Don’t let freedom slip away: A Nazi survivor warns America

Kitty Werthmann, 85, is the president of the South Dakota Eagle Forum.

Werthmann was born in Austria, lived for 7 years under the Nazi regime (the word Nazi is an abbreviation of National Socialism), followed by 3 years under Soviet occupation. So she knows very well what socialism, oppression, and the loss of liberty are.

In the essay below, Werthmann describes how Hitler came to power and the steps taken by the Nazi regime which incrementally took away the people’s freedom.

First, the government took control of the schools and got rid of religious instruction. Then, the family was undermined. Next came the socialization of health care, followed by the “mercy killing” of those the regime deemed worthless and burdens on society. Finally, the Nazis went after privately-owned guns.

Sound familiar?

~Eowyn & Joan

America: 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 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. 98% 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. Parents 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 4 weeks to school age and leave them there around-the-clock, 7 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.

The Socialization of Health 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 stoppedso 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 after-wards, 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 5 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 6 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.

Those of us who sailed past the Statue of Liberty came to a country of unbelievable freedom and opportunity. America truly is the greatest country in the world. Don’t let freedom slip away. For after America, there is no place to go.

24 responses to “Don’t let freedom slip away: A Nazi survivor warns America

  1. Great post and an even more powerful lesson to those who need to listen. My dad was stationed in Germany and he observed great kindnesses from citizens in the countryside, but he also witnessed and participated in horrible things too. He would not tell us about the worst of them or what caused some of his occasional nightmares over the years. He was fortunate to be able to attend 3 days of the Nuremberg Trials as he knew one the American judges. We never tired of hearing his account of watching Goering, Himmler, Streicher and the others sitting in their chairs with headphones on for translation purposes and an American MP standing behind each one. He noted how they sat there stone-faced showing no emotions and refusing to answer questions from the prosecutors.

    It has to be so very dissapointing to a remarkable woman like Kitty Werthmann to have witnessed and survived only to watch the US following the same path in ONE lifetime! I would never have dreamed it myself because we were taught the history in school and our parents who were in the war taught us about it at home.

    Our legislators are cowards and are just as complicit for allowing a shadow government to take control as the individuals who are behind this.

    • Our legislators are participating in the communist takeover,Maybe not all ,but most of them have sold their integrity and care little for the people or our country.I am done sending letters to congressmen.I have left the Republican party and re registered Independent..I am a Tea Party conservative,its the only hope we have now,

  2. Correction: Hess not Himmler…….

  3. My Father was a fighter pilot in Vietnam and told me of some of the Communist and Socialist policies and tactics used on the North Vietnamese people to indoctrinate and subjugate them. I have also met several individuals from the former Soviet Union who told me of their subjugation under communism. Families could not even trust each other (Mothers, Fathers, sons and daughters). The ones that could always met in the bathroom to talk with showers running as many suspected of not participating in the communist way were bugged with electronic eavesdropping. I am afraid we are headed down the same path, but because of our strong religious founding and staunch individualism which is waning precariously below 50% it is taking the progressives much longer in America, but they will never give up so they must be defeated and never allowed to hold any political or governmental positions for their philosophy is proven to be against freedom and liberty( It is treasonous to me to our constitution). I pray God will provide an Angel to raise up Americans and open their eyes and ears to God’s word and provide a great warrior like Joshua to lead us to victory over this very soon to be totally despotic government which is violating our God given rights every day. I pray his will and not mine will be done though.
    It may already be too late to abstain from a forceful confrontation, which deeply saddens me, because the slow, slow loss of liberty is moving the sheep to the slaughter and enough must be awakened to stop the many socialist in Washington, our schools and universities, and governmental agencies throughout the Nation. I also pray that it can be done by the ballot box, but based on the level of now violated Biblical principals within our founding documents and the voter fraud by governmental union thugs and radicals, I am extremely concerned.
    I am comforted that so many young men and women in our Armed forces are still Christian Patriots and would not execute Socialist orders against our people and that some individuals have come forward and been elected to congress(like certain Tea Party members). The liberals have been undermining the military for many decades by forcing liberal social equality into our military like mandating non-christian principled individuals into our forces and replacing patriots in the Military leadership roles(at the top) with liberal socialist. The Military has one purpose and should never be a social equality experiment. I for one will not surrender my God given rights nor my soul to them. I I pray that the Holy Spirit will comfort and direct my path. I thank Dr, Eowyn for allowing me a forum to express my concerns.

  4. I am sorry, but it’s too late already.

    And has been for some time.

    -Dave

  5. Please go to http://www.fhu.com….it has changed my life…it will give you hope, instead of despair ……

  6. we will all bear the ignorance of libertism…may they be th first to realize their ignorance…….what’s withthe Jews? very shoet memory? I’m not going dowm without a vicious resistance!!!!

  7. I meant to post http://www.fhu.com or if you have PSTD go to http://www.patriotoutreach.org

  8. I have read Kitty:s story before on other sites..She is of course 100% correct.And Obama is the same evil man as Hitler was…

  9. This is what I’ve been warning people about since 2008. I still can’t understand why people don’t recognize the dangers.

  10. I did not have a leg to stand on the first four years that Obama was in office. I didn’t vote cause I have never liked any of our leader’s since Reagan. Me and my sister would argue about what was happening to our country and she would not let me forget that I couldn’t say a thing because I had not voted. This time I can gladly say that I voted for who I thought was the lesser of the two evils. And he still lost by the electoral votes, not by the popular ones. All I can do now is pray that the United States of America makes it through the next four years. God help us all.

  11. Thomas, I don’t want to sound like a dumb libtard here but Obummer did win by 6 million popular votes, and 126 electoral votes.

  12. Hitler actually RELAXED Germany’s gun laws. I am against what Obama is doing, but please, it makes us look foolish if you believe everything you read on the internet. Do some historical research of your own – do not act like sheep.

    • MJ,

      Why must you be be so insulting and condescending? So you’re calling Kitty Werthmann a liar? And those of us who believe her message “foolish” and “sheep.” How charming of you, especially since you cited no source for your dismissal of this post. You really should do your homework. From Wikipedia:

      Hitler’s 1938 German Weapons Act prohibited Jews from owning guns or any other weapons. “On November 11, 1938, the Minister of the Interior, Wilhelm Frick, promulgated Regulations Against Jews’ Possession of Weapons. This regulation effectively deprived Jews of the right to possess firearms or other weapons.”

    • Ditto as to what Dr. Eowyn said. I remind you MJ what Alexander Pope said, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

    • MJ, you must be confusing Dr. Eowyn with somebody else. In my experience, she’s one of the more demanding researchers out there.

    • Dressage Rider

      Reading revisionist history are we?

    • ACTUALLY, If you read the 1938 Nazi gun laws closely and compare them to earlier 1928 Weimar gun legislation – as a straightforward exercise of statutory interpretation – several conclusions become clear. First, with regard to possession and carrying of firearms, the Nazi regime relaxed the gun laws that were in place in Germany at the time the Nazis seized power. Second, the Nazi gun laws of 1938 specifically banned Jewish persons from obtaining a license to manufacture firearms or ammunition. Third, approximately eight months after enacting the 1938 Nazi gun laws, Hitler imposed regulations prohibiting Jewish persons from possessing any dangerous weapons, including firearms.
      The point was, Hitler had it in for the Jews, so he first disarmed them before carrying out his murderous campaign against them. And, unable to resist, millions died. BTW – She is talking about what happened in Austria, not Germany. So, you are correct, historical research has to do with TIME and PLACE, make sure you COMPREHEND what you are reading.

  13. William Shirer, war correspondent wrote in his last paragraph of the Berlin Diary:

    “for all people in Europe they had had meaning and borne hope until the war came and the Nazi blight and the hatred and the fraud and the political gangsterism and the murder and the massacre and the incredible intolerance and all the suffering and the starving and cold and the thud of a bomb blowing the people in a house to pieces, the thud of all bombs blasting man’s hope and decency.”

    I read the entire book and the parallels and similarities between now and then are astonishing. One of the most instructive and chilling books I’ve ever read.

  14. Thank you Eowyn and Joan for such an informative post. It is no secret that it takes years and many lives to claim freedom but a minor folly takes it way in no time.

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