WELCOME TO WEIKENDORF – Claudia Gschweitl – ORF – Austria

MP3 + PDF | 54 min

Translation by PDF (opens in new window

Radio talent from the Ake Blomström Award 2019-2020


A family from Palestine wanted to buy a house in Weikendorf, a small village in Lower Austria, but did not receive the necessary permit.
According to Johann Zimmermann, the village’s mayor, this was because “Islamic and Western culture were too far apart in values, customs, and conventions.
Khalid Abu El Hosna, the father, turned to the media for help.
What followed was a public outcry. Various NGOs expressed their solidarity with the family.
But many people supported what they believed was the right decision by the mayor, including the neighbours.
Some locals claimed that racism or Islamophobia were not the “real problems” here.
To them, the family of 11 looked suspicious.
The refugees without Austrian citizenship were heavily attacked on social media.
On the other hand, the image of the village and its inhabitants was ruined by countless media reports.
The documentary seeks to explore why and in what ways communication failed and the role that media played in this drama.

Author, Director:

Claudia Gschweitl


2 thoughts on “WELCOME TO WEIKENDORF – Claudia Gschweitl – ORF – Austria

  1. Thank you for this feature, Claudia. I can imagine a story like this happening in any Czech village. There little towns tend to generate cultural wars against anything different and unknown that tries to intrude local community, strongly convinced that they are good people trying to live their decent lives.

    Did you record reactions of neighbours refusing to talk to you (and if yes did you think about using it for the feature)?

    How was a perception of the piece of both by locals and the refugee family? Did you receive any reaction?

    It´s good to see you found a village beginning with W with a slightly more cheerful story to tell, too 🙂

  2. Hello Martina, thank you so much for your comment! 🙂
    Yes, I recorded neighbours who didnt want to talk, but I’m not allowed to use the recordings without their permission… I didnt get any reactions from the people in the village after it was broadcast. The family was fine with it (at last).

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