyss headed the editorial team of a women's supplement, which was a joint project by the Luzerner Tagblatt , the Aargauer Zeitung , the Zürichsee-Zeitung , the Schaffhauser Nachrichten and the Glarner Nachrichten . The supplement appeared weekly and comprised four newspaper pages with fashion, recipes and articles on lifestyle. Within the scope of her editorial possibilities, she advocated self-determination and professional activity for women.

From 1958 Wyss was active in the pioneering days of Swiss television and developed new television formats . She designed and hosted the new program magazine for women . The first discussion program on Swiss television Unter uns was directed by Wyss from 1962 to 1968.

In 1963 the Tages-Anzeiger published the weekend edition TA 7 . Wyss was also responsible for the special edition of the youth magazine, which appeared every Wednesday as a supplement to the Tages-Anzeiger. From 1970 to 1975 she headed the new Tages-Anzeiger Magazin (today: Das Magazin ), which she developed together with Peter Frey and Hugo Leber. The first issue, which appeared in February 1970, was provocative with the title Make war not love - women against men and caused a sensation beyond Switzerland's borders.

It was the first four-color weekend magazine from a daily newspaper in German-speaking countries. The trademark of the Tages-Anzeiger Magazin was an enlightening literary journalism and a modern layout. Wyss represented advocacy journalism . With her editorials and critical articles, she became a voice of the women's movement . She supported young journalists such as Niklaus Meienberg , Hugo Loetscher , Jürg Federspiel and Isolde Schaad .


In 1976 Wyss' first book entitled Women Tell Their Life was published. 14 protocols containing portraits of 14 Swiss women. The minutes of their conversations represented the current trend in documentary literature in the 1970s. (In the BRD published Erika Runge , in the GDR Maxie Wander and Sarah Kirsch also literary woman protocols.)

In 1978, Wyss published her main work, Mother's Birthday , in which she reflects on her life as a single and working mother.

The Red House was published in 1982 and was her only novel. A single mother, a journalist and a housewife and mother embark on a search for meaning in life in this work. Here, too, as in mother's birthday, parallels to Wyss' life can be found.

She published short stories, a journalistic anthology and poems. Posthumously the Limmat Verlag published the volume perceptions with final stories.


Above all, former colleagues, writers and literary scholars paid tribute to Laure Wyss after her death.

The Swiss poet, writer and literary scholar Adolf Muschg made the following comments in the weekly newspaper in 2002 :

“What it would mean to write occurred to you early, in two places: the destruction of the World War that left you speechless; and when building your articles and reports, where you couldn't miss the language. There was a contradiction in this that you could never smoothly straighten out [...] your outrage about the disadvantage of women was well-founded and inexhaustible, it was not nourished by program or ideology, but by your everyday life as a working and single woman. Twice as demanding as emergencies made you, you were never sure whether it was enough for you to “write”. And this insecurity was the most personal thing about you, because it wasn't just personal. "

The literary critic and journalist Beatrice von Matt wrote in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung in 2002 :

“In everything that she did and wrote, this woman was strictly committed to herself, to her exact conscience. Every one of her sentences showed unorthodox honesty. Her brave demeanor, her generous manner, her commitment to the weaker people made her an authority in Zurich and far beyond. At the same time she was in no way a solemn appearance. She had enough sense of humor and self-doubt to prevent that. She was never stubborn, not even as a campaigner for women's rights in Switzerland. She was a courageous and imaginative person that one does not often meet. [...] "

The Swiss journalist and writer Isolde Schaad , who was sponsored by Wyss, also wrote down her thoughts in 2002:

“Write how your head has grown, and with whole eyes from left to right. To recognize and name what is and what is not in this best of all western worlds called democracy. Basta, understand? Roger that. Wear good shoes, take your bread bag and your ID card with you, if you have to show them, then you have come to the right information center. Dear Laure, of course you didn't say it that way, you thought it so convincingly that it could be seen. "

Press quotes

"In all these texts, these pleasantly unambitious legacies, Laure Wyss registers soberly, without further ado, but nevertheless with restrained emphasis."

- Beatrice Eichmann-Leutenegger on perceptions , Neue Zürcher Zeitung of March 27, 2003

"There is hardly anywhere else that has been written so relentlessly open, so succinct, so unpretentiously precise and yet so encouraging and brave about age and its complaints."

- Charles Linsmayer on, Schuhwerk im Kopf , Der Bund, March 4, 2000

“The fragments speak for themselves and are more legible than a meticulous classification of the soul. The form of this literary approach is idiosyncratic and takes getting used to, just like the queen. "

- The Deutsche Tagespost about leaving before the sea freezes over , 23 September 1995

“These letters to Tierra del Fuego are an unobtrusive, thought-provoking plea for Europe, which for a change does not focus on the euro, but wants to convey something that has now almost been forgotten, namely a desire for Europe. Laure Wyss' brilliantly written letter essay dispenses with big words and prefers to name tangible European experiences. "

- Lothar Baier on letters to Tierra del Fuego, Süddeutsche Zeitung of September 30, 1997

“The commitment of the journalist Laure Wyss has always been characterized by a tendency towards literature, fiction, and storytelling. As (unscrupulously cheerful, so to speak) as in Lascar, Laure Wyss has never let the inclination run its course. "

- Heinz Schafroth on Lascar , Basler Zeitung, May 13, 1994

“Anyone who holds the book in their hands and resolves to at least take a closer look, could discover something: journalistic culture. The fact that it is rare today does not mean that it does not exist. "

- The World Week on What We Don't Want to See, We Don't See , December 3, 1987

In 2019 a square in Biel was named after her as Esplanade Laure Wyss .

Awards and honors

  • Laure Wyss memorial plaque at Winkelwiese 6, Zurich
    Laure Wyss memorial plaque at Winkelwiese 6, Zurich
    1973: Award of the City of Zurich
  • 1974: Honorary gift from the Canton of Zurich
  • 1978: Honorary gift from the City of Zurich
  • 1982: Schiller Prize from the Zürcher Kantonalbank for a pending trial
  • 1993: Working year of the Max Frisch Foundation
  • 1994: Honorary gift from the City of Zurich
  • 1997: Honorary gift from the Canton of Zurich
  • 1998: Entire Works Prize from the Swiss Schiller Foundation
  • 1998: Grand Literature Prize of the Canton of Bern
  • 2000: Gold Medal of Honor from the Government Council of the Canton of Zurich
  • 2001: Work grant from the Canton of Zurich
  • 2003: Women's honors on Sechseläuten by the Fraumünster Society , a memorial plaque can be found at Winkelwiese 6.



  • Women tell their lives. 14 logs. Afterword by Lilian Uchtenhagen . Huber, Frauenfeld 1976, ISBN 3-7193-0535-X .
    • as a paperback: You have to start in one place. Women's protocols from Switzerland. Luchterhand (SL 355), Darmstadt 1981, ISBN 3-472-61355-6 .
  • Mother's birthday. Notes on a trip and reflection on A. A report. Huber, Frauenfeld 1978, ISBN 3-85791-454-8 .
    • as paperback: Luchterhand (SL 340), Darmstadt 1981.
  • A pending case. Conjectures about the background of a family tragedy. A documentation. Kindler, Munich 1981.
  • The red house. Novel. Huber, Frauenfeld 1982.
  • Day of being lost. Stories. Huber, Frauenfeld 1984.
  • Dear Livia. Vera's diary from January to December. Limmat, Zurich 1985.
  • What we don't want to see, we don't see. Journalistic texts. Edited by Elisabeth Fröhlich. Limmat, Zurich 1987, ISBN 3-85791-131-X .
  • The blue dress and other stories. Limmat, Zurich 1989, ISBN 3-85791-154-9 .
  • Get away before the sea freezes over. Fragments related to Queen Christina of Sweden . Limmat, Zurich 1994, ISBN 3-85791-228-6 .
  • Letters to Tierra del Fuego. Perceptions of Switzerland in Europe. Limmat, Zurich 1997, ISBN 3-85791-288-X .
  • Footwear in the head and other stories. Limmat, Zurich 2000, ISBN 3-85791-341-X .
  • One hour log of age. Moritz Leuenberger in conversation with Laure Wyss. Limmat, Zurich 2002, ISBN 3-85791-377-0 .
  • Perceptions and other stories. Edited by Tobias Kaestli and Hans Baumann. Limmat, Zurich 2003, ISBN 3-85791-397-5 .



  • Hundeshagen, Karl Bernhard: Calvinism and civil liberty. Against the tyrants / Hubert Languet. Evangelischer Verlag, Zollikon / Zurich 1946.
  • Warszawa. Twelve Polish Poems on Warsaw. Transferred by Nikolaus Boesch. Verlag LEW, Zurich 1948 (self-published).
  • Good for printing. Edited by Laure Wyss. Artemis, Zurich 1972.
  • Norwegian Church Documents: From the Years of Struggle between Church and Secular Power, 1941–1943. Cover: Documents from the martyr history of the Protestant Church, edited and translated by Laure Wyss. Evangelischer Verlag, Zollikon / Zurich 1943.


  • Hans Akerhielm: sword under the cross. With the Swedish Freikorps in the Finland War. Sermons and devotions. Evangelischer Verlag, Zollikon / Zurich 1941.
  • Eivind Berggrav: Solitude and Community in Christian Life. Zollikon-Zurich: Evangelischer Verlag, Zollikon / Zurich 1942.
  • Kay Munk: Confession to the Truth. Evangelischer Verlag, Zollikon / Zurich 1944.
  • Sergius Patriarch: The Truth About Religion in Russia. Evangelischer Verlag, Zollikon / Zurich 1944.
  • Pierre Maury: Jesus Christ, the unknown. Evangelischer Verlag, Zollikon / Zurich 1949.

Television and print

  • Woman's magazine - UnterUns. Social reporting. (As editor, program designer, presenter.) Approx. 100 live broadcasts, SF DRS 1962–1967.
  • We were there too. Luzerner Zeitung from October 24, 1953
  • Holiday letter to the best of all fathers. Luzerner Zeitung from July 3, 1954
  • Housewife only. Lucerne newspaper from January 17, 1959
  • Elégance Suisse 1966. Tages-Anzeiger from June 25, 1966
  • ... and de Vatter lied. Tages-Anzeiger from July 9, 1966
  • Roof over your head? Tages-Anzeiger from November 19, 1966
  • Probation. Tages Anzeiger from December 24, 1966
  • In search of the signs of the times. Tages-Anzeiger from February 4, 1967
  • Everything is in the river. Tages-Anzeiger from August 9, 1969
  • Realization of pain? (Editorial) Tages-Anzeiger magazine dated July 12, 1975
  • Nice green mats (editorial) & walls and peace and order. Tages-Anzeiger magazine dated December 17, 1977
  • Through matriarchy to great disobedience. World Week of October 13, 1983
  • ps woolen thread against Cruise. Schweizer Illustrierte 4/1983
  • Letter to a doctor. The weekly newspaper of November 15, 1985


  • Regionaljournal , July 7, 1987, Züri im Gspröch
  • Opposition , October 19, 1988, Das Rote Biel 1919–1939
  • Opposition , 23 August 1988, The tabloidization of the press and the media
  • Opposition , September 18, 1990, Racism against asylum seekers in Switzerland
  • Slow motion , July 6, 1991, Nümme like earlier - not like before
  • Regionaljournal , June 14, 1992, Laure Wyss as a Sunday guest
  • Columns , Nov. 21, 1994, Relations between Generations
  • Commentary Laure Wyss' commentary on poetry, December 5, 1995
  • Commentary Laure Wyss' Commentary on Emancipation, November 5, 1996
  • Comment Laure Wyss' commentary on Switzerland's behavior during World War II, April 8, 1997


Film portrait

Working group Laure Wyss

On the 100th birthday of Laure Wyss, her son Nikolaus Wyss (former headmaster of the Lucerne School of Art and Design ), Barbara Kopp (author and journalist), Rea Eggli (cultural entrepreneur) and Constantin Ragusa (project consultant) founded a working group. Their goal is to keep Wyss in the memory of the next generation. The working group organized anniversary events in Basel and Zurich and readings in German-speaking Switzerland . On the website you can find the biography, the journalistic and writing activities and photos of Wyss.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Working group Laure Wyss : The life of Laure Wyss , p. O. P.
  2. ^ Corina Caduff: Laure Wyss: writer and journalist. P. 214ff.
  3. ^ Corina Caduff: Laure Wyss: writer and journalist. P. 218.
  4. ^ Corina Caduff: Laure Wyss: writer and journalist. P. 332.
  5. ^ Corina Caduff: Laure Wyss: writer and journalist. P. 223ff.
  6. ^ Corina Caduff: Laure Wyss: writer and journalist. P. 226.
  7. ^ Corina Caduff: Laure Wyss: writer and journalist. P. 227
  8. ^ Corina Caduff: Laure Wyss: writer and journalist. P. 228.
  9. ^ Corina Caduff: Laure Wyss: writer and journalist. P. 228f.
  10. ^ Working group Laure Wyss [1] : The life of Laure Wyss , p. O. P.
  11. Barbara Kopp: Laure Wyss: Passions of a non-conformist. P. 101f.
  12. Barbara Kopp: Laure Wyss: Passions of a non-conformist. P. 123.
  13. Barbara Kopp: Laure Wyss: Passions of a non-conformist. , P. 91.
  14. Barbara Kopp: Laure Wyss: Passions of a non-conformist. , P. 128.
  15. ^ Corina Caduff: Laure Wyss: writer and journalist. P. 231.
  16. [2]
  17. Make war not love - women against men p. 232.
  18. Working group Laure Wyss : The life of Laure Wyss , p. O. P.
  19. Barbara Kopp: Laure Wyss: Passions of a non-conformist. P. 303.
  20. Barbara Kopp: Laure Wyss: Passions of a non-conformist. P. 307.
  21. ^ Adolf Muschg: Arbeitsgemeinschaft Laure Wyss : The life of Laure Wyss
  22. Beatrice von Matt: Arbeitsgemeinschaft Laure Wyss : Das Leben der Laure Wyss
  23. ^ Isolde Schaad: Working group Laure Wyss : The life of Laure Wyss
  24. ^ Neue Zürcher Zeitung of March 27, 2003 Laure Wyss working group
  25. ^ The Federal Government of March 4, 2000 Working Group Laure Wyss
  26. ^ The Deutsche Tagespost dated September 23, 1995 Arbeitsgemeinschaft Laure Wyss
  27. Süddeutsche Zeitung of September 30, 1997, Laure Wyss working group
  28. ^ Basler Zeitung, May 13, 1994 Laure Wyss working group
  29. ^ Die Weltwoche of December 3, 1987 Working group Laure Wyss
  30. Place Laure Wyss - Frauenplatz Biel. Retrieved on August 22, 2019 (Swiss Standard German).
  31. [3]
  32. Archived copy ( memento of the original from January 19, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  33. [4]