Austria’s Anschluss – its ‘annexation’ – saw no gunfire, no blood-curdling screams of Stukas overhead or the rumble of heavy artillery when German troops marched in on 12 March 1938. It was no ‘Blitzkrieg’: on the contrary, some Austrians even welcomed the ‘invaders’ and the opportunity to unite the ethnic German peoples under the rule of Austria’s most infamous son, Adolf Hitler.
Austria’s wealth of natural and mineral resources were especially useful to support the Third Reich’s aggression in Europe. The Nazis were keen to exploit these assets and many Austrians benefited from increased employment. However, any initial euphoria was soon replaced by fear and anxiety as the brutal reality of the new regime became apparent.
Here is the remarkable story of Herti Bryan who, as a young child, witnessed the totalitarian nightmare of Hitler’s dream for world domination. Standing up for what she believed to be right, Herti acted courageously to frustrate the occupying Nazis.
In addition to Herti’s story, we learn of the experiences of Milly Keller and Hilde Schubert who shared contempt for the Nazi occupiers. The three girls vividly describe their different experiences during the war, although there is a striking similarity in the even greater terror they were subjected to under the Russian ‘liberators’.
In this volume the lives of Herti, Milly and Hilde come together to reveal an astonishing picture of life in occupied Austria. Drawing on unimaginable fortitude, these girls defied domination and fought fearlessly, risking their own lives, to carry out their moral obligation to humanity.