Vienna - Westbahnhof

Caritas collection point for old clothing.

Sacks of donated items are lying around in the collection point. Three people with Caritas jackets smoke and laugh in front of the entrance. Volunteers are told to just go in, just help with sorting. The items donated, such as evening wear, were not usable for the migrants, they were not even intended for them, but for sale at various Caritas sales outlets, such as on Wiedner Hauptstraße, where you can purchase them at the usual fashion prices.


A good deal, considering that Caritas can get these things for the price of zero euros.


The most of the people hope to be able to help someone in need by throwing the things they no longer need into Caritas boxes. They do not even think of helping an unmanageable organization to get money and thus power. Because Caritas employees do not give that things to the needy for free, but prefer to take them home for themselves or friends.

This was exactly what happened in 2015, when a few newly arrived refugees at the Johanniter reception center on Mariahilfer Strasse urgently needed some dry clothing. Caritas employees claimed that they were not allowed to give for free clothes for migrants. When these employees of Caritas went home, they were seen on the way with two sacks of donated clothes.

Police response


On the next train track was a large group of male people who did not want to take the train to Germany because they took their fingerprints to the border. These were reported directly to the police at the railway station. The Police Officers were the only  who really helped during this difficult time. Also when looking for people, because it happened again and again that families were separated, that the man was already in Germany, but the woman and the children were still at Westbahnhof.



One evening, many football fans were walking quite loudly on Mariahilfer Strasse. A group of fans grouped around a man lying on the floor and kicked him on the head. However, he was taken out by a woman. The woman didn't say a word. She just stood in front of the group until they let the man go to her. For some reason this group of freaky fans obviously got scared and let the man go to her. The policeman, who came by with the patrol car shortly after, said he had never seen anything like this in his entire life and called for the man the rescue via radio.


The injured man had a severe brain concussion and was taken to the hospital by an emergency rescue service.

Applicant for asylum


A woman wearing a Caritas jacket came in during the sorting work at the collection point. She didn't know what to do: she was given a whole group of refugees who applied for asylum in Vienna to look after. The Red Cross volunteers didn't want to take care of the group either, so they gave them to her. She just does not want to do anything for them. She just wants to pass on the hot potatoes.


After reading the documents, it turned out that only two people and a child, a small family, made the application for asylum. They had to go to a camp in southern Styria until evening, otherwise they would be punished. The two only knew Arabic, there was no interpreter far and wide and they had to catch three trains with short departure times in time. Of course they couldn't read with our alphabet either and they should get the tickets on their own, but they had no money with them.


So was asked the head of Caritas, who was preparing the next train to Germany for refugees at the collection point. Exactly this word was used: "Refugees" and that was unfortunately very problematic for the dear sir. So he gave a five-minute speech about racism and inhumanity of all persons who use the word "refugee" in what he believed to be very competent. His friend and adjutant nodded confidently. That was the end of the matter for both of them. That was the very charitable help of Caritas for the family.


Because Caritas did not help, some other people bought privately tickets for that family and also something to drink for them. The three were handed over to the train attendant, along with the timetable and the list of stops where they should change, just in time for the train departure.


© 2020 Nicoleta Schiel