Time and Location

Saturday, 13 September 2014, 19
Schauspielhaus Wien, Porzellangasse 19, 1090 Vienna


A Theater evening with mit:

  • Ilker Ataç, political scientist at University of Vienna
  • Gin Müller, theater scholar and dramaturg
  • Helmut Blum, lawyer, Linz
  • Alev Çakır, University of Vienna
  • Mümtaz Karakurt, migrare
  • Vladimir Polak, migrare
  • Katharina Kronhuber, University of Vienna
  • Arif Akkılıç, political activist

Gaygusuz against Austria or: On the Usefulness of “Guest“ Workers


On May 15, 1964 the Austrian government signed a recruitment deal with Turkey in order to remedy the acute shortage of workers. In 1966 another such deal was signed with the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia. This was the beginning of the Era of the Guest Worker, which has resulted in continuous immigration from southeast Europe to Austria.
As early as the beginning of the 1970s campaigns tried to counteract the growing climate of hostility to foreigners in Austria („I haaß Kolaric, du haaßt Kolaric, warum sogns’ zu dir Tschusch?“). Meanwhile the government sought to maintain the balancing act between the labor deficit and the native population’s resentment with restrictive legal measures. Up until the 1980s the economic, social, and political rights of the migrant workers in this country were strongly limited. It wasn’t until the 1990s that they were entitled to specific rights, and they were accordingly sparing with them.
Gaygusuz against Austria brings historic arguments about social and political rights to the auditorium of the Schauspielhaus Vienna: the sensational gang of former guest worker, Cevat Gaygusuz, and the European court of human rights for the purpose of emergency help, the actions of migrant self-organizations and the obtainment of passive suffrage in the workers’ council election, or the war of farm laborers in the landscape of a just compensation. Live recitals of testimonies, interviews with protagonists, and documentary materials build a theater night setting in which the visitors can take part in the discussions.
Gaygusuz against Austria is a coproduction of VIDC and Vienna Week with the Schauspielhaus Vienna.


Ilker Ataç

Political scientist at the University of Vienna, researches migration, anti-racist movements, and Turkish politics.

Gin Müller

Theater scholar and dramaturgist, s/he teaches at the University of Vienna and creates his/her own theater projects (most recently: “Melodrom—The Making of a Rebellious Telenovela,” Mexico City, 2014). Müller was also active in the Volxtheaterkarawane and in the refugee protest movement in Vienna.

Helmut Blum

Lawyer in Linz with a focus on human rights and foreigners’ rights.

Alev Çakır

University of Vienna. Viennese, her grandparents came as guest workers from Turkey.

Mümtaz Kakurt

Director of migrare, was elected in 1994 as a Turkish citizen to the workers’ council of migrare.

Vladimir Polak

Works at migrare and leads an exemplary court trial with Mümtaz Kakurt, to reach the passive right to vote.

Katharina Kronhuber

University of Vienna; she took over the research for the project Gaygusuz against Austria and narrates the story of Codruta Ostafi. The agriculture laborer Ostafi organized a successful protest with fifty other harvesters for the disbursement of their overtime pay in October 2013 in Thaur, Tirol.

Arif Akılıç

Political activist, he recently took part in the campaign “50 Jahre Arbeitsmigrations—Archiv jetzt!”.

Information material