Reid Rehabilitation Camp – Upper Austria

Reid (also called Reid im Innkreis) in Upper Austria is located in a hollow of the Alpine foothills north of Hausruck Forest.

The camp was situated on the outskirts of the town, the surrounding countryside was fairly flat and described as being 'ideal TB healing' country. The idea of this camp was to house people with tuberculosis (TB) and people with disabilities (people who had little hope of resettlement due to the immigration system) and provide training opportunities so that they have better prospects for migration.

The camp was run by the International Refugee Organisation and the World's YMCA/YWCA.

Clare McMurray was Welfare Supervisor from November 1949 until August 1950.

Clare's reflections

Who and  why

The people with tuberculosis  (TB) were post sanatorium cases and they came to Reid so that they could be trained to do an occupation suitable for their health as many could no longer follow their own trade. The same applied to the disabled people who were mainly Jugoslav partisans who had been maimed fighting in the mountains. Some had lost an arm, others legs, some had no hands, some were blind.

 

These people were all in need of a new training and there was a faint hope that if we could show the selection teams that the people with TB and disabilities had a trade which they could follow, there might be a chance that some country would not consider them an encumbrance and would give them the chance of resettlement. 

The conditions

The Reid camp was completely renovated and made into a modified sanatorium and the refugees here had the best living quarters of any I saw in Austria.

 

Part of the camp consists of barracks and the other part, on the other side of the road, is brick buildings 5x 2 story, 3x 1 story, and 1x3 story. There is a very good bathhouse with shower cubicles and one large shower room with at least 40 showers.  A hospital barrack, kitchen barrack, store rooms, garage, stables and theatre complete the set out.

 

The barracks were divided up into small rooms, 2 people sharing a room and each barrack had toilets and washrooms. The kitchens had dining rooms attached so that they could all sit down to their meals and extra food supplies were allowed so that the menus could be varied.

 

Our welfare work

Large workshops were set up, teachers were employed and classes started. There were courses in joinery, shoemaking, dressmaking, radio mechanic, tailoring, electricity, motor mechanic, weaving, photography and painting. The men without a hand learned to be painters, in fact our one handed painters became quite well known. The people with TB went mainly to the radio and photography classes as this wasn’t strenuous work.

 

The YMCA provided all types of recreation – musical evenings, socials, dances, sport, clubs, library, film

shows, lectures, canteen. We opened a school and a nursery school for those under six years – and we built a church.

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