|How to act||
1992, 1993, 1994, 1995
Nachbar in Not
The largest wartime non-governmental humanitarian aid action for Bosnia and Herzegovina was the “Nachbar in Not” (“Neighbor in Need”) initiative. “Nachbar in Not” was launched in Austria in May 1992 by the Austrian Red Cross, Caritas and Austrian public television. Within two years, the departure of 2.600 trucks was organized – an average four trucks per day. The emergency aid was distributed in all parts of BiH and also to refugee camps in other parts of former Yugoslavia. Between May and September 1992 alone, 750.000 inhabitants of Austria made financial contributions to the initiative. Their donations totaled 330 million Schilling (equivalent to 24 million Euro). The money for organizing trucks was collected through various types of public campaigns like street actions, concerts and tv shows.
While other groups took a clear political stand in favor of the defenders of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the organizers of “Nachbar in Not” on purpose avoided taking sides, in order not to risk the delivery of the aid. In a book published in 1994, one of the organizers explained: “The observance of two principles – impartiality and neutrality – (…) has enabled NACHBAR IN NOT to provide regular assistance to hundreds of thousands of people in need and to build trust among all parties involved. Time and again, it has been of the utmost importance for our helpers in the war zone to demonstrate to the regional political and military leaders that the financial resources of the campaign do not come from a few and therefore possibly politically motivated donors, but from hundreds of thousands of people in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and other countries, whose horror at what is happening has not led to despair and resignation, but to genuine compassion and solidarity-based sympathy through their donation.”