by Anthony J. DeBlasi, American Thinker:
Before the COVID invasion, a story appeared in a magazine called “Military,” no longer published, about an Austrian woman who grew up under Hitler’s Nazi regime.
I saved it and, in reexamining it, found that its relevance for us is greater than before. What the woman had to say presents parallels to current times that are, to say the least, astonishing. I shall call the woman Betty.
Hitler did not take Austria with tanks and guns, said Betty, he was elected by the Austrian people. In 1938, a third of Austria’s workforce was unemployed and inflation made life extremely difficult. Businesses and farmers declared bankruptcy daily and the young went begging for food, door to door. Betty’s mother, a devout Christian, helped feed some 30 poor people every day by cooking soup and baking bread for them.
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Cities like Vienna and Linz were being destroyed by the fighting between communists and National Socialist activists. (National Socialism was Hitler’s Naziism.) The people petitioned their government for a voice in what kind of government they wanted. They had heard that in Germany, their neighbor to the north, there was no unemployment, the people had a high standard of living, and everyone was happy. (The reports did not mention the persecution of dissidents, whether Jew or gentile.)
Austrians were promised by the National Socialists that a vote for Hitler would bring them the same prosperity and happiness enjoyed in Germany. Some 98% of the people voted to annex Austria to Germany and be under Hitler’s rule. For three days, people danced in the streets and held candlelight parades. The new government opened up large field kitchens and everyone was fed.
German officials were appointed, and overnight there was law and order. In three or four weeks everyone was employed.
On the day Hitler was elected (March 13, 1938), Betty entered her school classroom to find a picture of Hitler on the wall where there had always been a crucifix. Her teacher, a devout Christian, told the class that they would no longer be praying and having religion. Class began by singing “Deutschland, Deutschland, Über Alles” and two hours of political indoctrination. The rest of the school day was for sports. The sports equipment was provided free.
Sunday was National Youth Day, which all schoolchildren had to attend. Parents of children that failed to attend got letters of warning that the second nonattendance of their children would bring a heavy fine, and a third such failure would subject them to imprisonment.
Children loved the changes and told their parents how happy they were about school. Betty’s mother was far from happy about this and resolved to take her daughter out of public school and have her schooled in a convent. Betty protested, but her mother told her that she would one day be grateful for the decision.