Rattle, Barenboim, Eschenbach back Vienna Philharmonic refugees appeal

Rattle, Barenboim, Eschenbach back Vienna Philharmonic refugees appeal


norman lebrecht

November 23, 2015

Four weeks ago, the musicians of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra bought a disused inn for the purpose of housing homeless refugees.

Tonight, they start raising funds for its upkeep. Do help if you can.

vienna philharmonic inn

Message from the orchestra:

We are currently living in a time in which it is vitally important to set a clear example of humanitarianism. We want to help form a world worth living in, and this is why we have decided to open a house for asylum seekers. After acquisition and renovation the house will be passed into the capable hands of the DIAKONIE Refugee Commission. This house, its inhabitants, and the town in which it is located will be supported by an active patronage. Read more about on our website’s blogwww.wienerphilharmoniker.at
With your help we can make this dream a reality! In just a few days our Crowdfunding campaign will go live on wemakeit.com and we would be grateful for your support. Let’s set an united example!

UPDATE: It’s live now. First 3,000 Euros pledged. Click here.

And there’s a video with appeals from three maestros.


  • John Borstlap says:

    Great initiative.

    The most important bit in this message is:

    “We want to help form a world worth living in.”

    It would be worthwhile to have a couple of postwar composers pondering upon what this means in terms of both humanitarian and artistic considerations: Spahlinger, Lachenmann, Riedl, Kyburz, Neuwirth, Curran, Orts, Widmann, Murail, Andre, Ruzicka, Pauset, Tsangaris, Ablinger, Benjamin, Glanert, Birtwistle, Turnage, Ferneyhough etc. etc.



    • John says:

      Terrible idea. Vienna should be focusing on music, not getting its patrons to cough up cash for a group of ‘asylum seekers’ (yes, those who have passed through numerous safe countries on their quest to sponge off Europe).

      • John Borstlap says:

        Shameful remark. Families are fleeing death and destruction, and terrorists who now also threaten European cities. Put your head into a deep hole.

  • Mick says:

    The real victims of war stay in nearby Turkey, Lebanon and other such places. They have neither money nor energy to somehow get all the way to the Central Europe. The thousands of able bodied young males invading our shores these days should never have been allowed here in the first place. As far as the VPO goes, what else would one expect of them? A sympathy for Israel maybe? 😉

    • mr oakmount says:

      Are you seriously implying the VPO’s initiative is fuelled by antisemitism? Please do eff off!

      • Mick says:

        It’s entirely up to you what you choose to read into my comment. Goes to show what’s in your own mind, nothing else.

        • MacroV says:

          No, it’s pretty clear what you’re saying. You’re also factually wrong, as many of the refugees coming to Europe are women and children. And in Turkey they’re in refugee camps, which is not a place you want to live for years on end, so no wonder many leave. You can’t expect Turkey to resettle 3 million refugees (and Lebanon 1 million).

  • Simon Behrman says:

    Mick, let’s just replace one word of your diatribe and try it on for size:

    ‘If this collective madness of “integrating” Jews doesn’t stop, Europe will become “not a place you want to live”.

    • Mick says:

      There are relatively few Jews living in Europe and they have always been pretty well integrated, AFAIK. So I don’t see what the point of your remark is.

      • Simon Behrman says:

        Well it’s good to know that we’re tolerated in Europe because of our low numbers.

        Your grasp of history is obviously a little limited. From around the 13th Century onwards Jews were herded into ghettos (the word comes from the Jewish quarter in Venice) across Europe. It was a long difficult struggle for Jews to emerge from them and to achieve integration, although that never really happened in Eastern Europe prior to the Holocaust. That event is partly why there are far fewer Jews in Europe now than before. (Jeez, I can’t believe I have to spell this stuff out!)

        So, the point of my remark was to gently remind you that the kind of casual bigotry that you and many others peddle today has a very nasty pedigree, and would not be so easily tolerated were it directed at groups other than Muslims. Evidently you are not capable of taking (none too subtle) hints.

        • Tobi says:

          A wonderful house which most likely will be the now home of strong and brave military deserters aged 20-35 from the Middle East. Left to suffer are the women and children in refugee camps in Turkey, Jordan and Libanon, where the same money could help hundreds, not to say thousands. Great work, Vienna Phil. Kudos. Bravo.

        • Mick says:

          There is no similarity whatsoever between the plight of Jews and Europe’s present problem with Muslims. It is this kind of an appalling confusion in the minds of many people here, including politicians whose duty it is to protect our lives, that is leading us to a disaster. On a side note, Mr. Berhman, you’ll be among the first they’ll go after, despite your humanism, broad-mindedness, fairness, “outreach” and what not.

          • John Borstlap says:

            European Jews were never terrorists and a great (!) majority of EUropean Muslems aren’t terrorists either, they have the same worries as non-Muslems because of having become European. Current terrorism is the rebellion of the loosers and there is just a very small number of them needed to disrupt society.

          • Simon Behrman says:

            ‘There is no similarity whatsoever between the plight of Jews and Europe’s present problem with Muslims.’ No, not yet thankfully, but the kind of language and treatment of Muslims today is reminiscent of that directed towards Jews in the decades before the Nazi regime. That was left to fester relatively unchecked until too late. Some of us would rather not repeat the mistakes of the past. You, however, belong squarely with those who tried to justify their anti-Semitism in the 1890s, 1900s etc. as simply one of cultural difference, values etc.

            Just in reply to John Borstlap, I agree with your point about distinguishing between Muslims, and that tiny minority of people who are really just narcissists with a messiah complex and a love of violence. But I must take issue with your assertion that European Jews were never terrorists. A number of anarchists and communists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were from Jewish backgrounds, and some of them advocated violent acts such as throwing bombs and assassinating individuals. There were Jewish members of the resistance in France and in the Warsaw Ghetto who garrotted Gestapo officers, set off bombs etc. And many (most probably) members of the Stern Gang in Palestine, who amongst other things blew up the Kind David Hotel, were originally from Europe. As it happens I see most of these people as freedom fighters rather than terrorists, but that is not how they were seen by most people at the time.

  • Jonathan Grieves-Smith says:

    Some comments here are shameful. Worth reading – always worth reading – Robert Fisk at The Independent

  • Stephen says:

    The VPO and Austria were notorious for their anti-Semitism long after the end of WWII.

  • Erwin Poelstra says:

    “…spacious enough for four refugee families”…wow. And they are in the capable hands of a nice Christian organisation…together with the new Muslim Law that tackles the problematic Islamist radicalization, no doubt they will be “faithful to the values of the Republic”…