• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Ute Bock, champion of the refugees

Staff reporter · 20 Jun 2014, 15:29

Published: 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
Merkel wants to send back dud migrants
Photo: FNDE/Wikimedia

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, under fire at home over her refugees policy, called Saturday for Europe to secure deals with third countries to send back migrants who do not qualify for asylum.

Police officer run over by prisoner on day release
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

A police officer in Vienna is in a critical condition after being knocked down by a prisoner on day release who was riding a Yamaha motorbike at full speed.

Jealousy drives man to blow up ex-girlfriend with hand grenade
Prnjavor in northern Bosnia. Photo: Cuman/Wikipedia

A Bosnian man living in Austria travelled back to his homeland to blow up his ex-girlfriend with a hand grenade when he found out she was seeing somebody else.

Teenager dies in horror crash on Austria's Westautobahn
File photo: Jacktd/Wikimedia

One person has died and seven others are seriously injured after a horrific road accident on the Westautobahn (A1) in Lower Austria.

Taiwanese tourist rescued from Austrian mountain via WhatsApp
Dachstein. Photo: Wikipedia

A tourist from Taiwan who got lost on Austria’s Dachstein mountain was rescued after sending a friend in Hong Kong images via WhatsApp.

Man jailed for making hundreds of sex calls to teachers
Wels court. Photo: Austrian Justice Ministry

A 59-year-old man from Upper Austria has received a 15-month conditional prison sentence after he phoned hundreds of young female teachers and sexually harassed them.

Comedian sets sights on Austrian parliament
Roland Düringer. Photo: ORF

An Austrian comedian, Roland Düringer, has founded a new political party and says he plans to introduce it in time for Austria’s next parliamentary election.

Austrian election set for early December after 'gluegate'
Austrian parliament building. Photo: Wikimedia

Austria's parliament has approved December 4th as the new date for the presidential election re-run in a scandal-ridden race.

Lovesick football fan to blame for mass brawl in Linz
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

A football fan jilted by an ex-lover is thought to have started a fight between football supporters and a group of asylum seekers earlier this month in Linz.

Austrian far-right leader publishes drugs test
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: Facebook/Personal

The head of Austria's popular far-right Freedom Party, long subject to allegations he takes illegal drugs, has published results of tests that he said show he is clean.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Those surprising Austrians!
National
100 years since the last emperor's death
National
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Lifestyle
Have fun in September!
National
Der you learn Deutsch?
Culture
Delighted by the light
National
Beware these passport scams
National
Of course we skipped Oarsch
National
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
Yodel-ei-ei-eee--oh
Lifestyle
10 years after her escape from captivity
Politics
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
National
Another 10 million Euros for fresh elections
Gallery
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Society
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Gallery
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
National
It's gonna be hot... here's how to cope
National
Europe's ice cream capital
Travel
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
National
How to make friends in Austria
2,485
jobs available