I have known Werner Wassermann for many years. His tall stature, his cheerful smile, his humor and his kind-hearted nature were part of the Gundeli program for many years. We kept bumping into each other, at this festival, at that event or simply on the street, as the "Momo" is practically around the corner from us. And he is still connected to Gundeli, especially with a voluntary position in an institution that has been quietly and calmly doing good deeds at Winkelriedplatz for a very long time: the Gundeli meeting point.

Dear Werni, you managed the Momo retirement and nursing home on Bruderholzstrasse for many years. Is there an outstanding experience that you remember from your many years in the profession?

I was able to meet many special people and had many events that I can't get out of my head. But one highlight was when we hoisted a 92-year-old wheelchair-bound lady onto the back of my microlight plane and I flew with her on an hour-long tour over Alsace. The lady told me that as a 16-year-old girl she was able to take a sightseeing flight for the first time at Basel's first airfield, "Sternenfeld," and that as a 32-year-old woman she climbed the Matterhorn.

Since when are you retired?

I retired in February 2016 at the age of 67.

Are you enjoying retirement?

Yes, I enjoy the time. My current wife opened her medical massage practice a year before I retired. When I retired, the practice grew and my wife can keep her many appointments because I can be there for our son, who is now 9 years old, and at the same time live my role as a househusband.

Gundeli hasn't let go of you yet: you're involved in volunteer work. To be precise, at Treffpunkt Gundeli and - I think recently - as president? What exactly does Treffpunkt Gundeli offer?

Our meeting place offers poor and lonely people in our society a warm room, the opportunity to eat healthy and cheap food 5 days a week, play games, read magazines (homeless people can also shower here), maintain contact with other people, as well as direct support (social work) and mediation with doctors or authorities, help with letters and tax returns and much more.

Why are you involved? Why did you get elected president?

Our dearest and best friend, Pia Weisskopf, was the first employed head of the department at the then “Meeting Point for the Unemployed” until her early death. Although I was able to fulfill my house husband duties and help out in the
Momo was no longer looking for a part-time job, this friendship with Pia “obliged” me to support “her” meeting place and “her” men.

What percentage of your commitment is?

At the moment that is about 15%, or about 6.5 hours a week

Your clients: can you describe them? Specifically: are they all long-term unemployed? Women? Men? Young? Old?

IV and old-age pensioners, people unable to work, people in a difficult phase of life,
2/3 homeless or otherwise completely impoverished people, 1/3 lonely people. 85% men and 15% women.

You also offer work assignments. What kind of work assignments are these usually?

Work assignments are mostly short-term assignments and only take place in conjunction with the job shop. Our people can no longer be placed in “normal” jobs. For this reason, we renamed our meeting point for the unemployed to Treffpunkt Gundeli a year ago

Do you know Seniors@Work?

I know Seniors@Work, when our chef fell ill during the first wave of corona, we even considered using this platform to find a temporary chef. Because the head of the department also caught the virus, we had to temporarily close our meeting place - so the request was no longer necessary.

Could it be that the Seniors@Work offer would help a client from the meeting point?

Of today's visitors to the meeting point, I don't think there is anyone there who can be placed. Perhaps (especially due to the economic consequences of the Corona crisis) this will change in the near future - in any case, we at the meeting point will keep this offer in mind.

Dear Werni, thank you very much for your great commitment and not least for this interview. You are doing good things. It's time we talked about it!

Stay healthy!


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