By: Erna Putz
An inspiring testament of faith and courage from a modern martyr of conscience.
"My dear loved ones, the hour draws ever nearer when I shall give my soul back to God..."
Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer, devoted husband and father, and devout Catholic, was executed in 1943 for refusing to serve in the Nazi army. Before taking this stand Jägerstätter had consulted both his pastor and his local bishop, who instructed him to do his duty and to obey the law--an instruction that violated his conscience. For many years Jägerstätter's solitary witness was honored by the Catholic peace movement, while viewed with discomfort by many of his fellow Austrians. In 2007 Pope St John Paul II beatified Jägerstätter, and his example has been embraced by the universal church.
These writings, including the correspondence between Franz and his wife Franziska and a series of reflections he wrote while in prison, represent the first complete English translation of Jägerstätter's writings. An introduction by Jim Forest sets these writings in the context of the Blessed Franz's life and times, and draws out their meaning for today. His moving expression of faith and his unswerving obedience to conscience carry an urgent and timeless message.
Erna Putz, an Austrian theologian, has written a biography of Franz Jägerstätter.