Memories of Vienna Just Before Hitler

WWI ended in 1918 with the defeat of Germany and Austria. The treaty of Versailles required reparations to be paid which resulted in the harshest economic conditions for the populations of these countries by the total devaluation of currency and rampant inflation ( 1: 1,160,000). As a result there was widespread unemployment with NO safety net.

As a pre-school age child in Austria, I have a memory of the doorbell ringing many times daily by people with children begging for food or money because of an absolute inability to feed their family. I was permitted to give each person 2 grochen ( about 2 cents). My parents lived at the time in one room of my grandmother's apartment because they could not afford a place of their own.

My father had built a radio and life was controlled by the news:

1934 - The Chancellor of Austria was assassinated and there was fighting in the streets of Vienna. 1936 - Invasion of Abyssinia by Italian troops.
1937 - Spanish Civil War
1938 - Hitler took over Austria promising jobs. He delivered on his promise by such things as
building the Autobahn. He was actually preparing for war, but we didn't know that. Some of our regular beggars came and said, "This is the last time; I have work now. Heil Hitler!"

- Trudy Dallas