The beginnings of WIZO in Switzerland go back to the year 1924. A small group of Zionist women was founded in St. Gall by Miss Fanny Hauser (later Mrs. Fay Grove-Pollak), and a second one in Zurich by Dr. Augusta Weldler-Steinberg. In 1929, 1931, 1937 and 1939, World WIZO Conferences took place in Switzerland. Delegates to the last pre-WWII Conference of August, 1939 in Geneva remembered the tense atmosphere. Some of the delegates were prevented from returning by the outbreak of WWII, in September, 1939. Many others did return to their countries only to find death at the end of their journey. During the war years chaverot, in addition to their work for Palestine, were actively engaged in relief work. Towards the end of WWII, some chaverot succeeded in fleeing the Nazis and reaching Switzerland, including chaverot from WIZO Hungary. In 1957, Swiss WIZO joined the Swiss Zionist Federation. At that time, with its 3,198 members, Swiss WIZO was acknowledged as the strongest Zionist body in Switzerland.
It must be mentioned that the children of many WIZO chaverot went on ‘Aliyah’ or have visited Israel for shorter or longer periods. Sons and daughters of many of our members were in Israel as volunteers after the Six Day War. And, though not many of the older generation saw their way to the realization of their old dream to settle in Israel, the number of young people from Switzerland who, to our joy, are today ‘olim’ in Israel, are the best proof of the decades of our Zionist endeavors.
The Swiss WIZO Federation has been supporting the umbrella organization actively and financially for 90 years. In our projects, we focus on daycare for small children and on education for youth at risk.
These are the current projects, supported or even fully funded by the Swiss WIZO Federation donors:
Eva & Paul Wyler Day Car Center, Nahariya
Ruth Rappaport/Bertha Netter Day Care Center, Haifa
Shoshana Rappaport Day Care Center, Neve Sha‘anan, Haifa
Kaethe Goldschmidt Day Care Center, Neve David, Haifa
Bruce & Ruth Rappaport Day Care Center, Ramat Alon, Haifa
Michal Modai Day Care Center, Haifa
Givatayim Day Care Center, Givatayim
Charlotte Beecham & Jacqueline Lewish (KH) Day Care Center, Acco
Ruth Rappaport Day Care Center, Ramot, Jerusalem
Oscar & Nicole Ghez Day Care Center, Lapid
Roger & Francoise Varenne Day Care Center, Holon
Henry Gildred Day Care Center, Remez, Holon
Hadera-Peer Day Care Center, Hadera
Bruce & Ruth Rappaport Day Care Center, Sderot
WIZO Aviv, Mary Bendet Foundation, Anita & Hermann Goldberg-Johanannes Day Care Center, Shapira, Tel Aviv
Ken HaShalom (KH) Day Care Center, Beer Sheva
Ha'aganim (KH) Day Care Center, Netanya
Mark Stone (KH), Rechovot
Ma‘alot/Tarshiha Music Center