The government required people to register their guns, insisting it was for their own protection, a way of tracking down criminals that was supposed to cut down on crime.
In reality, however, it was merely a ruse to track down those patriots who might resist the coming tyranny.
So explains Kitty Werthmann in a speech going viral on the Internet, a story of her life in Austria right before the Nazi occupation of her home country in 1938. As she explains, her nation's surrender to Nazi tyranny didn't begin with the Anschluss, but with little steps like acquiescing to gun-control laws:
"Dictatorship didn't happen overnight. I took five years, gradually, little by little, to escalate up to a dictatorship," she said. "When the people fear the government, that's tyranny. When the government fears the people, that's you, that's liberty. Keep your guns, keep your guns and buy more guns!"
(Editor's note: The following video was not produced by WND and contains several spelling and grammatical errors in its text overlays)
Werthmann's speech, delivered at the "Let Freedom Ring" tea-party rally in Woodstown, N.J., on June 28, 2011, has been frequently circulated via YouTube and other online channels for years, but picked up steam again after the National Rifle Association under the title "Hitler Survivor Condemns Gun Control."
The clear implication in her speech is that modern-day Americans should beware gun-control laws that strip them of their ability to resist an overbearing government.
"In 1938, the media reported that Hitler rolled into Austria with tanks and guns and took us over. Not true at all," she said. "The Austrian people elected Hitler by 98 percent of the vote, by means of the ballot box.
"You might ask, 'How could a Christian nationelect a monster like Hitler?'" she concinued. "The truth is, at the beginning Hitler didn't look like or talk like a monster at all. He talked like an American politician."Werthmann, who is president of the South Dakota Eagle Forum, opposes national identification cards with the same vehemence she opposes gun control, recalling how Germany's National Socialists, known by the abbreviation "Nazis," used the innocuous-sounding initiatives to crush individual liberties during the World War II era.
"I lived in Austria under Adolf Hitler's regime for seven years," Werthmann writes . "Dictatorship did not happen overnight. It was a gradual process starting with national identification cards, which we had to carry with us at all times.
"We could not board a bus or train without our ID card," she continues. "Gun registration followed, with a lot of talk about gun safety and hunting accidents. Since the government already knew who owned firearms, confiscation followed under threat of capital punishment."
Now, Werthmann laments, "The liberal mindset in America has promoted gun control for a long time and is beginning to advocate national identification cards. Law-abiding American citizens should not have to carry national identification cards.We have to protect our civil liberties. While some people need power to secure our freedom, we must be ever-vigilant to maintain a system of checks and balances."
Her story of arrival in America in 1950, printed in South Dakota's Argus Leader, reveals why the protection of individual liberty still remains so dear to her, now 64 years later.
"I was processed in New York. I stayed in a hotel the first night, and the next morning asked the concierge for directions to the nearest police station. I asked if it was in walking distance, and it was," she recalls.
"I walked in and told the desk sergeant I wanted to register. He said,'What are you talking about?' I said I wanted to register, so they'd know where I was. How would they find me if I broke the law? He said don't worry, they'd find me. And then he said, 'Lady, get the hell out of here.'
"I walked outside and it was a January day with a blue sky," Werthmann recalls. "I looked up and said, 'What kind of country is this?' All of a sudden it dawned on me. It's freedom."
See the entirety of Werthmann's 2011 speech below: