How did ÖJAB come into existence?
ÖJAB was founded by Dr. Bruno Buchwieser in 1946.
Representing his parents’ construction company, Dr. Buchwieser was the head of the reconstruction operations of St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna at that time. There the Buchwieser company employed a great number of workers who came to Vienna from different parts of Austria in search of work.
To solve the problem of accommodation for these young workers, Dr. Buchwieser and friends founded a sort of hostel in a bomb ruin on Himmelpfortgasse in Vienna – the first hostel of the Austrian Young Workers Movement. A society of young people then developed who helped each other and worked for common goals – the “Young Workers Movement” was born.
Further residences were founded in Vienna, and later on in other Austrian towns, to offer a second home to young workers, pupils, students and apprentices in the town to which they came to work. Since they all work – either using their mind as pupils and students or physically as apprentices – they all are, as understood by ÖJAB, “young workers”.
In 1945 a fire destroyed St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. Only the tongues of the bells survived. Since 1980 tongues of the old St. Stephens chathedral bells are displayed in ÖJAB Head office, Mittelgasse 16, A-1060 Wien (photo on the left – click on the photo to enlarge). Visitors are welcome!
The mosaic behind the tongues is by Hermann Bauch. It shows the burning St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
The basic idea of ÖJAB is distinctly displayed by its coat of arms (see right):
- the red-white-red field represents the Austrian flag: as a declared belief in Austria.
- the black, the red, and the blue fields, stand for those three parties which were represented in parliament during the first years of ÖJAB: as a sign of political independence.
- the cogwheel is a symbol of the common work with the main goal to give youth a chance.
- the cross in the middle of the coat of arms as a symbol of humanism based on a Christian philosophy of life.