Krafft-Bonar was born in a family of a pharmacist in city Aigle, canton Vaud, Switzerland, in June 15, 1869. He graduated from school in Laussane, in 1888, and then he studied theology in Lozano, Berlin, Paris till 1893. From 1893 to 1919 he was spiritual director (clergyman) in different settlements of Switzerland. Later he left the church and completely devoted himself to the Armenian question and the solution of number of problems of Armenian genocide survivors. He got married in 1894, had 4 children – 3 daughters and a son, who also joined to activities of Armenophiles, as their father.
Krafft-Bonnard started his Armenophile activities from 1896, when he had a speech on horrifying consequences of Hamidian massacres in village Begnin, Switzerland, where he was pastor. Impressed with the stunning appeal of Krafft-Bonnard several Swiss families expressed willingness to adopt Armenian children who became orphans after Armenian massacres in the Ottoman Empire. Soon with the efforts of Bonnard an institute was found in village Begnin called “Armenian hearth”, the aim of which was to shelter and take care of hundreds of Armenian refugees in Switzerland. Cooperating with George Cote, the founder of Armenophile activities in Switzerland, Krafft-Bonar was actively engaged in works of organization “Swiss society of migration and patronage of Armenian orphans” and became its president from 1896.
About 2000 Armenian orphans were sheltered in Swiss orphanages from 1898 to 1922.
In addition to orphan care, the great missionary actively organized and implemented series of activities improving the conditions of Armenian survivors. In 1896 on Bonnard’s direct initiative an assembly of Swiss cantons was held in Laussane, where it was decided to provide humanitarian aid to Armenian population of Ottoman Empire. In the meantime, again with active efforts of Krafft-Bonnard “Swiss organization of Armenian Relief” was founded, which continued its activities up to 1922.
As the head secretary of the “Union of Swiss Committees of Friends of Armenia” Krafft-Bonnard steadily appealed to the leaders of Great powers concerned about the destiny of Armenian nationals of Ottoman Empire. On October 31, 1919, Bonnard sent a telegram to president of USA W. Wilson in which he was asking “to take the martyring nation under his protection”. From 1920 he was member of executive committee of “International League of Armenophiles”, and persistently appealed to League of Nations to advocate the Armenian question.
Krafft-Bonnard wrote series of works devoted to Armenian question. In one of his works he writes: “If any Armenian asks you for help, don’t treat him as a beggar, but extend a helping hand to him with respect and excuse, because we must not disavow from our responsibilities”.
AGMI issued a special postcard with limited edition dedicated to the 140th anniversary of Krafft-Bonnard.
Here is the selected list of editions by Antony Krafft-Bonnard
Here you can find the text in French. Click on download.