Self-Sufficiency Series

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Austria, 1938

Don’t Let Freedom Slip Away

By Kitty Werthmann

What I am about to tell you is something you’ve probably never heard or will ever read in history books.

I believe that I am an eyewitness to history. I cannot tell you that Hitler took Austria by tanks and guns; it would distort history. We elected him by a landslide – 98% of the vote. I’ve never read that in any American publications. Everyone thinks that Hitler just rolled in with his tanks and took Austria by force.

In 1938, Austria was in deep Depression. Nearly one-third of our workforce was unemployed. We had 25% inflation and 25% bank loan interest rates. Farmers and business people were declaring bankruptcy daily. Young people were going from house to house begging for food. Not that they didn’t want to work; there simply weren’t any jobs. My mother was a Christian woman and believed in helping people in need. Every day we cooked a big kettle of soup and baked bread to feed those poor, hungry people – about 30 daily.

The Communist Party and the National Socialist Party were fighting each other. Blocks and blocks of cities like Vienna, Linz, and Graz were destroyed. The people became desperate and petitioned the government to let them decide what kind of government they wanted.

We looked to our neighbor on the north, Germany, where Hitler had been in power since 1933. We had been told that they didn’t have unemployment or crime, and they had a high standard of living. Nothing was ever said about persecution of any group -- Jewish or otherwise. We were led to believe that everyone was happy. We wanted the same way of life in Austria. We were promised that a vote for Hitler would mean the end of unemployment and help for the family. Hitler also said that businesses would be assisted, and farmers would get their farms back. Ninety-eight percent of the population voted to annex Austria to Germany and have Hitler for our ruler.

We were overjoyed, and for three days we danced in the streets and had candlelight parades. The new government opened up big field kitchens and everyone was fed.

After the election, German officials were appointed, and like a miracle, we suddenly had law and order. Three or four weeks later, everyone was employed. The government made sure that a lot of work was created through the Public Work Service.

Hitler decided we should have equal rights for women. Before this, it was a custom that married Austrian women did not work outside the home. An able-bodied husband would be looked down on if he couldn’t support his family. Many women in the teaching profession were elated that they could retain the jobs they previously had been required to give up for marriage.

Hitler Targets Education – Eliminates Religious Instruction for Children
Our education was nationalized. I attended a very good public school. The population was predominantly Catholic, so we had religion in our schools. The day we elected Hitler (March 13, 1938), I walked into my schoolroom to find the crucifix replaced by Hitler’s picture hanging next to a Nazi flag. Our teacher, a very devout woman, stood up and told the class we wouldn’t pray or have religion anymore. Instead, we sang “Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alles,” and had physical education. Sunday became National Youth Day with compulsory attendance. Parent were not pleased about the sudden change in curriculum. They were told that if they did not send us, they would receive a stiff letter of warning the first time. The second time they would be fined the equivalent of $300, and the third time they would be subject to jail. The first two hours consisted of political indoctrination. The rest of the day we had sports. As time went along, we loved it. Oh, we had so much fun and got our sports equipment free. We would go home and gleefully tell our parents about the wonderful time we had.

My mother was very unhappy. When the next term started, she took me out of public school and put me in a convent. I told her she couldn’t do that and she told me that someday when I grew up, I would be grateful. There was a very good curriculum, but hardly any fun – no sports, and no political indoctrination. I hated it at first but felt I could tolerate it. Every once in a while, on holidays, I went home. I would go back to my old friends and ask what was going on and what they were doing. Their loose lifestyle was very alarming to me. They lived without religion. By that time unwed mothers were glorified for having a baby for Hitler. It seemed strange to me that our society changed so suddenly. As time went along, I realized what a great deed my mother did so that I wasn’t exposed to that kind of humanistic philosophy.

Equal Rights Hits Home
In 1939, the war started and a food bank was established. All food was rationed and could only be purchased using food stamps. At the same time, a full-employment law was passed which meant if you didn’t work, you didn’t get a ration card, and if you didn’t have a card, you starved to death. Women who stayed home to raise their families didn’t have any marketable skills and often had to take jobs more suited for men.

Soon after this, the draft was implemented. It was compulsory for young people, male and female, to give one year to the labor corps. During the day, the girls worked on the farms, and at night they returned to their barracks for military training just like the boys. They were trained to be anti-aircraft gunners and participated in the signal corps. After the labor corps, they were not discharged but were used in the front lines. When I go back to Austria to visit my family and friends, most of these women are emotional cripples because they just were not equipped to handle the horrors of combat. Three months before I turned 18, I was severely injured in an air raid attack. I nearly had a leg amputated, so I was spared having to go into the labor corps and into military service.

Hitler Restructured the Family Through Daycare
When the mothers had to go out into the work force, the government immediately established child care centers. You could take your children ages four weeks to school age and leave them there around-the-clock, seven days a week, under the total care of the government. The state raised a whole generation of children. There were no motherly women to take care of the children, just people highly trained in child psychology. By this time, no one talked about equal rights. We knew we had been had.

Health Care and Small Business Suffer Under Government Controls
Before Hitler, we had very good medical care. Many American doctors trained at the University of Vienna . After Hitler, health care was socialized, free for everyone. Doctors were salaried by the government. The problem was, since it was free, the people were going to the doctors for everything. When the good doctor arrived at his office at 8 a.m., 40 people were already waiting and, at the same time, the hospitals were full. If you needed elective surgery, you had to wait a year or two for your turn. There was no money for research as it was poured into socialized medicine. Research at the medical schools literally stopped, so the best doctors left Austria and emigrated to other countries.

As for healthcare, our tax rates went up to 80% of our income. Newlyweds immediately received a $1,000 loan from the government to establish a household. We had big programs for families. All day care and education were free. High schools were taken over by the government and college tuition was subsidized. Everyone was entitled to free handouts, such as food stamps, clothing, and housing.

We had another agency designed to monitor business. My brother-in-law owned a restaurant that had square tables. Government officials told him he had to replace them with round tables because people might bump themselves on the corners. Then they said he had to have additional bathroom facilities. It was just a small dairy business with a snack bar. He couldn’t meet all the demands. Soon, he went out of business. If the government owned the large businesses and not many small ones existed, it could be in control.

We had consumer protection. We were told how to shop and what to buy. Free enterprise was essentially abolished. We had a planning agency specially designed for farmers. The agents would go to the farms, count the live-stock, then tell the farmers what to produce, and how to produce it.

“Mercy Killing” Redefined
In 1944, I was a student teacher in a small village in the Alps. The villagers were surrounded by mountain passes which, in the winter, were closed off with snow, causing people to be isolated. So people intermarried and offspring were sometimes retarded. When I arrived, I was told there were 15 mentally retarded adults, but they were all useful and did good manual work. I knew one, named Vincent, very well. He was a janitor of the school. One day I looked out the window and saw Vincent and others getting into a van. I asked my superior where they were going. She said to an institution where the State Health Department would teach them a trade, and to read and write. The families were required to sign papers with a little clause that they could not visit for 6 months. They were told visits would interfere with the program and might cause homesickness. As time passed, letters started to dribble back saying these people died a natural, merciful death. The villagers were not fooled. We suspected what was happening. Those people left in excellent physical health and all died within 6 months. We called this euthanasia.

The Final Steps - Gun Laws
Next came gun registration. People were getting injured by guns. Hitler said that the real way to catch criminals (we still had a few) was by matching serial numbers on guns. Most citizens were law abiding and dutifully marched to the police station to register their firearms. Not long afterward, the police said that it was best for everyone to turn in their guns. The authorities already knew who had them, so it was futile not to comply voluntarily.

No more freedom of speech. Anyone who said something against the government was taken away. We knew many people who were arrested, not only Jews, but also priests and ministers who spoke up.

Totalitarianism didn’t come quickly, it took five years from 1938 until 1943, to realize full dictatorship in Austria. Had it happened overnight, my countrymen would have fought to the last breath. Instead, we had creeping gradualism. Now, our only weapons were broom handles. The whole idea sounds almost unbelievable that the state, little by little eroded our freedom.

After World War II, Russian troops occupied Austria. Women were raped, preteen to elderly. The press never wrote about this either. When the Soviets left in 1955, they took everything that they could, dismantling whole factories in the process. They sawed down whole orchards of fruit, and what they couldn’t destroy, they burned. We called it The Burned Earth. Most of the population barricaded themselves in their houses. Women hid in their cellars for six weeks as the troops mobilized. Those who couldn’t, paid the price. There is a monument in Vienna today, dedicated to those women who were massacred by the Russians. This is an eye witness account.

After America, there is no place to go.

13 comments:

  1. Thanks for an excellent review of the events following the Anschluss. Could this happen in America? History has a tendency of repeating itself.

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  2. Our duty is clear - fight FIGHT FIGHT!!!


    Steve Davis
    Anchorage, Alaska

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    1. Don't Surrender .. RELOAD .... Quote by the First Lady from Alaska

      jim Rediker

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  3. Utterly disturbing, Lewis.

    People need to read more and more accounts of survivors from communist regimes, so that we can get an idea of what's coming here in the next ten years.

    The more we know, the more likely we can survive it somehow.

    Laramie Hirsch

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  4. The line that really jumped out at me here was.."Totalitarianism didn't come quickly". This is also true of what has become of America.I hate to sound like a nut here but this has been a long slow path towards a dictatorship here in America. At least 40 or more years in the making. Control money and education. That seems to be the plan.

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  5. Patrice-
    What a wonderfully depressing post. Such sobering words. How we can't see the forest through the trees. I am thinking geographic isolation!
    Tiffani

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  6. Great post. I also recommend Richard Wurmbrand's "Tortured for Christ" and his wife's book "The Pastor's Wife" for a personal account of the rise of the Third Reich and how it affected Christians.

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  7. As a detached outsider I don't understand why Kitty Werthmann is linking Austria's early 20th century history with present day USA. Austria was hardly a stable democracy pripr to WW2 but had right and left wing militias fighting in the streets. What parallels are there with today in the US? One of the comments above says "Fight, fight , fight"! Who is going to fight who I wonder?

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  8. quedula....Who is going to fight whom you ask?

    We the People are going to be fighting eachother. This IS an 'us-vs-them' strategy from this clown-bama in office.
    He knows exactly what hes doing.

    All of this 'Hope-n-Change' was used by despots in the past to dupe the masses into tyranny.

    Heres the truth of the matter.

    Minorities, are, by nature, socialists. minorities have never really been able to raise themselves above the Americans, the non-minority status. Thats the truth. And they are not used to freedoms like the ones we enjoy.

    Therefore they want to 'change' this Nation into a socialistic government to fit THEIR needs, the Original Americans be damned.

    The minorities are coming for everybody that does not have a tan, brown to black. The Whites are the targets of this new government....because without Whites theyll be able to do anything they want and the rest of the people left will gladly and wilfully give up their freedoms they have...because they are not used to freedoms, as we know them.

    With this election of obama it is apparent that this was nothing more than a 'racial-election'. The majority has handed their destiny into the hands of the few that have espoused in the past 50 years that they hate, blame and want vengeance on us evil and wicked Whites.
    The naive and gullible Whites of this Nation wanted so bad to rid themselves of this Scarlet "R" that has been placed on them by the TRUE racists. The Whites have been bought and sold in this Country their ForeFathers conquered...for US..
    The Whites of this Nation were so gleeful to appoint a black man, ANY black man, so they could be 'atoned' for sins they didnt commit.

    They were duped from 3 kindergarten words, 'hope' 'and' 'change'. WOW!!, that really says [alot] about them. ALOT.

    They were duped.....and deserve EVERYTHING that happens to them. EVERYTHING.

    So, who will be fighting?....OURSELVES, because of the actions of the few.

    Im considered a hater and a racist because I have interest that effect MY people as a whole.

    And make no mistake, quedula.....this IS racial. The masses are coming for the White Establishment, the White Traditions, the White Heritage and the White History.

    I know this to be true because Ive been studying this subject for years now.....20 years to be exact.

    People can luagh and ridicule me all they want, but in the end it will be the screams of horror from their very mouths that will drown out the static.

    I just feel pity for the unsuspecting fools that do not understand this.

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  9. You can see some of these things happening right here in our contry. Yes we need to stand up against it. Its time for everyone prach out against this or we will be like this article

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  10. Kitty Werthmann has presented a survivor’s warning from history. For God’s sake will anyone pay attention?

    Twentieth Century totalitarianism has an established blueprint written in the blood of tens of millions even by low estimate. She has outlined, step by step, the process by which the plans have been followed.

    A desperate, apathetic population practically begs for a strong charismatic leader to change the status quo, lulled by lies and promises of impossible utopias to alleviate the population’s current predicament and with lies and promises of bringing profits for those seeking rewards of money and narcissistic acclaim.

    We have only to look at the written record and testament to see that those plans WORK and that those men that seek to impose their vision of what an ideal world should be, WILL implement them. They will enforce the benevolence of their will upon an unsuspecting and slowly coerced society until they become willing conspirators and victims to ANY ungodly policy.

    The steps are incremental and can be fought up to a point. But only to a point.

    These mere men seeking to impose the rule of will have fevered dreams fomented in the dark basements of the past and now are still reinforced in comfortable dens over cups of coffee, lectures in academia, and corporate boardrooms to discuss their strategy among the learned achievers and easily influenced brutes alike.

    The statists and their ilk have as their Bible the cold hearted, mechanistic Darwinian ideology of survival of the fittest and the discredited humanistic Triumph Of The Will over individuality to create a world of WHAT SHOULD BE. The virulent beliefs of a minority are no impediment to stripping the freedom and justice from a hamstringed majority as modern history so aptly shows.

    What is the worth of one human to a statist when the whole of society must dutifully follow the dictates of legislated ideology? What is the worth of a hundred? What is the worth of a thousand individuals? What is the worth of ten million husbands, wives, children and single adults in a subdued nation of 300 million?

    We stand now at a crossroads where we may find out. It’s too late to be afraid or ignorant.

    We must act now through the ballot and stand as happy warriors in faith, reason and with determination, come what may, against what we know has always happened when a utopian nightmare becomes law.

    It’s freedom and all the pain, discipline, self-sacrifice, and hard work that a free life in pursuit of happiness entails or what history screams to us the lie of utopia promises.

    That promise is barbwire. Always.

    History has shown that no race, color, creed, sex, or nationality is a safeguard from the inferno that lies in waiting.

    -J. Brown

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  11. The foreigners are flush with cash, and we are a broke welfare state. I am coming to the realization that acceptance of the mosque at ground zero, uncontrolled borders, and other destructive events are partially reflecting the loss of sovereignty for the USA. Who is your new master going to be? The Saudis? The Chinese? Maybe the Iranians?

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