Swiss Schiller Foundation

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Gift in honor of the author Hermann Hiltbrunner , 1945

The Swiss Schiller Foundation in Zurich is a non-profit foundation that was founded in 1905 - the 100th year of Friedrich Schiller's death . The purpose of the foundation is to honor “important works of Swiss poetry with annual prizes”, to promote “talented Swiss writers” and to support “writers in need and their families” (quoted from the 2004 statutes). Until the creation of the Swiss Federal Literature Prize in 2012, the Swiss Schiller Foundation was the only Swiss institution to award prizes and grants to authors in all four national languages .


1880: Prehistory 1 - Post from Weimar

In 1880, Gottfried Keller and Conrad Ferdinand Meyer , the most famous German-speaking Swiss writers at the time, received letters in which the German Schiller Foundation asked them to help set up a Swiss branch of the foundation. This foundation had set itself the task of promoting and supporting German-speaking writers since 1859. Meyer donated a higher amount, but rejected the project. Keller also refused, clearly pointing out that all writers in Romance Switzerland would then be excluded.

1882: Prehistory 2 - From a gymnastics club to a reading circle

Hans Bodmer, a member of the Hottingen gymnastics club , founded the Hottingen reading circle in 1882 at the age of 19 with some friends . The common goal was "in a free association, by subscribing to the first periodicals that circulate regularly, by acquiring solid books, to make friends with useful scientific knowledge by acquiring valuable books with the masterpieces and the latest publications of our literature. Besides ... on the way of reading to the ennobling of mind and spirit, one must contribute what gymnastics to the steeling of strength ”(quoted in Bleuler-Waser, Zurich 1907). The idea was enthusiastically received: by 1895 the reading circle already had over 1,000 members. Bodmer, president of the reading circle until shortly before it was dissolved in 1941, also founded the Literary Club Zurich in 1902 within the Hottingen reading circle, which still exists today.

The foundation on the occasion of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Schiller's death

In October 1904 Bodmer also received a letter from Weimar, which was supposed to move him to found a subsidiary of the German Schiller Foundation in Zurich , ideally on the occasion of the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of Friedrich Schiller's death . Federal Councilor Ludwig Forrer , the then head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs , like Bodmer, supported this idea in principle, but emphasized that there had to be a separate Schiller Foundation in Switzerland that was independent of the German Schiller Foundation. Bodmer rejected the offer from Weimar, emphasizing the special aspect of Swiss literature, that of being trilingual. (According to the statutes of the German Schiller Foundation, only German-speaking, i.e. German-Swiss, writers could have been supported.)

Bodmer and his reading circle Hottingen, together with Forrer, achieved that the Federal National Council not only approved a celebratory edition of Wilhelm Tell , which was distributed to 210,000 schoolchildren. They also succeeded in getting the National Council to provide CHF 50,000 for the establishment of a Swiss Schiller Foundation, on condition that “at least an equal amount is raised from other ... funds”. This is because so far "the planned federal contribution has not yet satisfied the Swiss nation's duty of gratitude to the great poet's manes ". The committee quickly established to set up a fund for a Swiss Schiller Foundation had great success with its collection. The Schiller celebration on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of death in Zurich was organized by the Hottingen Reading Circle and was officially hosted “in favor of the Swiss Schiller Foundation”. Schiller's Wilhelm Tell was also the focus of Louis Forrer's celebratory speech: "In the second act, the second scene, the Rütli oath, it is written, the high song of our freedom, the political catechism of our youth, the ideal constitution of the Swiss Confederation." This 9 May 1905 is therefore considered to be the day the Swiss Schiller Foundation was founded.

As early as November 1905, the result of the collections and donations was more than double the amount requested by the National Council, because over 100,000 Swiss francs had already been raised. The statutes of the new Swiss Schiller Foundation were laid down in November 1905; in December the Federal Council elected the foundation's supervisory board. At the beginning of January 1909 he finally approved the statutes, with which the foundation was also legally established.

Support and honor at the same time

In the early days of the Swiss Schiller Foundation, its work, in accordance with the statutes, was geared towards the supportive aspect of writers in need, but who should have already earned merit. The honorable character was therefore equally important. (In the first decades the foundation was the only Swiss institution that set itself this task.) Members were recruited in order to be able to continuously provide financial means for this purpose. The highest number of members was reached in 1931 with around 8,400 members. Extraordinary donations from the federal government , cantons , municipalities , companies and private individuals as well as inheritances also helped. In this way, literary estates could be purchased and pensions for needy survivors could be financed. Even the publication of literary works was occasionally supported, for example the edition of the collected works by Jeremias Gotthelf .

Focus on promotion and honor

But even writers who were not in need should be honored, especially since since the second half of the 20th century there were more and more official institutions that had taken on the task of pure support: the Swiss Writers' Association (SSV) , die large libraries, the public sector , but also other foundations relieved the Swiss Schiller Foundation. And the Swiss Literary Archives had taken over the purchase of literary estates .

In addition to the Great Schiller Prize and the other prizes and awards of the Swiss Schiller Foundation's own, German-speaking juries nominated the winners of the Schiller Prize of the Zürcher Kantonalbank and, from 1924 to 2003, the Welti Prize winners .

Awards - Honorary Gifts - Prizes

The foundation awarded prize money from 1908 (1906?) And between 1920 and 2012 roughly every five years (a total of twenty times) the Grand Schiller Prize and annual literary prizes , which honored either the entire work of an author or an individual work. The aim was to encourage both unknown and well-known writers to continue writing their texts. In the course of its history, the foundation also awarded a large number of endowments, small and large grants and support contributions, and pensions for writers or their survivors. In 2012, the Swiss Confederation began to award national literary prizes itself, which meant that the foundation's prizes lost their raison d'etre. In order to remain true to the activity with which it has made a name for itself, the foundation created the Terra Nova Prize in 2013 . It can not only be given to authors, but also to translators.

Until 2012, the foundation honored the selected writers with up to CHF 100,000 per year.A few examples are listed here to show the range of funding measures:

Total works prices

Overall work prizes of the Swiss Schiller Foundation (in author vitae such as the “Literature Prize” or “Schiller Prize of the Swiss Schiller Foundation” or “Swiss Schiller Prize”), endowed with up to CHF 10,000, received:

Mario Agliati (1992), Ernest Ansermet (1964), Renato P. Arlati (1996), Claude Aubert (1958), Grethe Auer (1928), Albert Bächtold (1971), Emil Balmer (1948), Daniel Baud-Bovy (1928 ), Ulrich Becher (1976), Jean-Luc Benoziglio (1998), Maja Beutler (1983), Piero Bianconi (1979), Peter Bichsel (1987), S. Corinna Bille (1974), Ruth Blum (1965), Franz Böni (1989), Léon Bopp (1967), Beat Brechbühl (1999), Jakob Bührer (1966), Hermann Burger (1988), Ernst Burren (1997), Ugo Canonica (1995), Pierre Chappuis (1997), Jacques Chenevière (1959 ), Charly Clerc (1956), Jeanlouis Cornuz (1991), Pierre Courthion (1959), Anne Cuneo (1979), Flurin Darms (1974), Hans Leopold Davi (2001), Martin R. Dean (1994), François Debluë ( 2004), Claude Delarue (2003), Ursicin Gion G. Derungs (1999), Adelheid Duvanel (1988), Albert Ehrismann (1975), Fritz Enderlin (1954), Alfred Fankhauser (1953), Remo Fasani (1975), Heinrich Federer (1926), Anna Felder (1998), Jean-Claude Fontanet (1990), François Fosca (1963), Dieter Fringeli (1993), Max Frisch (1955), Bertil Galland (1986), Edmond Gilliard (1955), Karl Grunder (1946), Hanspeter Gschwend (2000), Georges Haldas (1972), Vic Hendry (1992), Jean Hercourt ( 1960), Hans Rudolf Hilty (1985), Federico Hindermann (2003), Franz Hohler (1991), Erwin Jaeckle (1969), Gotthard Jedlicka (1958), Hanna Johansen (2002), Göri Klainguti (2005), John Knittel (1928 ), Adolf Koelsch (1927), Joseph Vital Kopp , Ágota Kristóf (2005), Monique Laederach (2000), Charles-François Landry (1957), Cécile Lauber (1964), Gertrud Leutenegger (1986), Roger Lewinter (1990), Fritz Liebrich (1932), Horia Liman (1993), Hans Manz (1994), Otto Marchi (1990), Kurt Marti (1986), Pierre-Louis Matthey (1954 and 1969), Niklaus Meienberg (1993), Gerhard Meier (1986 ), Helen Meier (2000), Jacques Mercanton (1971), Michel Mettler (2006), EY Meyer (1984), Adolf Muschg (1988), Walter Muschg (1959), Paul Nizon (1982), Giorgio Orelli (1974), Rose-Marie Pagnard (1999), Erica Pedretti (1995), Oscar Peer (1 996), Jean-Paul Pellaton (1994), Georges Piroué (1973), Max Pulver (1952), Kuno Raeber (1989), Marcel Raymond (1968), Josef Reinhart (1952), Albert Rheinwald (1932 and 1956), Gustave Roud (1970), Denis de Rougemont (1962), Max Rychner (1953), Léon Savary (1960), Piero Scanziani (1997), NO Scarpi (1965), Walter Schenker (1983), Hansjörg Schertenleib (1988), Hansjörg Schneider (2003), Monique Schwitter (2006), Robert Seidel (1932), Fritz Senft (1984), Walther Siegfried (1924), Gerold Späth (1983), Henry Spiess (1919), Otto Spinas (1963), Jean Starobinski (1961 and 1975), Albert Steffen (1925), Jörg Steiner (1995), Victor Stupan (1976), Pierre-Alain Tâche (1975), Georg Thürer (1961), Robert de Traz (1924), Gilbert Trolliet (1968), Benjamin Vallotton (1927), Walter Vogt (1972), Alexandre Voisard (1994), Jean-Bernard Vuillème (1995), Jean Vuilleumier (1978), John Friedrich Vuilleumier (1968), Otto F. Walter (1978 and 1989), Silja Walter (1956 and 1992), Albert J. Welti (1954), Markus Werner (2005), Urs Widmer (1985 and 2004), Carl Friedrich Wiegand (1927), Heinrich Wiesner (1973), Alfred Wild (1971), Otto Wirz (1945), Laure Wyss (1998), Yvette Z'Graggen (1996) , Henri de Ziegler (1929 and 1965), Hans Zulliger (1949).

Single work prices

Individual work prizes from the Swiss Schiller Foundation, endowed with up to CHF 10,000, were awarded to:

Kurt Aebli for ant hunt (2004), Elisabeth Aman for Das Vermächtnis (1952), Jürg Amann for Am Ufer des Flusses (2001), Jürg Beeler for Die Liebe (2002), Donata Berra for Santi quattro coronati (1993), Peter Bichsel for Ms. Blum actually wants to get to know the milkman (1964) and for Cherubin Hammer and Cherubin Hammer (1999), Hans Boesch for Der Kreis (1998), for Der Sog (1988) and for The Fly Trap (1969), Aurelio Buletti for Trenta racconti brevi (1984) and for E la fragile vita sta nel crocchio (2006), Carl Jacob Burckhardt for Gestalten und Mächte (1942), Erika Burkart for Geist der Fluren (1958) and for her lyrical work (1971), Pietro De Marchi for Replica (2007), Walter Matthias Diggelmann for acquittal for Isidor Ruge (1967), Jürg Federspiel for oranges and deaths (1962) and for Museum des Hasses. Days in Manhattan (1970), Dieter Forte for On the Other Side of the World (2005), Eleonore Frey for Aus Übersee (2001), Ursula Fricker for Fliehende Wasser (2004), Max Frisch for Jürg Reinhart (1935), Zsuzsanna Gahse for through and through, Müllheim / Thur in three chapters (2004), Christoph Geiser for warning for low-level pilots (1974), for Grünsee (1978) and for over water. Passages (2004), Kurt Guggenheim for Seven Days (1936), for Wilder Urlaub (1942), for We Were Our Four (1950) and for Sandkorn for Sandkorn (1960), Rudolf Haegni for his folk poems (1949), Sophie Haemmerli -Marti for Mis Aargäu (1939), Reto Hänny for Am Boden des Kopfes, Confusions of a Central European in Central Europe (1991), Christian Haller for Trilogie des Erinnerns (2007), Eveline Hasler for Novemberinsel (1980), Hermann Hesse for Neue Gedichte ( 1937) and for Das Glasperlenspiel (1944), Silvio Huonder for Adalina (1998), Thomas Hürlimann for Forty Roses (2007) and for Das Gartenhaus (1990), Max Huwyler for De Wind hed gcheert (1994), Meinrad Inglin for Grand Hotel Excelsior (1929), for Youth of a People (1934) and for Schweizererspiegel (1939), Gilberto Isella for Corridoio polare ( 2007), for Le vigilie incustodite (1989) and for Discordo (1994), Ágota Kristóf for La preuve (1988) , Tim Krohn for Dreigroschenkabinett (1998), Silvana Lattmann for Fessura (19 84) and Malâkut (1997), Cécile Lauber for Die Wandlung (1930), Maria Lauber for Chüngold (1951), Hugo Loetscher for wastewater, a report (1964), Leopoldo Lonati (2006), Cécile Ines Loos for Matka Boska (1930 ), Carl Albert Loosli for Mys Dörfli (1910), Jean-Georges Lossier for Haute Cité (1943), Catherine Lovey for L'Homme interdit (2006), Hans Manz for Die Vigilance of the Sleeper (1994), Herbert Meier for Relatives ( 1963), Klaus Merz for Los (2005), Albert Meyer for Homer bärndütsch (year?), Hans Mühlestein (1906), Adolf Muschg for Im Sommer des Hasen (1966), Pericle Patocchi for Colombes délivrées (1942) and for Pure Perte (1960), Jacques Probst for Huit monologues (2006), Fabio Pusterla for Concessione all'inverno (1986), for Pietra sangue (2000) and for Corpo stellare (2011), René Regenass for Portrait of a Porter (1980), Charles Ferdinand Ramuz for Aimé Pache, peintre vaudois (1920) and for Terre du ciel (1922), Alice Rivaz for Nuages ​​dans la main (1942) and for L'al phabet du matin (1969), Theres Roth-Hunkeler for Erzähl die Nacht (2001), Denis de Rougemont for Le paysan du Danube (1934) and for Penser avec les mains (1937), Tresa Rüthers-Seeli for Jeu sai e sai da nuot / I know and know of nothing (2004), Wanda Schmid for Friedhofsgeflüster (2000), Margrit Schriber for view framed (1977), Ruth Schweikert for eyes closed (1999), Gerold Späth for Stilles Terrain am See (1992), Beat Sterchi for Blösch (1984), Alain Claude Sulzer for A Perfect Waiter (2005), José-Flore Tappy for Hangars (2007), Leo Tuor for Settembrini - Veta e meinis (2007), Robert Walser for Poetenleben (1919), Albert J. Welti for Servet in Geneva (1931) and for Martha and the Nobody Sons (1948), Urs Widmer for Die Forschungsreise (1975), Jost Winteler for Tycho Pantander (1918), Verena Wyss for Versiegelte Zeit (1985) and for Verdecktes Spiel ( 1997), Maurice Zermatten for Le coeur inutile (1938), Emil Zopfi for Every Minute costs 33 francs (1978) and for Die Fabrikglocke , From the uprising of the Glarus textile printers (1992), Giuseppe Zoppi for Quando avevo le ali (1926), for Montagna (1932), for Mattino. Poemetto d'amore (1935) and for Azzurro sui monti (1937), Matthias Zschokke for A new neighbor (2002) and for Maurice with chicken (2006).


  • Hedwig Bleuler-Waser: Life and deeds of the reading circle Hottingen. From his birth to his 25th year of age 1882–1907. Reading circle Hottingen, Zurich 1907.
  • Swiss Schiller Foundation 1905–2005. Volume 1: Festschrift, Volume 2: Lists of awards. Editing by Estelle Schiltknecht and Ernst Nef. o. O. (Zurich), o. J. (2005).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. For details, see the prices of the Swiss Schiller Foundation 1908–2012 ( Memento of the original from March 3, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been 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 /