Bruno Kreisky Foundation

for Human Rights

Christine Hubka and Gertrud Hennefeld (Austria)

Christine Hubka is a preacher at the Protestant Chuch in Traiskirchen. Because the church is located directly next to a refugee camp, they were frequently confronted with the problems that the refugees are facing. During the crisis in Poland many refugees slept in the church itself. While a preacher in Traiskirchen, Hubka founded an evangelical refugee service along with the help of Gertrud Hennefeld in response to the growing problem. All of its undertakings are funded by donations and it provides refugees with a community hall which is open three days a week.
There is also a consultation center which in addition to providing legal advice, also helps in emergency situations, and in integrating the refugees into society. Legal consultation usually concerns matters such as working permits and refugees’ right to asylum. It is a central meeting point within church communities throughout Austria that contribute to helping refugees through donations, or providing accommodation.

Christine Hubka and Gertrud Hennefeld try to focus on refugees who are not taken care of in state centers. Their primary concern is to meet the refugees’ basic needs: food, accommodation, and a mailing address. At the time of the Prize Ceremony there were approximately 60 to 70 refugees being supported by the church, with 30 people living in the church itself. At one point the church had so little money that they could only spare five rolls and a wedge of cheese for each person per day. Hubka said that the Kreisky prize money would go directly to the refugees. On the award money alone they would be taken care of for two months. When asked how many people the church had helped over the years she answered that it was certainly a couple thousand.

In 2009 they lost the funding which they had received from the state, but Hubka was adamant that they would continue helping refugees as they always had for the past twenty years. Meanwhile she is still preaching.
http://www.kath-kirche-vorarlberg. at /
"Courier" 1993.06.12