• 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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Storms cause widespread damage
Photo: APA/Gindl

Storms cause widespread damage

Storms hit Austria overnight, with gusts of over 100 km/h in some places, and heavy rain. Fire departments were called out to remove fallen trees but so far no injuries have been reported. READ  

Storm Warning
Storm warnings over Austria
Photo: APA (Archiv/epa)

Storm warnings over Austria

Weather forecasters have issued major storm warnings in Austria for the early hours of Wednesday morning, as the former hurricane Gonzalo vents its remaining fury on the central European region. READ  

Community service for anti-Semitic posts
Photo: DPA/ARMIN WEIGEL

Community service for anti-Semitic posts

A 25-year-old man from Lower Austria has been ordered to do community service after posting hate speech on Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz’s Facebook page. READ  

Psychologist accused of sexual assault
Graz-Karlau prison. Photo: APA

Psychologist accused of sexual assault

A psychologist employed by the Ministry of Justice in Graz-Karlau prison is being investigated for sexual harassment. READ  

Saalfelden murder 'was Nazi ritual killing'
The murder happened in one of these apartments. Photo: APA/NEUMAYR

Saalfelden murder 'was Nazi ritual killing'

The murder of a young woman in Saalfelden, Pinzgau, on October 9th was not a case of domestic violence but a ritual killing - according to a report from broadcaster ORF Salzburg. READ  

Meth lab busted near Czech border
Photo: Austrian police

Meth lab busted near Czech border

A pair of early-retirees were caught running a meth production lab in Moorheilbad Harbach, close to the Czech border, according to police. READ  

Brazil v. Austria tickets sell out fast
Photo: APA (Archiv/epa)

Brazil v. Austria tickets sell out fast

An upcoming football fixture between former world champion Brazil and minnows Austria sold out all 48,500 tickets within 28 hours of going on sale. READ  

Hungary and Austria reach accord on refugees
Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner. Photo: APA (Archiv/Schlager)

Hungary and Austria reach accord on refugees

With increasing numbers of so-called illegal migrants arriving in Austria as refugees from war-torn places such as Syria, Iraq and North Africa, ministers in European countries are working to improve cooperation on dealing with the challenge. READ  

Carlos Slim increases stake in Telekom Austria
Carlos Slim. Photo: APA (Archiv/epa)

Carlos Slim increases stake in Telekom Austria

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has increased his stake in Telekom Austria, from 51 percent to 59.7 percent, he informed the Mexican stock exchange on Monday. READ  

Five dogs poisoned in Salzburg
Photo: APA

Five dogs poisoned in Salzburg

The city of Salzburg has responded to reports that dogs are being killed with poisoned bait by closing and screening the city’s dog zones and putting surveillance cameras in a park that is popular with dog walkers. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
International
Finding your favourite home foods in Austria
Gallery
Photo of the Week: Austrian Jagdkommando and his dog
Culture
Vienna Philharmonic receives major music prize
Gallery
What kind of Austria expat are you?
Health
Doctors launch campaign to challenge smoker's paradise
Culture
Happy Birthday, Udo Jürgens
Culture
Test your German skills with the odd word out quiz
Gallery
Ten noises that sound very different in German
National
Graz designer creates Dirndl and Lederhosen with a twist
Health
Sigmund Freud: 75 years after his death
Society
Coming home after 75 years with the Jewish Welcome Service
Health
Austrians can't stop smoking
Culture
Why Austria wants a divorce from Germany
Features
'A love of learning was vital'
National
The Vienna solar power plant that is also a nature reserve
National
Vienna exhibition on 50 years of Turkish guest workers
Politics
The unpopular finance minister defeated by tax reform
Features
'Suddenly you're just trying to get a sentence out'
Health
Key to happiness is 'making the right choices'
National
The Austrian office with a climbing wall and swimming pool
National
Six top tips to get a job in Austria
National
Danielle Spera on the mission of the Jewish Museum Vienna
National
Why Vienna is a 'hub for European jihadists'
Gallery
Horses rescued from burning barn
National
Why beggars are a problem for Vienna's street paper Augustin
Culture
'No one speak English to him!'
National
The grassroots group working to unite Muslims and Jews
Society
Pink Lake festival attracts LGBT visitors
Gallery
Weirdest spa treatments: Fancy a session of full-body cryotherapy?
Society
The question of begging in Austria
National
Naked cyclist faces charges and told to wear clothes
International
Cop surrounded; busts a few moves
Society
Church porn star faces charges
Tech
Austrian student launches class-action lawsuit against Facebook
Politics
Parliamentary speaker Prammer loses fight with cancer
National
Why Vienna is the capital of choice for spies
Society
Happy birthday, Arnie
Gallery
Pizzeria anarchists block traffic in street march
International
Centenary of Austria's declaration of war on Serbia
National
Eight cheap things to do in Vienna this summer
Features
'I came for a boy and stayed for the lifestyle'
Society
The Local's carnivore goes vegan
Gallery
The pop-up forest restaurant in Austria's most beautiful locations
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

279
jobs available