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  • Gaygusuz vs. Austria

    Or on the Usefulness of "Guest" Workers

    İlker Ataç, Gin Müller

    Scenic narratives

    In the 1990s, migrants in Austria fought for important economical, social and political rights. Gaygusuz vs. Austria recollects these successful disputes and brings the history of "guest workers" to the stage.

    On May 15, 1964, the Austrian government signed a labor recruitment agreement with Turkey to resolve an acute shortage of manpower. In 1966, there followed an agreement with the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This was the beginning of the guest worker era that lead to sustainable immigration from South-East Europe to Austria.

    Already at the beginning of the 1970s, campaigns (such as the famous poster "My name is Kolaric, your name is Kolaric, why do they call you Tschusch?", Tschusch being a derogatory name for a person of South-East European background) tried to take countermeasures against the increasingly xenophobic climate in Austria. In the meantime, the government tried to bridge the gap between the workforce deficit and the domestic population's resentment using restrictive legal measures. Up until the 1980s, migrant workers in this country were massively limited with regard to their economic, social, and political rights. For the first time in the 1990s, certain claims were granted to them and these had been fought for by them.

    Gaygusuz vs. Austria brings these historical disputes for social and political rights to the auditorium of the Wiener Schauspielhaus: for example the sensational move of the former guest worker Cevat Gaygusuz going to the European Court of Human Rights to receive welfare support; the campaigns of migrant self-organizations to obtain the passive right to vote for works councils, or the fight of migrant women for self-determination and equality. Thereby, live personal accounts and interviews with protagonists as well as documentary materials form the framework of an evening at the theater where visitors can take part in discussion.


    Gaygusuz vs. Austria is taking place within the scope of the event series "Quer-Sichten (Cross Views)" as a coproduction of the VIDC – Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation and WIENWOCHE in cooperation with the Schauspielhaus Wien.


    detailed program

    Sat, 13. 9., 19:00

    Scenic narratives

    Schauspielhaus Wien, 1090, Porzellangasse 19

    With İlker Ataç, Gin Müller, Helmut Blum, Alev Çakır, Mümtaz Karakurt, Vladimir Polak, among others.
    (Research: Katharina Kronhuber, Visuals: Lisbeth Kovačič)
    Buffet afterwards with music by Ani Gülgün-Mayr.

    Limited participants. For registration, we kindly request that you contact



    Sat, 13. 9., 19:00

    Scenic narratives
    Schauspielhaus Wien, 1090, Porzellangasse 19



    Schauspielhaus Wien