Bruno Kreisky Foundation

for Human Rights

Refugee Aid Poysdorf (Maria Loley) (Austria)

Flüchtlingshilfe Poysdorf (Refugee Help: Poysdorf) is a non-profit organization, founded by Maria Loley to help refugees from various crises. Maria Loley's father was black-listed by the Nazis, and her personal experience with poverty, in addition to her witnessing the arrival of refugees in Poysdorf, convinced her of the necessity for such an institution.

She began with a force of 50 volunteers, which had expanded to over 70 at the time of the Kreisky Award recommendation in 1995. Loley stated in a letter to the Kreisky Foundation that they were „all honorably working in the spirit of their fellow human beings." The organization originally concerned itself with the displacement of the Sudma?hrer minority group in Poysdorf, but continued to help other refugee groups as new crises developed. Flüchtlingshilfe Poysdorf also helped displaced Polish youth, as well as Bosnian refugees from the Yugoslav War. On the 27th of September 1994, the organization was awarded the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees Prize.

At the time of the Bruno Kreisky Prize award ceremony, the Poysdorf Refugee Aid had integrated around 580 refugees into Poysdorf and the surrounding area, which has only 5,500 inhabitants. It founded a large organization, "Movement fellow human, “and was always active even in her old age and looked after the refugees of Poysdorf as well as another organization “Help for People in Need”, which operates outside of Vienna. From 2003 she lived in Lower Austria. She died on February 4, 2016 and was buried in the city cemetery in Poysdorf.