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- September 21, 2012 at 4:57 am #344117
Vienna (Serbian: Bec) is the largest Serbian city after Belgrade, with an estimated 250,000 Serbs living in the city (nearly 10%). Most are small-business owners and taxi-drivers. They are the majority ethnic group in the Vienna neighborhoods East Ottakring, Margareten, and Meidling. While second largest minority group in the neighborhoods of Brigittenau and Favoriten. And they are present in nearly every neighborhood in the city.
Serbs are one of the oldest groups in Vienna, settling in mass during the 18th-19th centuries, founding the oldest Orthodox Church in Vienna, Temple of Saint Sava, in 1893. Vuk Karadzic, the founder of the modern Serbian standard language and Serbian Cyrillic script, lived in Vienna for 51 years, until his death in 1864.
The Serbian community in Vienna has grown so large during the 90s mass immigrations and is on the rise.
Here are some documentaries and interviews of Serbs
A poster in Vienna with an Austrian Politician wearing a Serbian Brojanica (Serb orthodox bracelet), to gain the large Serb vote.
A Vienna-Serb hip-hop music video, depicting the street life of Serbs in Vienna (really good song, imo)
[youtube]SVABA ORTAK – DHMW /// EASTBLOKFAMILY[/youtube]
And another one by the same group, talking about Serbian pride and being a Serb in Vienna.
[youtube]Svaba Ortak – Serben in Wien II (prod. by PMC)[/youtube]
These are in German with Serbian-slang thrown in here and there. Keep in mind these are Austrian-born Serbs mostly.
The Serb neighborhood of East Ottakring celebrating the Serbia's win over Germany in the 2010 world cup
[youtube]Srpski Navijaci Ottakring[/youtube]
Serbs battling riot police in Vienna in 2008 against the false declaration of Kosovo
[youtube]Serbische Demo in Wien[/youtube]September 21, 2012 at 5:49 am #397387
An insightful article on the lifestyle and large Serbian presence in Vienna, from 2005
"In Vienna They Say 'Dobar Dan'"
Serbian students at a Billa, in most restaurants, or at the Prater Amusement Park do not really need to be able to speak German. Because the cashier, the waiter, or the machinist running the bumper cars are all Serbian. Even in the public toilets you can hear “use of toilets – 2 euros,” in Serbian.
There are altogether some 300,000 Serbs who live in Vienna; some legally and some illegally; they come mostly from the lower social economic background, and are what are called “Gastarbeiter” or guest workers. When you enter any place in Vienna, other Serbs will recognize your features and you can hear a charming “Dobar Dan” (“Hello”) in Serbian, often with a bit of an Austrian accent, because of the many years they’ve been here. If you listen, you can hear thousands of remarkable life stories in the city “Auf die schone Blaue Donau,” far away from their real homes.
Vukosava Strainovic can tell you one of those. Her family came to Vienna after World War II, in hope of a better life. In some ways, they have succeeded – yet perhaps not in ways they had imagined nor how they might have wished. Their story is unique yet typical for many Eastern Europeans living and working in Vienna. But even with an Austrian passport many families like the Strainovics sense themselves after two generations as completely Serbian.
We met in her apartment near the center of Vienna where she lives with her family; she works as a caretaker of a house. She is in charge of maintaining the building as it is customary that she earns a salary and doesn’t have to pay rent. It was a little shocking to see a family of four living in a 40m2 flat. Vukica sensed the reaction. “Don’t mind the mess,” she said. “It’s a small flat, but we have a 1000m2 residence in Serbia”.
It was an interesting comment right at the beginning of our conversation. In an informal talk over coffee and cakes (both brought over from Serbia), we talked about the situation of the guest workers life in Vienna. Vukosava kept talking and you could feel her irresistible urge to talk to someone about the situation.
“Although we are physically present in Vienna, most Serbs here are still mentally in their hometowns. We work tediously for the whole year, only to spend three weeks of vacation in luxury and opulence in our homes. Even though some people do not want to adapt, even for them it seems hard to live two lives. Firstly, most of us came here in a rather involuntary fashion, because we had to, in order to establish a respectable standard of life for our families back home. We had to take the hardest jobs, and sometimes even two, which left us little space for an enriching private life. Furthermore, we are from the Balkans, far too explosive and warm-hearted to be able to adapt to the culture and mentality of this country. We then unfortunately reached a stationary point with the Austrians, in which neither wants to accept the other. We simply live in our own worlds, but the minority does adapt, and they are mostly of second or third generation stock that was born here,” Vukica said. She waved aside questions about her family, her life in Vienna. Instead she put on a video of a party they threw back in Serbia that was the talk of the town for some time.
It was shocking seeing the amount of money people in the video literally were throwing at the musicians; bills of at least 100 Euros were flying everywhere, showing clear sign of peoples’ happiness. While sitting in the rather compact and modest flat Vukica lived in, it was hard to believe all the things shown in the video. Vukica noticed my reaction and she laughed out loud.
“Oh that is nothing, last year we had a party twice as grand. The musicians alone cost us 10,000 Euros. But something like that is unmatched in our village,” she added, somewhat proudly. On the video one could see glasses of Don Perignon, BMWs, Audis, and the newest ones at that. Vukica told me that they keep a brand new Audi under a haystack, and register it only for a month annually when they are in Serbia, as maintenance in Vienna is expensive. They would have nowhere to drive it anyway. Vukica was irritated to talk about life in Vienna, but after my repeated insistence she agreed to.
“Ah, if you could even call it life. From sunrise to sundown only work, my husband drives a van to Serbia every week with cargo, hence leaving me alone for long amounts of time. Every day I go to my mother-in-laws, as it is less expensive to cook in one bowl. They also bring lots of groceries from Serbia.” Incredible, I said. So, where was all the money being invested? “It all goes home (to Serbia), as the house is renovated every year, new furniture is bought or the family is helped. In all truth, all that is earned is spent. Perhaps a little being saved up.”
As the question occurred if she was satisfied with her life in Vienna she replied: “This is simply the way it is. No matter if I wish it or not, my family lives in that fashion. I was born in Vienna, but was sent back to Serbia when I was 6 months old. My family wanted me to learn Serbo-Croatian, and grow up knowing Serbian culture. I lived with my grandparents until I was 15. I was brought back to Vienna to adapt to a new lifestyle.
But under no circumstance was I to marry an Austrian. I was in fact forced to travel back home every summer, in order to meet men from Serbia. By the way, we all marry early; I was born when my parents were 15. I got married when I was 22, somewhat late for my parents’ taste. They almost gave up hope on me (laughter).” She showed me a photo album with pictures from her wedding, which was attended by some astounding 760 people. Did she know all of the people? Not only did she not know them, but they did not know her. “It was so crowded that people had no idea about who was actually invited and who wasn’t.
We received many wedding presents in form of empty envelopes,” said Vukica, and asked me if I wanted more coffee. Their life is lived, as it has to be lived with little time, few friends and homesickness, sometimes even carried to the grave, as many do not even reach old age. It is said that Julius Caesar was passing through a remote Alpine village on his way to Rome from Gaul, and remarked to a servant that he would rather be the first man in this village than second man in Rome. Vukica shares a similar philosophy, preferring to be the first woman of her village, than try to achieve something in Vienna. “But we don’t really live the way we show ourselves,” she admitted. It is only important that the village thinks that we do. In Vienna we have no car, no 1000m2 house, I buy only the cheapest clothes and we live frugally.
Do all guest workers live in that manner? “Apparently, there are those who have adapted well,” according to Vukica, and have largely alienated themselves from their own countries. But there are also those who revel in opulence during their annual visits. For instance one man from the village next to mine, Zika, “the Bomb,” orders musicians to stand and play at the village entrance when he arrives, organizes games of hide & seek, where he pays every participating peasant 50 Euros, and the winner an astounding (by any standard) 500 Euros. He himself then proceeds to hide, and the whole village looks for him. There are feasts for about a month after his arrival, all celebrating his return home.” Have you found the meaning of life here? If you would have the chance to change something would you do so?
“There are many things I don’t like here” Vukica said, but I have found meaning in my children. At least they will live a different life. Looking back, I never even lived with my parents, and that is a situation far worse than the one I find myself in today. When I have my family, I can say that I am content. There has to be some sort of sacrifice in life, even though sometimes I find it pointless to toil 335 days in order to relish 30. But there are also sick and hungry people, and that is a far worse misfortune.”
As our conversation came to a close end, Vukica started to say nice things about Vienna, too, since she lived here and had found a second home. That showed that she nevertheless loves her home far away from Serbia. “Everyone is born in a certain place which they are predetermined to live in. If that is not possible, as in my case, you need to learn to love the city you are in and make things easier for yourself. Vienna is a beautiful city, rich in culture and tradition.” When you find a favorite restaurant, park and someone you love, you can learn to love it as your second home,” says Vukica, with tears of joy and sorrow sparkling in her eyes. From a woman that lives two lives in two different countries, and still manages to support her family.September 21, 2012 at 1:23 pm #397388
Interesting topic. I never knew that there are so many Serbs in Vienna.
I have a question that is partially related to the topic. Why do we say "Beč" for Vienna?September 21, 2012 at 1:28 pm #397389
AnonymousQuote:I have a question that is partially related to the topic. Why do we say "Beč" for Vienna?
According to Wikipedia: The name of the city in Hungarian (Bécs), Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian (Beč) and Ottoman Turkish (Beç) appears to have a different, Slavonic origin, and originally referred to an Avar fort in the area.September 21, 2012 at 1:42 pm #397390
Thanks, its quite interesting. So, I guess Huns and Turks took it from us?September 21, 2012 at 1:47 pm #397391
AnonymousQuote:Thanks, its quite interesting. So, I guess Huns and Turks took it from us?
Yeah, I guess so. I'm surprised the Hungarians don't have their own name for it though.September 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm #397392
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As I heard it is quite simple, he doesn't like Turks, Serbs don't like Turks,(nobody likes Turks), it adds at the end of the day.September 21, 2012 at 10:22 pm #397393
Here is a skit where a comedian is acting as a stereotypical Vienna Serb, and is trying to get people (mostly immigrants) to vote for an anti-immigrant party in Austria.
It's satirizing how mainly Serbs vote for anti-immigrant parties, although many are immigrants and they're not well integrated themselves.September 23, 2012 at 8:09 am #397394
As I heard it is quite simple, he doesn't like Turks, Serbs don't like Turks, (nobody likes Turks), it adds at the end of the day.
ExactlySeptember 16, 2013 at 4:42 pm #397395
Vote AryansSeptember 16, 2013 at 5:18 pm #397396
He has a creepy "douche-bag fraternity boy" smile. Like Mitt Romney.September 17, 2013 at 12:48 am #397397
He has a creepy "douche-bag fraternity boy" smile. Like Mitt Romney.
I heard he is "a Nazi in a disguise"September 17, 2013 at 3:02 am #397398
AnonymousQuote:I heard he is "a Nazi in a disguise"
So hating turks, makes one a Nazi these days??
Another reason Serbs in Vienna vote for him is that he's against Kosovo independence, something the now gone Young Obilic conveniently forgot to mention….September 17, 2013 at 8:00 am #397399
AnonymousQuote:I heard he is "a Nazi in a disguise"
Strache supports Israel.January 5, 2014 at 5:47 pm #397400
It's amazing these Turkish con artist's even here in Canada claiming they're Russian. Of coarse they like Slavic woman and deny they're Muslum.
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