Standort: / Meldung: "No Stranger Place"

Joanna Bostock

Reading between the headlines.

5. 9. 2016 - 16:59

No Stranger Place

Portraits of refugees in Austria and the locals who have welcomed them into their homes and families.

A year ago refugees and migrants started arriving in their thousands in Austria. Some of them stayed and applied for asylum here, while others continued their journey on to Germany and other countries.

The British photographer Aubrey Wade had just moved to Berlin, and found himself reflecting on the contrast between his own experience of arriving in Berlin and the experiences of the refugees.

In cooperation with the UN refugee agency the UNHCR, Aubrey started the photo project "No Stranger Place" to document some of the stories of refugees and locals living together in Austria, Germany and other parts of Europe.

Aubrey Wade told FM4 more about the project and some of the people featured in the photographs:

Photographer Aubrey Wade

UNHCR Aubrey Wade

Martina Schamberger, with husband Engelbert, son Laurenz, and daughter Lea, as well as Syrian refugee, and former national basketball player, Nawras Ahmadook (seated on bench) in Bad Schallerbach.

Nawras Ahmadook

The Schamberger family, says Aubrey Wade, are a large, vibrant, warm, boisterous family. Their story is really special because their youngest daughter, Valerie (in the picture below), wanted to learn Arabic when she finished school. She set off to Aleppo, where she was one of just five students at the University, learning Arabic there.

Valerie met Nawras and became friends with him and his family - particularly his mother - really took her under their wing and they became really close. So when Nawras had to flee and arrived in Austria he called Valerie - and she immediately called her Mum and Martina said, yes of course Nawras can come and stay with us. Martina is now doing for Nawras’s mum what Nawras’s mum did for Valerie, seven years ago.

UNHCR Aubrey Wade

Valerie Schamberger (second from right) shares a flat with Nora Katona, Roman Pable and Syrian refugee Mouhanad Mourad (second from left) in Vienna.


Valerie Schamberger shares a flat in Vienna with Nora, Roman and Syrian refugee Mouhanad.

Originally from Damascus, Mouhanad fled his war-torn country in 2012. He initially went to Libya, and eventually embarked on the perilous journey to Europe in September 2015. After six rough days on the road, he stopped to shower and rest in Vienna. And in those 48 hours, Mouhanad says, he fell in love with Vienna and decided to stay.

Valerie says her roommates were initially concerned that Mouhanad might require a lot of assistance, and guidance, but in fact it turns out that "Mouhanad knows more people than we do. His list of contacts is incredible and we didn't have to step in - he doesn't need us at all."

UNHCR Aubrey Wade

Sabine David, her husband Dominique and daughter Nora, host Afghan refugee Nooria Youldash and her 2-year-old daughter, Aysu, in Lavanttal.


Nooria, 36, is from Mazar-e Sharif, the third largest city in Afghanistan, and used with work as a midwife for the United Nations.

She left Afghanistan after her husband left her. She was pregnant, and if she had stayed she would have been forced to hand over her daughter to her husband’s sisters, because, she says, "a woman cannot live alone in Afghanistan and raise her own child without a man."

Nooria arrived in Austria in November 2015 with her 2-year-old daughter, Aysu. She was introduced to Sabine, a mechanical engineer who lives with her husband Dominique and their 1-year-old daughter, Nora, on a picturesque hilltop in Lavanttal, near the Slovenian border.

What was lovely about Sabine and Dominique and Nooria and their children living together, says Aubrey Wade, was how "the broader community changed their minds, and started to welcome Nooria into their community, and I think that’s something really special".

UNHCR Aubrey Wade

Margarethe Kramer (59) hosts Iraqi refugee Souad Awad (49) in Lavanttal.


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Souad used to work as a wedding photographer in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. In 2014 she whas threatened at gunpoint on her way home by a man who asked her why she was not wearing a veil and told her that photography was forbidden. Later her husband started receiving threats against his life unless he divorced his wife. Subsequently, the couple divorced and in November 2014, Souad left Iraq.

Souad eventually travelled to Europe and boarded a train for Germany with other refugees but asked to be let off in Austria because she felt tired and ill. In June 2016 Souad moved in with kindergarten teacher Margarethe Kramer.

Margarethe and Souad very quickly became good friends, says Aubrey Wade. "Margarethe told us she was expecting someone to come with a headscarf, someone with very traditional values, very conservative. But Souad has a very strong personality and she’s full of character and colour, and not afraid to share her opinions about things, and get involved - the complete opposite from what she was expecting. Margarethe feels like she’s expanded her sense of imagining what’s possible within Arab culture".

Pickerl Refugees Welcome


Refugee Portraits on FM4

To mark the anniversary of the events of late summer 2015, and to reflect on developments since then, Dalia Ahmed has been meeting up with some of the refugees who found a new home and a new life in Austria, to find out how they're getting on, and how they see the future now:

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