Ludwig von Moos

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ludwig von Moos

Ludwig von Moos (born January 31, 1910 in Sachseln ; † November 26, 1990 in Bern ) was a Swiss lawyer and politician ( CVP ). From 1959 to 1971 he was a member of the Swiss government, the Federal Council , and headed the Justice and Police Department ; 1964 and 1969 he served as Federal President . He was previously a member of the Council of States from 1943 to 1959 and a member of the Obwalden cantonal government from 1946 to 1959 .


Ludwig von Moos was born on January 31, 1910 in his hometown of Sachseln. His father Konstantin von Moos (July 13, 1861 - February 9, 1947) had been station director in Sachseln since the opening of the Brünigbahn in 1888, and in Sarnen from 1910 to 1922. His mother Elisabeth Ackermann (April 14, 1869 - May 19, 1958) came from Entlebuch and was his father's second wife. His grandfather Nikolaus von Moos (June 1, 1828 - May 11, 1873) was Councilor in Obwalden .

Von Moos attended primary school in Sarnen and Sachseln. From 1922 to 1930 he was a student at the Sarnen College , which was then headed by the Benedictines of the Muri-Gries Abbey . He passed his Matura in 1930. In the autumn of the same year he began studying law at the University of Freiburg im Üechtland and graduated on July 22, 1933 with the licentiate examination. There he was a member of the AKV Alemannia association and thus of the Swiss Student Association .

From 1935 to 1942 von Moos was the editor of the Obwalden Volksfreund . From 1946 he was board member and from 1954 to 1959 chairman of the board of directors of Obwaldner Kantonalbank , since 1954 on the board of directors of the Swiss Federal Railways , in 1957 its vice-president, and since 1957 a member of the Swiss School Council (ETH). The University of Freiburg awarded him an honorary doctorate in law in November 1964 .

Von Moos married Helena Regina Durrer, daughter of Zeno Durrer from Kerns , in 1939 . The couple had seven children. Two of his sons, Paul and Josef, are deaf. They were sent to the Hohenrain asylum for the deaf and dumb , where they were taught in spoken language by nuns, because at that time sign language was viewed as a disadvantage for successful social integration. Today Paul von Moos is a board member of the Swiss deaf and hearing impaired organizations.

In addition to his offices, von Moos devoted himself to his hobby of drawing, wrote historical works, such as the Festschrift Hundert Jahre Obwaldner Kantonalbank 1886–1986, and traveled to the United States, various European countries and Israel, where he kept a diary and sketched the landscapes .

Ludwig von Moos died on November 26, 1990 after a long illness in Bern.

Political mandates at communal and cantonal level

On August 3, 1933, von Moos was elected community clerk for Sachseln. On May 27, 1934, he was elected to the municipal council, to which he belonged until 1946 and was president from 1941 to 1946. From November 1934 to 1946 member, from 1942 to Vice-President of the Citizens' Council. During his time as the parish clerk in Sachseln, special events included the celebration of the canonization of Brother Klaus in May 1947 and the reception of the German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer in Sachseln in the summer of 1950.

At the Landsgemeinde in 1936 von Moos was elected substitute for the cantonal court and in 1943 a member and vice-president of the higher court. Elected to the board of the Conservative People's Party in Obwalden in 1937 as a representative of the young conservatives , he headed the presidium of the cantonal party from 1943 to 1956 and has also been a member of the governing committee of the national party since the 1950s.

From 1941 to 1943 von Moos was a cantonal councilor in Obwalden . On April 28, 1946 he was elected a member of the Obwalden government council. There he was first judicial director (1946–1950) and from 1948 to 1959 police director of the canton of Obwalden. In 1953, 1955, 1957 and 1959 the Landsgemeinde elected him Mayor of the Canton of Obwalden.

The Obwalden politician Jost Dillier wrote in 1959 that since 1946 “no law and no ordinance had been issued in Obwalden without today's Federal Councilor von Moos having played a decisive role, whether as the author and supervisor of the draft, or as a man who presented the correct formulation to the advice of the cantonal council in the confusion of opinions ”. A total revision of the cantonal constitution, for which he had campaigned as director of justice, was rejected by the people in 1948. With it the legislative authority should have been given back to the rural community.

Federal mandates

Council of States

On May 2, 1943, he was elected by the Landsgemeinde at the age of only 33 to be a member of the Council of States , of which he remained until 1959.

Federal Council

On December 17, 1959, the Federal Assembly elected Ludwig von Moos as the first Federal Councilor in original Switzerland . With this choice, the so-called magic formula was established . From 1960 to 1971 he was head of the Justice and Police Department, and in 1964 and 1969 Federal President . The high points of his presidential years were the opening of the national exhibition in Lausanne (Expo 64) in 1964 and the reception of Pope Paul VI in 1969 . in genf. Kurt Furgler wrote about von Moos' work in the Federal Council: “What seems almost natural to us today came from his area of ​​responsibility. I only recall the federal decrees on the acquisition of real estate by people abroad; also to the federal laws on the installment and advance payment contract, on co-ownership and condominium ownership, on the employment contract. The revisions of the penal code and the expansion of administrative jurisdiction at the federal level were significant. The constitutional reorganization of land law and the introduction of women's suffrage gave cause for great satisfaction.

Introduction of women's suffrage in 1971

In the first attempt, the introduction of women's suffrage at the federal level was rejected in the referendum of February 1, 1959. Twelve years later, the lengthy commitment of the lead Justice Minister L. von Moos to the federal referendum on February 7, 1971 was rewarded with a clear acceptance of women's voting rights.

The later repeal of the confessional exception articles went back to von Moos' initiative . In 1954, as a Councilor of States, he had submitted a motion to repeal Articles 51 and 52 of the Federal Constitution ( motion by Moos ). These articles were then deleted without replacement due to the referendum of May 20, 1973.

Land law and spatial planning

Land law has run like a red thread through the entire term of office of Federal Councilor von Moos. In addition to the Lex von Moos (authorization requirement for the transfer of land to people abroad), the template for the reorganization of land law, which was adopted by the people in 1969, became important for future spatial planning. It was the decisive course for a more appropriate use of the soil, which serves the orderly settlement of the country. The “concept of spatial planning was born at the constitutional level”; the reorganization of land law was the basis for a spatial planning law.

The registration decision from 1962

L. von Moos enforced the important federal decree of December 20, 1962 on the property of racially, religiously or politically persecuted foreigners or stateless persons in Switzerland (registration decision) within the meaning of the Washington Agreement of 1946. This decision finally came about after two attempts in 1947 and 1956 that failed because of the resistance of the banks. In the message of May 4, 1962, it is stated that the obligation to report must be introduced because Switzerland “must not allow the suspicion of being enriched by the fortunes of the victims of despicable events”.

In the 1990s, this 1962 registration decision in the dispute over Jewish assets with the USA regained its political significance: it was reinstated by the Federal Council on November 18, 1998. The American court rulings with the payment decision ( Claims Resolution. Tribunal in re Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation) are based on the accounts of the registration decision of 1962.

Civil Defense Book Controversy

The Civil Defense Book was published in the autumn of 1969 and the entire Federal Council was responsible for its publication. As head of the lead police and justice department, L. von Moos wrote the foreword. According to Rolf Löffler, however, he was not one of the initiators of the “little red book”. According to the intention of the authors, the civil defense book should show the dangers and subversive activities of the psychological (cold) war by the communist states and strengthen the Swiss' resistance to it. The book came under fire. "Since the publication took place in the middle of the 1968 Cultural Revolution, the violent reaction in the left-wing camp is not surprising," says historian Urs Altermatt .

In the January 1970 issue of the magazine neutralität , editor Paul Ignaz Vogel even called for Federal Councilor Ludwig von Moos to resign because he was a fascist and anti-Semite. The neutrality published "anti-Semitic" comments from the Obwalden Volksfreund of the 30s. The (five) articles labeled as anti-Semitic were copied from outside and are provided with sources in the newspaper. The then editor L. von Moos was not the author of these statements and passages, as is claimed in the secondary literature. In spring 2012, Angelo Garovi , the archivist of the von Moos family archives , summarized the allegations and contrasted them with debilitating arguments in an article in the Swiss Journal of History . In the follow-up edition of this journal, the contemporary historians Thomas Maissen and Urs Altermatt continued the debate and identified the need for further research.

Resignation in 1971

On October 4, 1971, Federal Councilor Ludwig von Moos announced his resignation. The editor of the Appenzeller Volksfreund wrote on October 9, 1971 that Federal Councilor von Moos' unexpected resignation was related to the discussion within the parties, according to which "in future the Federal Council should be formed on the basis of changing majorities and marked coalition negotiations". Similar comments can be read in other newspapers. The Neue Zürcher Nachrichten, for example, said that the federal councilors would become pawns in the political game of party strategists. "Federal Councilor Ludwig von Moos answered this question for himself in a way that corresponds to his straightforward manner, and in doing so he kept his person out of a calculation that he was deeply opposed to."

As a former Federal Councilor, Ludwig von Moos made himself available as President of the Federal Nature and Heritage Protection Commission (1971–1977). He became president of the Swiss Museum of Transport (1971–1981), the Freiburg University Association (1971–1981) and the Foundation Ombudsman for Private Insurance (1971–1985).


  • Urs Altermatt (Ed.): The Swiss Federal Councilors. A historiographical lexicon. Zurich / Munich 1991 (von Moos pp. 494-499).
  • Leo von Moos, Angelo Garovi: Commemorative Ludwig von Moos. Booklet accompanying the special exhibition “Ludwig von Moos. The Obwalden Federal Council from 1960 to 1971 » in the Obwalden Historical Museum. Sarnen 2010.
  • Arnold Fisch: My Federal Councilors. From Etter to Aubert. Stäfa 1989 (von Moos pp. 95-98).
  • Ephrem Omlin: The governors of the Obwalden estate and their coats of arms. Obwalden history sheets 9/1966, p. 203 f.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Details on portrait 50888 Konstantin von Moos at, accessed on December 12, 2015
  2. Details on portrait 83168 Elisabeth von Moos-Ackermann on, accessed on December 12, 2015
  3. Niklaus von Flüe : Moos, Nikolaus von. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  4. Johanna Krapf: Eye people tell from their lives . Zurich 2015 (Paul von Moos, pp. 102–115). Digitized on Google Books
  5. Up close & personal . In: Pneumatic Post, Deaf and Hearing Impaired Organizations, 55th edition, June 2015 [1]
  6. ^ Obwalden Volksfreund, December 18, 1959; Reprinted in: Gedenkschrift Ludwig von Moos 2010, p. 23.
  7. ^ Niklaus von Flüe: Ludwig von Moos and the Obwalden canton constitution. In: Obwaldner Geschichtsblätter 27/2013, p. 244 ff.
  8. Federation of November 27, 1990; Reprinted in: commemorative publication Ludwig von Moos. Sarnen 2010, p. 19.
  9. Cf. Franziska Rogger: Give the Swiss women their story! Marthe Gosteli: her archive and the overlooked struggle for women's suffrage. Zurich 2015
  10. Referendum of May 20, 1973 on the website of the Swiss Federal Chancellery, accessed on November 26, 2017
  11. ↑ Land law administrator , interview with Ludwig von Moos by René Euw. In: Brückenbauer 52/1, January 3, 1990.
  12. Federal Gazette (BBl) 1962 I 933, 935; Federal Act on Dormant Assets, Report of the Expert Commission appointed by the Federal Department of Finance, June 2004, pp. 7–9; see. also Peter Hug and Marc Perrenoud: Assets of Nazi victims located in Switzerland and compensation agreements with eastern states , Federal Archives Dossier 4, Bern 1996/1997.
  13. ^ Systematic Collection of Federal Law (SR) 985.
  14. Rolf Löffler: Civil Defense - The Origin of the Little Red Book. In: Swiss Journal for History , 54/2004, pp. 173–187.
  15. Swiss Journal of History 62/2012, p. 323.
  16. neutrality. Critical magazine for politics and culture , 8th year, January 1970, 2nd edition, pp. 34–37.
  17. ^ Obwalden Volksfreund February 29, 1936, January 4, 1936, July 21, 1937, August 7, 1937, September 4, 1937.
  18. Angelo Garovi: Comments on Ludwig von Moos' political position in the 1930s . In: Swiss Journal for History , 62/2012, No. 1, pp. 156–163, online version of the article
  19. Thomas Maissen: To the spiritual world of Ludwig von Moos. A reply to Angelo Garovi's “Remarks”. In: Swiss Journal for History , 62 (2012), pp. 311–319. Online version of the article. (PDF file)
  20. Urs Altermatt: How far to the right was the young conservative Ludwig von Moos from Obwalden? In: Swiss Journal for History , 62 (2012), pp. 320–334.
  21. ^ Press review / Revue de Presse CVP / PDC, No. 44, Bern, October 6, 1971.
  22. NZN of October 5, 1971
predecessor Office successor
Thomas Holenstein Member of the Swiss Federal Council
Kurt Furgler