• Austria edition
 
Austrian of the week
Ute Bock, champion of the refugees
Photo: APA/ROLAND SCHLAGER

Ute Bock, champion of the refugees

Published: 20 Jun 2014 15:29 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 Jun 2014 15:29 GMT+02:00

Born in 1942 in Linz, Upper Austria, Bock first worked as an educator in a special school.  In 1969 she took up a position at a home for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Zohmanngasse, in Vienna's Favoriten district, eventually becoming the centre's director in 1976.

During the early 1990s, Austria's youth welfare office began to send increasing numbers of foreign youths to Zohmanngasse, many of whom had been turned away from other centres.  Bock realized these young people were in dire need of help and began to assist them with legal advice, housing and counseling.

In 1999, the Zohmanngasse hostel was raided by police. Thirty young Africans were arrested for drug trafficking, along with Bock herself, who was accused of banditry and trafficking.  The charges against her were eventually dropped, although she was subsequently banned from accommodating Africans at the hostel.

Bock then began to organize and supervise the establishment of private residential communities, which she funded with her own money.  Since retiring in 2000 she's devoted herself entirely to her refugee projects.

Currently her accommodation centres house over 350 asylum seekers.  Bock also provides counseling services, legal advice and a mailing address for a further 1000 refugees.

These services are funded by donations and fundraising events – including concerts, festivals and even a campaign known as Bock auf Bier, in which the price of beer was increased and the extra revenue raised was passed on to Bock.

Bock is the recipient of multiple awards, including the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Refugee Award in 2000, the Bruno Kreisky Award in 2002 and the International Human Award in 2003.

Last year, President Heinz Fischer presented Bock with the Golden Order of Merit of the Republic of Austria.

She's also been the subject of two movies: the documentary, Bock for President (2009) and The Crazy World of Ute Bock (2010).

In mid-December 2013, Bock suffered a stroke and was hospitalized.  Since May however, she's been back at work on her latest housing project.

For more information about how to help Ute Bock, see http://www.fraubock.at/home/

Staff reporter (news@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Lawyers for German student lodge appeal
Josef S in court. Photo: APA/GEORG HOCHMUTH

Lawyers for German student lodge appeal

Lawyers for the 23-year-old German student sentenced on Tuesday to 12 months in prison have announced they will lodge an appeal against the verdict. READ  

Robots could take half of jobs in Austria
A robot employee of the future? Photo: APA

Robots could take half of jobs in Austria

More than half of the jobs currently being done in Austria could be taken over by robots in the next 20 years, according to a think-tank. READ  

Fischer urges coalition to end 'bickering'
Heinz Fischer. Photo: APA

Fischer urges coalition to end 'bickering'

President Heinz Fischer has said he is concerned that the coalition between the Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the conservative People's Party (ÖVP) will come to an end after the next election. READ  

Lugner and Spatzi prepare for engagement
Richard Lugner and 'Spatzi'. Photo: APA/NEUMAYR/MMV

Lugner and Spatzi prepare for engagement

Final preparations are under way for the engagement party of octogenarian Austrian construction entrepreneur Richard Lugner to Cathy Schmitz, also known as Spatzi on August 1st in Velden, Carinthia. READ  

Prison terms for illegal cigarette manufacturers
An Austrian court. File photo: APA/Pfarrhofer

Prison terms for illegal cigarette manufacturers

In what the judge described as the largest financial criminal case ever tried in Austria, the regional court of Wels (Upper Austria), convicted five out of six defendants on Wednesday for illegally manufacturing cigarettes. READ  

Teenager dies after jet-ski accident
File photo: APA/ÖAMTC

Teenager dies after jet-ski accident

A 13-year-old boy who was seriously injured in a jet-ski accident earlier this month in Lower Austria died on Tuesday. READ  

Last-minute wage deal for rail workers
ÖBB train. Photo: APA

Last-minute wage deal for rail workers

Railway workers and employees will receive around a 2.4 percent wage increase as of July 1st. This compromise between the unions and the employers was found overnight Wednesday, shortly ahead of a planned strike. READ  

Israeli players attacked during training match
Maccabi Haifa players. File photo: APA/Krug

Israeli players attacked during training match

Pro-Palestinian protesters have disrupted a football match in Bischofshofen, Austria between the Israeli club, Maccabi Haifa, and French team, Lille. READ  

Allegations of police racism in Tyrol
Police check. Photo: APA

Allegations of police racism in Tyrol

A police officer in Tyrol has raised serious allegations about the conduct of his colleagues, claiming derisive remarks about immigrants, "structural racism", discriminatory treatment of foreigners and "jokes about Turks and Africans" are all part of everyday life. READ  

Krauss 'not a role model for students'
FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache said the appointment was "a signal of renewal". Photo: APA/Schneider

Krauss 'not a role model for students'

The nomination of 21-year-old law student Maximilian Krauss to the post of Deputy President of Vienna's City School Board by the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) has drawn heavy criticism from other parties. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Plans unveiled for bike trail along former Iron Curtain
International
Search on for Austrian WWI memorabilia
Politics
The former finance minister embroiled in a corruption scandal
Society
The best part of living abroad: 'Breaking down barriers'
Gallery
Vienna's Ukrainian community gathers to mourn crash victims
Culture
An American falls in love with Vienna's gelateria
National
The Ukrainians who protest every month outside the OSCE head office
Travel & Tourism
Where is the world's best wine list?
Travel & Tourism
Treat yourself to an Austrian spa experience
Travel & Tourism
Austrians love to get nude on the beach
Gallery
The week in pictures: July 6th - 12th
International
Pez sends supply of sweets to Norwegian boy with autism
Society
Is the free tabloid press killing quality journalism?
National
Austrian of the Week: Lena Hoschek
National
What Google Trends reveals about Austria
Society
Puppies in peril
National
Lipizzaner horses roam Vienna's Burggarten
Society
Austrian of the Week: Heinz Fischer
Society
Private detective snoops on 'begging mafia'
National
Nine things Google wants to tell you about Austria
Health
Foodies find good choice in Vienna's markets
Culture
World's best body painters show their stuff
National
Foreign names limit job chances
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

256
jobs available