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Free admission (collection).


Until the mid-1970s, young women were forced to work in Swiss factories without any legal basis and against their will, without ever being compensated. One of them was Irma Frei (portrayed in SRF Kontext and SRF DOK). She and other victims told their story to Yves Demuth for the first time, which he has written about in a book («Schweizer Zwangsarbeiterinnen», 2023). Together with Sonja Matter, we discuss how industrial profit interests and forced labour measures worked together and why women in particular were exploited.

Panel discussion with:

Irma Frei, affected contemporary witness
Yves Demuth, Journalist at Beobachter magazine
Sonja Matter, Director of the Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (HLS)
Moderated by Matthias Ruoss, Historian

Yves Demuth

Sonja Matter

Matthias Ruoss


Contact: Matthias Ruoss (

Supported by the Gostli Foundation – Archive for the History of the Swiss Women’s Movement and the University of Bern.

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