Karl Schenk

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Karl Schenk
President of Switzerland
In office
1 January 1893 – 31 December 1893
Preceded byWalter Hauser
Succeeded byEmil Frey
In office
1 January 1885 – 31 December 1885
Preceded byEmil Welti
Succeeded byAdolf Deucher
In office
1 January 1878 – 31 December 1878
Preceded byJoachim Heer
Succeeded byEmil Welti
In office
1 January 1874 – 31 December 1874
Preceded byPaul Cérésole
Succeeded byJohann Jakob Scherer
In office
1 January 1871 – 31 December 1871
Preceded byJakob Dubs
Succeeded byEmil Welti
In office
1 January 1865 – 31 December 1865
Preceded byJakob Dubs
Succeeded byMelchior Josef Martin Knüsel
Member of the Swiss Federal Council
In office
12 December 1863 – 18 July 1895
Preceded byJakob Stämpfli
Succeeded byEduard Müller
Personal details
Born1 December 1823
Bern, Switzerland
Died18 July 1895 (aged 71)
Bern, Switzerland
Political partyFree Democratic Party

Johann Karl Emmanuel Schenk (1 December 1823 – 18 July 1895) was a Swiss pastor, politician, and member of the Swiss Federal Council from 1863 until his death in 1895. Serving for 31 years and 218 days, he was the longest-serving member in the Federal Council. Later in life he became one of the first leaders of the Swiss Red Cross.

Life and work[edit]

Schenk was born in 1823 in Bern, Switzerland, as the son of Christian Schenk. At the age of eleven, he became an orphan and lived in Korntal (Germany). From 1839 to 1842 he attended school in Bern and then studied theology. He completed his studies at the age of 22. In 1845 he became vicar and later pastor at Schüpfen. In 1848, he married Elise Kähr. The couple had nine children, two of which died at young age.

He was elected to the Swiss Federal Council on 12 December 1863 and died in office 31 years later, on 18 July 1895. He was affiliated with the Free Democratic Party of Switzerland.

During his time in office he held the following departments:

He was President of the Confederation six times in 1865, 1871, 1874, 1878, 1885 and 1893.

Schenk also served as President of the Swiss Red Cross from 1873–1882.

Death and legacy[edit]

Schenk died 1895 in Bern, and was buried at Bremgartenfriedhof.

The local museum of Langnau im Emmental "Chüechlihus" includes a section on him. Schenkstrasse in Bern is named after him. Further, the house at Spitalgasse 4 in the city of Bern is named Karl-Schenk-Haus and its passage Karl-Schenk-Haus-Passage or Karl-Schenk-Passage.


  1. ^ "Frühere Departmentsvorsteher/Innen".

Further reading[edit]

  • Rossel, Virgile (1909). Un magistrat républicain : le conseiller fédéral Schenk (in French). Delémont.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by President of the Council of States
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the Swiss Federal Council
Succeeded by