Bruno Kreisky Foundation

for Human Rights

August Janisch (Austria)

Father August Janisch was born in 1942 in St. Ruprecht an der Raab. From 1980 until 2000 he was a priest in the town of Steiermark. Janisch was also the Diocese-Director and was in charge of all mission work. In 1989 there was an influx of refugees from the former Soviet states. He was one of the first in his town to raise money to help these people and became known in Austria as the "Refugee-Father." In the beginning, he helped them directly from his budget as a priest. In December of 1993 he was injured by a letter-bomb directed at him by someone who disapproved of the focus of his charitable works. When the perpetrator was released from jail he forgave him for his actions. He was awarded the Bruno Kreisky Prize in 1995 for his work with refugees. Janisch also became a vocal critic of Austrian policies regarding refugees.

After 2000 he took a sabbatical year in Stift Rein and then entered the monastery of Zisterzienser shortly thereafter. He is currently still fighting for human rights, and is working for the Catholic Dean in his region. When interviewed in 2009 by the Kleine- Zeitung, Father Janisch stressed the importance of remembering to give to others, especially those who have been treated unfairly by colonialism and to not let our economic sensibilities ruin our better judgment as people. He is currently in charge of public works, as well as tourism and culture at the monastery. (