Bruno Kreisky Foundation

for Human Rights

August Janisch (Austria)

Father August Janisch was born in 1942 in St. Ruprecht an der Raab. From 1980 to 2000 he worked as a priest in Hartberg in eastern Styria and was also diocesan director of the Pontifical Mission Society. When refugees from the former Soviet states appeared in 1989, he was one of the first to raise funds for these people. He became known as "the refugee priest" and also helped out with funds from his budget as a priest. In December 1993 he became one of the victims of the letter bomb attacker Franz Fuchs, but Father Janisch forgave him when Fuchs was identified as the attacker ("Kurier" 03.12.2018). In 1995 he was awarded the Bruno Kreisky Prize for his work with refugees. He expressed his critical opinion regarding Austrian refugee policy on several occasions.

After a year of retreat to Rein Abbey (2000), he entered the Cistercian monastery. He still fights for human rights and works as a temporary pastor in his region. In a 2009 interview in the “Kleine Zeitung” he pointed out how important it is to give back things “that we in Europe, perhaps unjustly, destroyed through colonialism, with our economic structures, our know-it-all attitude” (“Kleine Zeitung” 05.04.2009). He is currently working on building work, but also on promoting tourism and the culture of his monastery (