17. August 2015


Lower Austria/Traiskirchen: 
Personal impressions of the biggest 
refugee reception center in Austria.

August 16th, 2015, 4-5:30 pm 

Written by: Jahn J Kassl
Translated by: Franz
Translated from: 
Es sind zu viele!  

Traiskirchen is a town in the district of Baden in Lower
Austria in Austria. It is 20 km south of Vienna and located in 
the famous Thermenlinie region of Lower Austria known for 
its wine and heurigers. Traiskirchen is home to the Traiskirchen 
Lions,[2] a team which plays in the Austrian basketball first league. 
The town has the oldest public observatory in Lower Austria. 
The city is also nationwide and internationally known for its 
refugee camp the "Bundesbetreuungsstelle für Asylwerber". 

And in these days Traiskirchen is THE topic in Austria. 
The media have full-page reports daily, politicians blame 
each other daily, and human Beings, which are affected, 
refugees as well as inhabitants of Traiskirchen, are more 
or less left alone.
Nobody of the officials really feels responsible for the conditions 
in the totally overfilled camp, and Amnesty International says: 
„What occurs in Traiskirchen is a scandal of ignorance, 
negligence and lack of interest." 

I wanted to find out for myself.
I was there on August 16th, 2015. 

1. Stop, gas station directly in the center: 
I purchase a bottle of water and ask the female attendant 
for directions to the camp. „Would you like to be shocked?“ 
I hear a friendly but determined voice. „The refugees are poor, 
but these conditions are also almost unbearable for us,“ says 
the woman. I notice displeasure and resignation; I say goodbye. 

2. Stop: I drive with my motor scooter several times around 
the camp at walking speed and between the streets. Thereby 
I stop here and there, look through the fence at the tents or 
at the road, refugees sitting on garbage. I feel like taken back 
to Bosnia. Then, as I visited the country immediately after the 
war (1992-1995), I saw a similar picture: overfilled garbage 
bags, a terrible smell of urine and rots or excrements, and 
foremost the faces of people, which mirror the suffering and 
hopelessness. The Balkans of 1990 in the middle of Austria 
in 2015. I continue my visit.

What is not needed is left behind in parks; some is also thrown 
into entranceways to be taken care of by the inhabitants. Garbage 
bags and cartons pile up. What catches the eye immediately is that 
most refugees are men between the ages of 15 to 25. Families? 
Yes, also, but foremost young men. The police do whatever they 
can, one realizes that they are present, but too few in order to 
give the inhabitants the feeling of safety. 

3. Stop: I park my motor scooter on the other side of the road 
from the refugee camp and continue my tour on foot. In front 
of the iron fence a small group of people gather, obviously 
coming from Vienna, and they form a chain of lights.
Speeches are given, people sing songs; the refugees film and 
photograph this scene from inside the camp with their cell phones. 
I experience this situation as well intentioned, yet missing its goal, 
because the chain of lights is foremost addressed toward the 
refugees and does not include the inhabitants, which look at it 
from the opposite side of the road. While I watch this for me 
somewhat unreal scene, a woman walks up to me and asks, 
if I am part of the chain of lights.
I say no and identify myself as a blogger, who wants to write a 
report about this situation and who wants to see it for himself. 
Following that this woman speaks the plain truth, also a young 
man joins in. Both live across from the refugee camp and give 
me a picture of their daily life, since according to official numbers 
5000, unofficially more like 7000 refugees are cared for in Traiskirchen. 
They emphasize three times that nobody has anything against the 
refugees or even have any tendency toward “Right wingers”, 
instead what I hear over and over again: „There are too many!“ 
For a community of 18,000 inhabitants this is an unbearable limit. 
In addition there are cultural differences, which have a fatal 
consequence for living together, as it is described to me.
This is a point, which many people meaning well and wanting 
to help, like to blind out, as I notice.

The woman and the man describe, how refugees sleep in the 
gardens of inhabitants and report a case, when a refugee chased 
away threw a plastic bag full of excrements a day later like a 
water bomb against the wall, in revenge to the inhabitants.
Native women do no longer dare to be alone when it is dark, 
because they are molested by young men; in the “Mühlbach”, 
which flows through the community, nobody dares 
to go into, because the refugees carelessly leave behind razor 
blades, cans and glass fragments; tent festivals have come to 
an end and from the natives, which want to sell their houses,
but are not able to sell them, is who we are talking about after 
me asking about it. But foremost I always hear two sentences: 
„We are no right-wingers, we feel sorry for the refugees, but 
there are too many.“ And they become more and more, in 
contrast to the promises of the politicians and the reports 
in the media. There is also the rumor that women are raped 
in the camp, this surprises nobody.

Then there is a private hotel, which wanted to accept refugees, 
but because the washbasins were at the wrong height, the 
officials deemed it unsuitable. Sometimes one is at a loss of words. 

I ask: What about the politicians and the police? 
Are you supported somehow? 

The police do whatever they can, but they are too few, in order 
to also care for the natives. People are totally disappointed in 
the politicians from Vienna. „They should live here for three 
months, and see what goes on here“, the woman tells me and 
the man nods in agreement. I look at a young man around 16, 
who sits in a garage entrance, and I am told… „yes, that old and 
most of them up to 25 years in age“, and this spreads great unease. 
And again and again I hear „there are too many“. The description of
the affected ones continues and I am asked to write that outlawing 
alcohol and vouchers (no cash) would be useful. And foremost 
there is no end in sight.

I ask, has anything changed in the last days, foremost 
after all the attention from the media, anything for 
the better? 

No, new refugees are added daily. Also the noise during the 
night is addressed, many natives barely find sleep during the 

All in all this is an unbearable situation for the natives as 
well as the refugees. This is obvious.
I am reminded of the proposal from Konstantin Wecker, 
as he mentioned, one should accept all refugees. 
Well intentioned, but not really good – for nobody.

And the Mayor?
His hands are bound, I am told, because as soon as he uses 
common practice, he is consider “rightwing” and wants to 
avoid this. But the mayor, Andreas Babler, is well liked and 
this is noticeable. I thank the woman and the man for their 
unhesitant information and continue my tour, whereby I 
climb up a wall made of bricks.
Behind it I see young men, who play soccer between car wrecks 
in a totally hopeless environment. This part of the camp cannot 
be seen from the outside. Therefore I decided to climb this wall. 
Again pictures from the destroyed Bosnia come to mind. After 
that I continue to drive my motor scooter at walking speed. 
Everywhere is dirt, I see inhabitants, which talk to each other 
between garden gate and the house entrance; I feel fear, 
worry and also powerlessness, but foremost anger.

In the faces of the refugees seeking protection pain, 
fear and hopelessness are reflected. Sometimes big 
children eyes look at me, seeing that for their young 
age they have seen much, way too much.
In total I perceive foremost among young men, who 
walk towards me in groups of 4, 5 or 6, an enormous 
potential for violence. With these pictures I leave the 
arrival camp for refugees in Traiskirchen and return
to Vienna.

Jahn J Kassl 

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