Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria

Nebenleitung-Association for Mutual Assistance in Fire Emergencies

Applicant: Verein für gegenseitige Hilfeleistung bei Brandfällen ,Nebenleistung', Obmann Johann Wimmer
Province: Lower Austria
Domain: Social Practices
Year of inclusion: 2010

This association is the self-help organization of the community of St. Oswald in the Yspertal (Lower Austria). This association supports the region’s inhabitants either financially or by other means after fire emergencies. In short, the organization is an “ancillary service“.

The first association for mutual assistance in fire emergencies in St. Oswald was founded in the mid-19th century, following an increase in major fires in order to provide fast and non-bureaucratic assistance after agricultural factory and residential house fires. This has remained unchanged ever since. Eleven representatives are elected every ten years; they assess the damage and organize assistance according to the association’s constitution. The affected inhabitants must prove their innocence with respect to the fire before any service can be granted.