On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars


She survived Hitler and wants to warn America

Kitty Werthmann

Kitty Werthmann survived Hitler.

“What I am about to tell you is something you’ve probably never heard or read in history books,” she likes to tell audiences.

“I am a witness to history. 

“I cannot tell you that Hitler took Austria by tanks and guns; it would distort history.

Adolph Hitler

“We voted him in.”

If you remember the plot of the Sound of Music, the Von Trapp family escaped over the Alps rather than submit to the Nazis. Kitty wasn’t so lucky. Her family chose to stay in her native Austria. She was 10 years old, but bright and aware. And she was watching.

“We elected him by a landslide – 98 percent of the vote,” she recalls.

She wasn’t old enough to vote in 1938 – approaching her 11th birthday. But she remembers.

“Everyone thinks that Hitler just rolled in with his tanks and took Austria by force.”

No so.

Hitler is welcomed to Austria

“In 1938, Austria was in deep Depression. Nearly one-third of our workforce was unemployed. We had 25 percent inflation and 25 percent 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.’

“We looked to our neighbor on the north, Germany, where Hitler had been in power since 1933.” she recalls. “We had been told that they didn’t have unemployment or crime, and they had a high standard of living.

Austrian girls welcome Hitler

“Nothing was ever said about persecution of any group – Jewish or otherwise. We were led to believe that everyone in Germany 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,” remembers Kitty, “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.

Austrians saluting

“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.

“Then we lost religious education for kids

Poster promoting "Hitler Youth"

“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.”

And then things got worse.

“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,” remembers Kitty. “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.

A pro-Hitler rally

“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.

“Then food rationing began

“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.

Young Austrians

“It was compulsory for young people, male and female, to give one year to the labor corps,” remembers Kitty. “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.

“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 old 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.

“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 percent 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, too

Austrian kids loyal to Hitler

“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, and then tell the farmers what to produce, and how to produce it.

“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.

“Then they took our guns

“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 afterwards, 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.

Kitty Werthmann

“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.”

“This is my eye-witness account.

“It’s true. Those of us who sailed past the Statue of Liberty came to a country of unbelievable freedom and opportunity.

“America is truly is the greatest country in the world.

“Don’t let freedom slip away.

“After America, there is no place to go.”



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George Amin Guirguis

posted April 18, 2011 at 1:53 pm


God created us free, that is why we love freedom, but true freedom is in obaying God’s commandments; so if by your freedom you choose to take drugs because you think it will elate you, shortly you will be addicted, and the you lost your freedom, even cigarette smoking and alcohol does this, if you choose sex lust and please your self with pornogaphy and sex, same addiction will happen, and may be with getting sex transemitted diseases and you lost your freedom and your health. If we choose our freedom through God, He will give us His peace, which is a truely precious gift, no one else can give us. We are now in the Holy week, we will celebrate next friday, Good friday, when our Savior was crusified to save us from sin, to grant us true freedom and eternal life. I pray that the resurrected Christ Jesus, who defeated death, to lead us to choose Him as Lord and Savior, to help us to repent, and get help and leadership from His Word, the Holy Bible.



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g

posted April 18, 2011 at 2:53 pm


Interesting how all of the American Right wing buzzwords and political agendas are are flimsily masked in this in an obvious attempt to liken Nazi Germany and it’s failures with the current America.

Really, there is very little parallel here although this article is trying to draw one.

‘Creeping Gradualism” ?? Oh pulleez. If I find a spirit of totalitarianism trying to permeate our US Govt. it is from the religious Right and not so much from the liberals.

Hitler was a dictator yes, but not a ‘Socialist’ despite the term National Socialism. He was a Fascist dictator, and ULTRA RIGHT WING! And he had no place to help the sick and infirm or the homosexuals or the thinkers that challenged party lines..that is much more like the Republicans than the liberal Democrats. The lack of birth control and ‘have babies’ for the cause is more right wing than liberal. The liberals don’t want to have babies out of wedlock that is why they fight for Parental Choice.

This article is such a slimy scam of right wing propaganda. What has happened to beliefnet? You are becoming a disinformation tool!



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Wildstar

posted April 18, 2011 at 2:55 pm


Unfortunately, Miguel, most Americans are asleep at the switch. They are too busy watching reality TV so they can learn how to mistreat one another and act like idiots to pay attention to anything around them. Instead of putting their faith in God, they put their faith in man and will reap what they sow. Much like what took place in Austria, Americans will vote into office anyone who promises them the moon. The handwriting is on the wall.



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g

posted April 18, 2011 at 6:30 pm


wildstar said :

Unfortunately, Miguel, most Americans are asleep at the switch.

What is being asleep at the switch?? Many Americans are not asleep at the switch. They are fighting to bring about justice and equality that the right-wing is trying to steal from them.

Wildstar also said: Americans will vote into office anyone who promises them the moon.

First off, everybody in every country does that and it is nothing new. Politicians know that, that is why most of them lie, spend big bucks, sling mud, and spin the truth. It just depends on which sides lies seem more believable.

No doubt, we and the world are in tough times. But there are many good people struggling to make a better society and world.

My question for Kitty, is What did you and your family do to save the hundreds and thousands of Jews and others that were systematically deported to death camps? Did you give back the food and clothing and houses and money and property that the Nazi’s took from them before killing them? After all, much of what kept you fed was stolen from the condemned.

Fact : the viral Anti-Semitic disposition of Hitler was engendered and focused from the Viennese brand of anti-Semitism that influenced from his visits there.

question: Did you or your family hide any Homosexuals that were sent to the death camps for being homosexual?

This story is riddled with Right-wing Tea=party indoctrination and propaganda that is trying to draw parallels between Hitler and Obama and liberals and it reeks!

And the statement that people put theur trust in man and not in God has lost all meaning. That statement is just Bible-study palaver that has lost all meaning. You people don’t even know what you mean when you say that.

Try this; next time you or your family are sick, don’t trust in a man with an MD, stay at home and trust God. Next time you are assuaulted, don’t trust in your Glock 9MM, trust in God and pray.

Next time your computer acts up, don’t call tech support and trust some Geeky man, PRAY and trust in God.

Stop voting for presidents, stop trusting in Govt. to fix the solution, just pray and trust God.

Meaningless bumper-sticker theology. THINK for a CHANGE!



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Rodger D

posted April 19, 2011 at 9:19 am


@ G
first you got a problem you got a chip on your back about what you call the Right-wing Tea=party.
And I don’t recall reading anything about homosexual in what I read and I read what Kitty said before it got here.
I also don’t recall anything about Her being in a death camps or being apart of one.
But I did read about were thay came an took some people She cared for and never saw them again.
She was in another Country do you think thay filled Her in on what was going on I don’t think so.
She spoke up to warn us to be careful not to fall into the same hellhole the sad part is it may be already to late.
Read Her story realy careful and look whats going in our Country some thing look really fishy you may not be as free as you think sad but true this Country had better change wile it can.



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Arthur Poole

posted April 19, 2011 at 12:30 pm


Simply sicking you need to put this in E-mails so it can be pass around the world, cause the people of the U.S. don’t take charge soon it will be the same right here in our own Country.



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    Rob Kerby, Senior Editor

    posted April 19, 2011 at 8:46 pm


    Actually, you have that ability. Click at the end of her story on the little envelope — and send a copy of the article to all your friends.



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Bonnie Fratzke Kipp

posted April 19, 2011 at 5:13 pm


What a moving first-hand experience. All those years you lived by my Grandparents in Pierre, I never knew you had been through all of this. My husband now is writing down as much history of Natzi Germany that he can find, as he lived in Germany for several years. He was always interested in how Hitler could infiltrate so many organizations when his followers was the minority of people. We have spent some time discussing how Hitler could maliciously get into all walks of life. You definitely have given me some food for thought. Hopefully someone will realize that we were founded by religious people and that is what we need to get back to. Thanks for sharing your story!
Best Regards,
Bonnie Fratzke Kipp (granddaughter of Roy and Thelma Wiseman)



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L L

posted April 19, 2011 at 6:11 pm


KUDOS to BELIEF.NET for bringing the KITTY WERTHMANN story!!!
I totally agree with WILDSTAR and Roger, and can’t help, but feel
contempt in regards to “g’s” negativity, for saying that Hitler was ultra right wing, etc… Hitler was “personified evil”, interesting to think that he was a native born Austrian, who turned his back on his homeland and became a German, but than was welcomed back by the Austrians as if he were a Messiah or Saviour. I remember during the last Presidential election gravity on the walls of one of the movie theaters saying: The Messiah has come!
The true stories and accounts,should they be coming from Jewish or other sources must be told, and should NEVER be attacked or belittled
by someone who wasn’t even there! We still have freedom of speech!
Let’s just leave right and left wing out and the entire party system, period, and listen to Kitty’s message, who has looked in the face of HORROR, not the utmost, obviously, since she wasn’t in a deaf camp herself! However, her past experiences alone entitle Kitty to tell her story, and if she sees the writing on the wall, post a warning,
if she is urged to do so! And if we listen well, then we need to make sure that history does not repeat itself!!! That’s all I have to say!



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L L

posted April 19, 2011 at 6:19 pm


Dear Kitty!
Thanks for coming forward and telling your story,
you have my utmost respect!



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g

posted April 19, 2011 at 6:56 pm


Point is WW2 Austria is nothing like the USA and the attempt topaint parallels here is ridiculous.

Typical right-wing political banter.

Austria, without a Hitler was one of the hot beds of Anti-semitism and the Viennese brand was the vicious brand adopted by Hitler.

The point of the Homosexual reference is for you dense muddled right-wing Tea Party types is that Obama and the liberals would not send them to death camps, but YOU would! So I was using that as an example that WW2 Austria was less a likeness of Liberal America than at likeness of an Overly conservative America.

With no respect to L.L. Hitler WAS AN ultra conservative ‘GERMANY Uber ALLES’ right wing ideologue. Keep hiding your head in the sand.

Tell the story of the condemned who died because Austria, not only was a right wing anti-Semitic Nation, the fact that they EMBRACED Hitler is proof of that.
Put the right wing religious conservatives in power and there will be another holocaust. Freedom of choice, homosexuals, liberals, will all fall by the right-wing sword either figuratively (through laws passed that will destroy civil-rights) or by out right lynchings.

Let’s here now how Kitty’s family and neighbors hid Jews and went to make sure they weren’t sent to the death camps. Then you will get my respect.



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