Franz Weber

"If all else fails, when all seems futile, if you feel despair over the misery of tortured animals, the destruction of nature and the disfigurement of our natural heritage, you can still turn to Fondation Franz Weber." - Franz Weber

Franz Weber was born on 27 July 1927 in Basel, Switzerland. After training as a salesman, in 1949 he decided to move to Paris to live as a poet and writer and take classes at the Sorbonne. He intended to become a journalist.

And for a while, that is the path he followed. In 1958, he founded the literary journal "La Voix des Poètes" [The Voice of Poets] with the poet and novelist Simone Chevallier. At that time, Franz Weber travelled the world as a reporter for the major German and Swiss weekly newspapers.


In 1965, a time when the idea of 'environmental protection' was still largely unknown to the general public, Franz Weber launched his first environmental campaign. The undertaking was a success: He managed to call a halt to a massive urbanisation project on the beautiful site of Surlej, in Upper Engadin, Switzerland, and ensured a higher level of protection for this area.
 
A few years later, in February 1972, he was called on to save the Lavaux vineyards on the edge of Lake Geneva. He founded the "Save Lavaux" association in the same year, alerted the public both in Switzerland and abroad, launched a popular initiative and had the protection of the site included in the Constitution of the Canton of Vaud.

In 1974, completely overwhelmed by calls for his help, Franz Weber abandoned 'ordinary' journalism to devote himself entirely to the protection of nature and animals. He left Paris and moved to Montreux in Switzerland, where he married and started a family. His daughter Vera was born in 1974.

In May 1975, Franz Weber founded the Fondation Franz Weber (FFW), of which he now is Honorary President. 
Since the 1970s, Franz Weber and his Fondation have led over 100 campaigns to protect animals and the environment in Switzerland and around the world.

 

"We need to leave something for our young people and our descendants."

Franz Weber

 

Recognition

1977      Annabelle Prix-Courage

1978      German Prize for the Protection of Nature

1979      German Medal for the Protection of the Environment

1981      European Prize for Land Use Planning 

1986      Hans-Adalbert-Schweigart Medal

1997      "Delphic Amphictyony" Medal (on behalf of the Council of Greek Town Delegates who governed the site)

2004      Order of Saint Sava (the highest award presented by the Serbian Orthodox Church)

2007      Tierwelt Prize for his life's work

2010      Franz Weber is named an honorary member of Pro Natura (Switzerland)