Rudolf Friedrich (politician, 1923)

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Rudolf Friedrich (2007)

Rudolf Heinrich Friedrich (born July 4, 1923 in Winterthur ; † October 15, 2013 there ) was a Swiss politician ( FDP ). As Federal Councilor he was Minister of Justice.

Origin and political career

His father Jean Jacques Henri Friedrich was a pediatrician, his mother Ida Fanny Sulzer came from famous Winterthur families (Sulzer, Forrer). Rudolf Friedrich studied and obtained his doctorate in political and economic science at the University of Zurich . He graduated from military schools and became a member of the officers' society in his hometown of Winterthur. During the war years he did active service in the Mountain Army Corps . After several years of work in courts, in business and in law, he opened his own law firm in Winterthur in 1957. He became involved early on in the Free Democratic Party (FDP) , which he represented with great political passion as Winterthur municipal council (1962–1975), Zurich cantonal council (1967–1977) and national council (1975–1982). Until his election to the federal parliament , he presided over the FDP of the canton of Zurich. Friedrich was President of the Military Commission of the National Council and was particularly interested in foreign and security policy issues. He advocated strong national defense as a guarantee of Swiss neutrality and independence and warned against totalitarian threats to Switzerland.

Federal Council

Federal Councilor Rudolf Friedrich

Rudolf Friedrich was elected to the Federal Council on December 8, 1982 in the first ballot . During his tenure, he headed the Federal Department of Justice and Police . His name is linked to a law, the so-called " Lex Friedrich ", which restricted the purchase of land in Switzerland for foreigners - it became a long-term consensus solution between conflicting interests. In the field of refugee policy, he took measures against the abuse of the Asylum Act , which guarantees protection for politically persecuted people in Switzerland. The procedures for asylum decisions have been simplified in order to reduce the growing number of pending requests. Friedrich attached great importance to the human dimension of the problem and dealt personally with hardship cases. Other focal points of his work included the revision of marriage law and the reform of federalism. In 1983 he let the Bern offices of the Soviet press agency Novosti close, as this a. a. engaged in political subversion and espionage by the peace movement . On August 7, 1984, his home was bombed; nobody was injured. The attack led to a wave of arrests in the Winterthur youth scene (see Winterthur events ).

Federal Councilor Rudolf Friedrich announced on August 29, 1984 that he would resign on October 20, 1984 due to health problems.

Election results in the Federal Assembly

  • 1982: Election to the Federal Council with 130 votes (absolute majority: 123 votes)
  • 1983: Re-election as Federal Council with 175 votes (absolute majority: 112 votes)

After resigning from the Federal Council

Painting by Henri Schmid

Friedrich remained politically active as a former Federal Councilor. In 1986 he was a co-founder of the Swiss Helsinki Association , which he presided over from 1987 to 2003, and of which he was a member until his death. He campaigned for Switzerland to join the UN (1st referendum 1986) and EEA (referendum 1992). He always advocated greater Swiss participation in building a stable, prosperous and peaceful continent, since in his opinion Switzerland is existentially dependent on it. He remained a critical companion of current domestic and foreign policy, a vehement defender of freedom and freedom of opinion. On the occasion of Rudolf Friedrich's 75th birthday, the Winterthur Officers' Society published a commemorative publication in his honor . He was a member of the initiative committee of the 2nd referendum for UN membership (2002), which he helped to achieve success.

Friedrich continued to participate in some activities of the FDP and gave a personal example of the cohesion of the generations. In 2003 he was co-author and first signatory of a manifesto for the start of accession negotiations with the EU and accompanied Switzerland's bilateral path with skepticism . Friedrich was also the first signatory to the “ Easy Swiss Tax ” tax initiative of the FDP of the Canton of Zurich. He advocated government reform in Switzerland and proposed a Federal Council with eight members and a Federal President with a longer term of office and greater powers. On the occasion of the 2007 elections, he pleaded for a stronger collegiality in the Federal Council, which puts the interests of the state before party interests. For the FDP parliamentarians, he wanted more unity instead of self-profiling.

From a legacy that Friedrich gave to his hometown in 1998 for cultural and social purposes, the city of Winterthur founded the Dr. Rudolf Friedrich Fund . He was also a long-standing member of the board of the Swiss Sponsorship for Mountain Communities and was President of the Board of Trustees until 1996, then Honorary President of Pro Juventute . During the entire existence (1993–2007) of the Working Group for an Open Switzerland ( AGOS , which was integrated into the Swiss Society for Foreign Policy ), he was a member of its patronage committee. He was a patronage committee member of both the Technorama Foundation in Switzerland and the Swiss Scout Foundation and an honorary member of the Board of Trustees of the Terrafina Upper Engadin Foundation. As a tribute to the magistrate , a linden tree in Park Bäumli in Winterthur was named "Federal Councilor Rudolf Friedrich-Linde".

Rudolf Friedrich wrote frequently in various newspapers, including a. in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung , of which he was a member of the board of directors for a long time. He took an active part in events and discussions on current domestic and foreign policy in Switzerland.


  • "A foundation is a fiction, it has no consciousness." (1986 press conference on the scandal surrounding the Kinder der Landstrasse aid organization of Pro Juventute)
  • “It is important to arouse understanding for the refugees present here and to counter the generalization of negative incidents with asylum seekers. Understanding arises when we gain insight into personal fates and human needs. Understanding is then the first step towards meeting and helping. " (Greetings for the Swiss Refugee Day 1999)


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Family tree ( Memento from May 9, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) to Charlemagne
  2. ^ Officer's Society Winterthur , website
  3. Rudolf Friedrich: For a liberal policy - personal memories of the time of the East-West confrontation and its overcoming , colloquium at the Archive for Contemporary History of the ETH Zurich , April 7, 1999 - the manuscript and sound recording of the colloquium are kept in the Archive for Contemporary History.
  4. Methodological analogy: Stasi-IM «Helfried» , Der Spiegel , No. 49/2000
  5. ^ Swiss Helsinki Association , website
  6. ^ Basic work for a second Europe vote - start of the working group for an open Switzerland In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung . October 13, 1993
  7. ^ Rudolf Friedrich: The Monopoly Media - A Problem for Democracy . In Jeanne Hersch (Hrsg.): Rule of Law in Twilight - Elisabeth Kopp's resignation. Verlag Peter Meili, Schaffhausen 1991, ISBN 3-85805-153-5 .
  8. Dieter Kläy, Ulrich Zoelly (ed.): Security - in a nutshell. Festschrift for the 75th birthday of former Federal Councilor Rudolf Friedrich. Verlag NZZ, Zurich 1998, ISBN 3-85823-747-7 .
  9. ^ Rudolf Friedrich: UN: Basis of the fight against terrorism. Liberal press service, December 13, 2001.
  10. "Golden Age - Old and Young Strong Together" ( Memento from September 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 271 kB) , media conference of the FDP Switzerland, August 18, 2003.
  11. Rudolf Friedrich: Making the Necessary Possible ( Memento of July 20, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 66 kB) In Jürg Altwegg (Ed.): Helvetia in the field. Nagel & Kimche in Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, Vienna, 2004, ISBN 3-312-00349-0 .
  12. The FDP is entering the election campaign with three initiatives In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung . October 30, 2006
  13. ^ Rudolf Friedrich: Where is the Federal Council drifting? In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung . 4th October 2007.
  14. ^ "Individual propaganda overboarded" In: Der Landbote . October 24, 2007.
  15. Sponsorship for mountain communities .
  16. ^ Swiss Society for Foreign Policy ( Memento of October 7, 2008 in the Internet Archive ).
  17. Foundation Terrafina Upper Engadine .
  18. Sigrid Weigel, Birgit R. Erdle: Fifty Years After: On the Post-History of National Socialism , vdf Hochschulverlag AG, Zurich 1995, p. 473 ( online in the Google book search)
predecessor Office Successor
Fritz Honegger Member of the Swiss Federal Council
1983 - 1984
Elisabeth Kopp