Czech Refugees in Austria 1968–1985


HAVÁČ Ondřej

Year of publication 2016
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Prague Papers on the History of International Relations
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Field History
Keywords The Prague Spring; Charter 77; Czech Exile in Austria; the Czech Minority in Vienna; Integration; National Identity; Oral History; Identification; Self-understanding; Incorporation
Description After the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, which ended up the Prague spring in August 1968, thousands of Czech (and Slovak) citizens went into exile. Out of estimated 162,000 people, who came to Austria within the next few weeks, some 12,000 refugees decided to stay there. The majority of them chose Vienna to be their new home. My paper deals with this group of Czech refugees and analyses a process of their integration into Austrian majority and how the process, which they had to undergo, changed their national identity. In the paper, which is based on various archive materials and my two field research among Czechs in Vienna, I also deal with different concepts of national identity and integration. I applied Cooper and Brubaker’s concepts of ‘identification’ and ‘self-understanding’ to analyse deeper the various contexts of Czech refugees’ behaviour and to answer a research question, why it was more difficult for Czech refugees to integrate into existing Czech minority associations in Austria than into Austrian majority itself.
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