Bruno Kreisky Foundation

for Human Rights

Österreichische Volkshilfe / Austrian Social Ministry (Austria)

The Austrian Social Ministry was founded in 1921 by SOCIETAS to combine various aid, welfare, and women’s organizations into one union.

In 1934 the aid work of the union was halted when all socialist organizations were banned. The organization continued to run secretly through the support of a Swiss workers’ relief organization. Terror and persecution by the Nazis made further aid efforts, impossible over the following years.

In 1947 the new Austrian Social Ministry succeeded the earlier organization. It was re-created as a non-partisan, community service oriented welfare organization. Among others, the first executive committee was comprised of: Luise Renner, Hilda Schärf, Bruno Kreisky, Josef Afritsch, and Willi Forst. One of the first acts of the Social Ministry was to organize post-war relief from foreign countries.
In the 1980s, the "Austrian package campaign" of the Austrian People's Aid began. High-quality food packages were sent to developing countries and famine-prone areas. School and seed packages will be added later.

In the 1980s the Austrian Social Ministry put the “Austrian package campaign” into place. Packages filled with provisions were sent to developing countries and areas with high starvation rates. Later on the efforts included packages of school supplies, and seeds as well. After the implementation of martial law in Poland between 1981 and 1983 thousands of Polish people fled to Austria. The Social Ministry coordinated aid work and a counseling center in Vienna. In 1991, after a period of reorientation in the federal government, the personnel were changed and reorganized. Networking throughout Austria, and worldwide gave the organization a new status, which officially made them a nationwide, public organization.
In 1991, after a phase of reorientation, the federal office was reorganized and reorganized. Austria-wide and international networking gains new importance, nationwide public relations work is promoted.

In 2003 and 2004 the „Bruno Kreisky Campaign“ for „a humane asylum law“ began. Margit Fischer became a prominent patron of the Social Ministry for the campaign „poverty concerns all of us.“ Many other programs were also initiated during this time period. „Hospitals on wheels“ was begun in North Albania, as well as a program in Burkina Faso to teach children the alphabet. The development of rural areas in the West Sarah helped people who had to live for over 30 years in camps in the Algerian desert. They Social Ministry also organized medical aid for women, expectant mothers, and infants. These are just a few of the many examples of innumerable aid projects that the Austrian Social Ministry created. Campaigns like „poverty hurts“ or European campaigns like „Save Our Social Europe“ as well as catastrophe help campaigns through calls for donations to Haiti and Japan were all programs initiated by the Austrian Social Ministry.