Gruppe Olten

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The Gruppe Olten (Olten Group) was a club of Swiss writers who convened at Olten's "Bahnhofbuffet" (Swiss expression for a railway station restaurant) located in the canton of Solothurn in the Swiss plateau. It was founded in the aforementioned railway station restaurant and existed from 1970 to 2002.

The group counted 22 famous former members of the Swiss writer’s club (Schweizerischer Schriftstellerverein, or SSV). Prominent writers like Max Frisch, Adolf Muschg, Peter Bichsel and Friedrich Dürrenmatt had left the SSV (which they considered to be unprogressive) and became members of the Gruppe Olten.

One of the reasons that led to the separation was that the SSV president Maurice Zermatten had translated into French the official anti-communist “Civil Defense Book”, which commanded citizens to observe and distrust each other and that was distributed among all Swiss households during the Cold War.

For the founding members of the group, writing was inseparably associated with political commitment. They specified the goal to "build a democratic-socialist society" in their bylaws. That goal was discarded in 2000, causing the departure of Mariella Mehr. The remaining part of the article read: "It supports nationwide and international political attempts that involve the fair distribution of goods, democratizing economy and public institutions, saving the world from military and civil destruction, and the realization of human rights."

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