|Absinthe Posters II - The 1908 Swiss Anti-Absinthe Referendum
|A remarkable and undocumented Schwyzerdütsch pro-absinthe poster for the July 1908 Swiss referendum, by
Gantner, published by Louis Bron, editor of the Swiss satirical revue "Le Guguss".
Primarily as a result of popular outrage generated by the Lanfray murders, the legislature of the canton of Vaud
voted to ban absinthe on 15th May 1906. A similar gory murder in Geneva (a man named Sallaz, after a drunken
absinthe binge, murdered his wife using both a hatchet and a revolver) galvanized public opinion there in favour of a
ban, and the Genevan legislature enacted a law similar to Vaud’s shortly afterwards. On 2nd February 1907 the
national legislature voted to ban absinthe, and even its imitations. The July 1908 referendum was held to ratify this
decision and enshrine the ban in the Swiss constitution.
The eventual vote in this referendum was 241 078 to 139 699 in favour of the ban. Article 32 was added to the Swiss
constitution and absinthe was forbidden in Switzerland. The law actually went into effect on 7th October 1910.
A graphically identical poster, but with a different text in French patois, is in the collection of the Motiers Museum.
A scan can be seen in the PDF file below.
Click on the Adobe PDF icon to see an annotated translation of the pro-absinthe text.
A similar fountain to that illustrated in
the poster at the Motiers Museum.
Click on the image to enlarge.
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