In February 1934, Alois (Louis) Buttinger, an Austrian socialist, was director of the Sonnenhof Lind children's centre in Villach-Lind, part of Villach in Austria.
In the aftermath of the February Uprising of 1934, which led to the subsequent prohibition of the Social Democratic Party and the Dollfuß constitution of 1 May 1934, Buttinger emigrated to England in May 1934. Later, he returned illegally to Villach, but had to flee again, with his wife, on the night of 11–12 March 1938 when the Nazis entered Austria. In English exile again, Buttinger worked for the refugee assistance programme organized by the Austrian socialists. In 1941, he and his family sailed to the United States—immigrant visas had been organized by his brother Joseph Buttinger who, with his American-born wife, Muriel Gardiner, had made his way to the US in Autumn 1939; one of the endorsements for the visa application was provided by Albert Einstein.
In 1950, now using the firstname Louis, Buttinger and his wife Friedl founded Camp Hillcroft in Dutchess County, New York which was still being managed by his son and grandson more in the first decade of the next century.