Austrian WWII Survivor Explains How Easily A Country Can Fall for Socialism
The following is a transcript of a speech by Kitty Werthmann, an Austrian World War II survivor, giving her account of Hitler’s takeover of Austria (emphasis mine, video of her speech at the end). The similarities today are staggering.
The media still claims that Hitler rolled into Austria with tanks and guns and took us over. Not true at all. The fact is that the Austrian people elected Hitler by 98% of the vote by means of the ballot box.
Now how coul that happen, in a Christian nation almost 100% Catholic, that they would elect a monster like Hitler?
Hitler did not look like a monster. He did not act like a monster. He talked like an American politician.
The year was 1938. Austria was in a very deep depression. We had more than 30% unemployment, we had 25% inflation, and if you borrowed money from the bank you paid 25% interest. That’s why farmers were going broke, businesses were going broke, they couldn’t pay their mortgage, or they couldn’t pay their taxes.
What was even worse, we had riots in our cities. We had whole blocks of the cities burned down and our law enforcement was almost helpless, they could not control the riots.
The unions were calling for strikes and industry would close and factories would close up hence all this unemployment. It was not unusual in my home that 30 people a day would knock on the door for a bowl of soup and a slice of bread. They could keep themself alive by going door to door. There were no jobs, they were young people, college graduates, no jobs.
The media told us that in Germany, where Hitler ruled since 1933, they had full employment, they had a high living standard, and everybody was driving the little Beetle car, the Volkswagon. We did not hear a whisper that anybody was being persecuted or arrested, we only heard good things. And of course we spoke the same language, we spoke German, we had the same culture, there was only a border between us, Austria and Germany, like South and North Dakota, and we said ‘why not’, we would like to have the same high living standard that Germany had, and of all the things, jobs. People wanted to work.
Austrian people are not lazy, they want to work. So the Austrian people petitioned the government for an election and hence the Austrian people elected Hitler by 98% of the vote. So we got a new government, national socialism. I’ll translate for you, Nationalsozialismus, from the word ‘national’ the word ‘Nazi’ derived. So we were getting a Nazi government.
Nobody was elected anymore from the school board, the city commission, the county commission, legislature, governors, they were all appointed. Well, we thought they would only pick the best people to govern us just like in Germany. We trusted them, we did not ask questions. So the first thing that happened we had to carry national ID card. You could not board a bus, a train, without showing your national ID card. Don’t ever let that happen here, very bad idea.
The next thing that happened, Hitler gave us free radios so we could listen to him. He was a great orator. And then he nationalized the radio station and we were warned if we were to turn on a foreign radio station, like British broadcasting or Switzerland, death penalty. Nobody turned on a foreign radio station because you know what the death penalty meant. So the newspaper, before it hit the street, was censored by the government. The only voice we had was the government controlled radio station and the government controlled newspaper.
So alot of new things happened very quick. Hitler gave us equal rights. Oh, that sounded so very good, equal rights for everybody. Also everyone was getting a guaranteed income from the government. The equal rights, here we call it the Equal Rights Amendment, was designied in two components: equality econonics and social. Economics, that was designed to equalize the country’s wealth because everybody was entitled to a guaranteed equal income. In order to do that they had to raise our taxes up to 70%.
To equalize the wealth, those who were on the lower income level to graduate them up to an equal level they got subsidized housing, they got food stamps, they got heating fuel, and they got a certain amount of payment from the government for each child. So they equalized the country’s wealth by taxing us 70% to bring that level, the lower income level, to an equal level and that is called socialism.
Of course under socialism everyone has to be on the work force. Before Hitler, of course the moms stayed home. They were good wives and they raised their families. But under socialism if you are not in the work force you are called a parasite. So the moms were being put out into the work force.
So what happened to the children? Childcare centers. It was all free for everybody. You could bring your 4-month old baby leave it there 24 hours, 7 days a week. The longer you left your child there the better the government liked it. The staff of the childcare centers, they were not the grandmotherly types of women who took care of the children, they were young women highly skilled in child psychology to mold the babies from 4 weeks on up, how the government wanted them. The government raised our children. So that was the ‘equality’, equal rights for everybody.
The next thing that happened, education was nationalized. We had a very good educational system in Austria before Hitler. I went to public school, we had a very good curriculum, we even prayed in public school before class and after class. That morning after the election I walked into my classroom and the crucifix was gone. And the teacher said, “This morning we greet each other ‘Heil Hitler” and she said ‘we don’t pray anymore, we sing ‘Germany Above Everybody”. And she also said we would not have twice a week religious education anymore, we woud have physical education. Oh, we did not mind that, it was a lot more fun to play ball than to study the bible or learn long prayers. She also said that on Sunday we would not go to church anymore because Sundays was Compulsary National Youth Day. We had to attend at 8:00 in the morning to the gymnasium instead of going to church.
The first two hours we had Political Education. Today I would call it Political Indoctrination. We were being told not to listen to our parents, they were just old fashioned, old fogies. They did not understand the young people, only Hitler did, so don’t listen to your parents anymore. And besides, you had freeom and you had rights so our parents could not tell us anymore when to come home at that we could decide that for ourselves. The rest of the day we had sports. We got all the sports equipment free, we got tennis rackets, we got skis, everything. And the boys of age 16, they got motorcycles. And of course everybody had to join the Hilter Youth, that was compulsary. So the rest of the day we had sports and fun. When we returned home at night we told our parents how much fun we had and how much better it was, and all that sports equipment we got free, much more fun than going to church
Well, my parents were very concerned, especially my mother. So when my next school term came about in October she announced that she would enroll me in a private school with an excellent curriculum but not much fun. Off we went to the new school, high wall all around and a locked iron gate. And as I bid my mother goodbye at the gate I almost hated her. I thought she was putting me in a prison. But she was a wise woman. She said today you do not understand why I’m doing this for you, but when you grow up a bit you will understand. Had my mother not intervened, today I would be a radical Marxist. So on holidays I could go back home for a visit. Of course I was curious, I would go back to my former classmates and find out what was going on. I was shocked. 16-year old girls were having babies for Hitler and that was glorified. Oh, Hitler wanted a lot of babies, blonde hair and blue eyes, the master race. I was shocked. So that was our educational system.
Hitler also nationalized our car industry. Austria built a little car a little bit bigger than the Fiat. Hitler said we don’t need another little car we already have the Beetle car, the Volkswagon, so he turned the car industry into the defense industry.
Hilter also nationalzed our banks. Hilter said those greedy banks, they were the ones that charged 25% interest and that is why the farmers were going broke and the businesses were going broke and he looted the Jewish banks. So our banks were being nationalized.
Next thing that happened, he nationalized our healthcare system. We had a reasonably good healthcare system which was financed by private insusrance. We had good hospitals, we had good doctors, and everybody was reasonably being cared for. This all changed very fast. My brother-in-law, who was a family physician, he told me that when he arrived at his office at 8:00 in the morning 40 patients would be lined up waiting for him to be cared for. He said it was like practicing medicine on a conveyor belt. He only had time for 5 or 10 minutes per patient, and besides all the paperwork, it was a system from well taken healthcare to a very, very bad system. And what was even worse he told me that naturally all the doctors were being salaried by the government. There was no more free market, free market did not exist anymore, the government salaried all the doctors. So my brother-in-law was a very conscientious doctor. He would only prescribe medication that the patient really needed, but if that medication was not on the government’s list they took it out of his salary and his salary dwindled down to almost nothing. So a lot of doctors left the country, including my own husband. My husband did not want to practice medicine like his brother had to; he wanted free market medicine. He came to this country and I remember him telling me how wonderful our healthcare system was, how modern our hospitals were compared to what he left behind. He said I hope it will never change. Today he would turn over in his grave how healthcare will change.
Also of course under a socialist government you have a lot of rules and regulations. We had a planning agency that was designed to control the businesses and the farmers. The bureaucrats, oh we had tons of bureaucrats, that’s how Hitler created jobs, government jobs. They would go out in the farms and count the livestock, and tell the farmers what to plant, how much to plant, and how much they had ot harvest regardless of the weather. They would go into the businesses and snoop around what they could find under the auspices of ‘health and safety’. They were nitpicking everybody, and I hear that alot of times from my audiences, how the bureaucrats come into their businesses and snoop around what they can criticize and what the business owners have to replace. And that’s why alot of businesses in Austria could not afford replacement whatever it was. Round tables vs. square tables, and more bathrooms, so a lot of businesses closed their doors. Also the bureaucrats would go out to the farms and count the chickens and order the chickens how many eggs they had to lay. Absolutely ridiculous.
Hitler wrote a book ‘Mein Kampf’ (‘My Struggle’). He wrote in the book everything that he was going to do, that he was going to take over the world. But the Austrian people were so busy with athletics and sports so very few people read the book. Had we read the book we would have known what was coming.
Abortions were highly illegal. Hitler wanted a lot of babies, blonde hair and blue eyes, the master race. But when a couple was not 100% Aryan and the woman was pregnant she was forced to have an abortion. Hitler did not want any foreign blood, only the Aryan pure German blood.
We also had euthanesia, killing people In my last year of college I was sent to a small village to do my practice teaching. Maybe I should back up and tell you what really happened in education. When the time came to pick your major in college, I wanted to be a journalist and writer. I was told they didn’t need journalists or writers, I was told they needed young teachers. So I had to go into education. I did not mind that because I like children, so in my last year in college I was sent to a small village in the mountains. I was told that because in the winter time the mountain passes would close because of the masses of snow so people in that village, they intermarried family into family. And we know because of genetics that sometimes the offspring, the baby, is a bit mentally handicapped. So when I arrived in that village I was told they had about 15 mentally handicapped people.
One man I knew very well, he was the janitor in our school, Vincent. He could not read or write, he could not talk very well, but he kept our school very clean. So one morning I looked out my window and there was a van from the health department and all these people were being ushered into the van. So I asked my principal where are they going to take Vincent and all the rest of the people, I thought they take him for an outing for a picnic. The principal said oh no, the health department came around and asked the parents if they want to institutionalize their son or daughter to learn how to read and write. Gladly the parents signed the papers and off they went. Six months later, the letters came to the parents that their son or daughter died a ‘natural but merciful’ death. The news traveled very fast in that village, people said well they all left in excellent health and why should they all die within six months? It dawned on that villagers that they were being euthanized. After the war I found out that 20,000 children, handicapped children, were being euthanized. Hitler wanted perfect people.
On a personal note, God forbid should I ever become handicapped. I will never apply for a handicapped license plate because I don’t want to get on the list. And I know that under Obama’s healthcare we have eugenics, and that means those of us who are getting old like me, I am 87 years old, there is no more money for us.
We also had a federal police force, secret police, commonly knowns as the Gestapo. And they were everywhere in civilian clothes. You didn’t know who they were, people disappeared all the time and nobody knew where people were being taken. The Gestapo watched everybody’s coming and goings. Because we had national ID cards and of course you could not board a bus or a train without showing your national ID card. They kept track of us and we were so scared.
The most scared of everything, we were of the Gestapo, the secret police. This is how it works. Since the war was going on all our food was being rationed. We got 1 pound of sugar a month so if somebody in your family passed away, like grandma, you quickly took that coveted sugar coupon and went to the grocery store and bought that pound of sugar. The next day the Gestapo would knock on your door and say ‘we know that you did not turn in the sugar coupon, you bought that pound of sugar. But I am not going to arrest you but you have to inform on your boss, your neighbor, your friend, everybody you know, and you have to report to us once a week.’ They created a network of informers. We could not trust our neighbors, we couldn’t trust our friends, we couldn’t trust the mailman, nobody. We were afraid to talk to anybody anything political because we did not know who was informing on everybody. A network of informers they created.
I believe it was in February ’09, I’m a lobbyist in our capitol in South Dakota. And that morning I drove to our capitol about 8:00 and I had the car radio on and there was President Obama saying, ‘If you hear anybody criticizing me call the White House.’ When I arrived in the capitol I quickly went to verify. I asked some of the legislators if they heard the same story and they said yes, we also heard that. Can you imagine, creating a network of informers, informing and call the White House? Yes, it’s happening.
We also had gun control. The government said that children were playing with guns and we had hunting accidents, people accidentally shooting each other, and we had criminals, murderers. The only way they could track the murders was by the serial number of the gun. So bring your gun to the police station then we can register the serial number and we can track the criminal. And we thought that was a good idea, so gladly we did that. Not long afterwards they said no, it did not help, we could not track all the criminals, the best way to have no more crimes and no more people getting hurt, bring your guns to the police station. And they already know who had guns because we registered our guns.
Keep your guns and buy more guns and stock up on your ammo! A gun is no good if you don’t have any ammo!
Dictatorship did not happen overnight. It took five years, from 1938 until 1943, we had a full-blown dictatorship. Had we kept our guns we would have fought a bloody battle to the last man and women to keep our freedom–but we had no guns. A classic example is in Switzerland it is law that everyboyd has to have a gun. And Hitler took every country in Europe except Switzerland and Switzerland did not have a war for over 600 years and Hitler never tackled Switzerland. So keep your guns–keep your guns.
Like I said, the only information we had was what the government provided for us, the nationalized radio station and the censored newspaper. Nobody could come in and nobody could get out. We had no information, none whatsoever. We did not know that we had concentration camps; we found that out after the Americans and the allies liberated us that we had concentration camps and we were shocked; we were totally shocked.
When the people fear the government that’s tyranny, but when the government fears the people that’s liberty.
We have to take our country back as we know it and a good way is that we educate our friends, everybody…I urge you to have house parties…educate them on socialism. We are almost 80% there. We have to take our country back as we know it. Those of us who sailed past the Statue of Liberty, we came to a country of unbelievable freedom and opportunity.
America is the greatest country in the world–if we can keep it.