Franz Jagerstatter was an Austrian Christian farmer executed for his refusal to serve in the armies of the Third Reich. His natural father was killed in World War I. His mother married Herr Jagerstatter, a small farmer, who adopted Franz. After gaining a reputation as a rather wild young man, perhaps fathering an illegitimate child, Franz married and settled down to a typical peasant life. Jagerstatter became sexton of the parish church, and was known for his diligent and devout service, particularly in refusing donations for conducting bereavement services, and for joining the bereaved as a fellow mourner.
When Jagerstatter was called to active duty in the military, he sought counsel from at least three priests and his bishop. His earlier experiences left him with a great horror of lies and double-dealing, and Jagerstatter reconciled his church’s advice of subservience to the governing authorities with his conscience by reporting to the induction centre but refusing to serve. Imprisoned in Linz and Berlin, he was convicted in a military trial and beheaded on August 9th, 1943. Just as those who believe in National Socialism tell themselves that their struggle is for survival, so must we, too, convince ourselves that our struggle is for the eternal Kingdom.
But with this difference: we need no rifles or pistols for our battle, but instead, spiritual weapons – and the foremost among these is prayer. Through prayer, we continually implore new grace from God, since without God’s help and grace it would be impossible for us to preserve the Faith and be true to His commandments…. “Let us love our enemies, bless those who curse us, pray for those who persecute us. For love will conquer and will endure for all eternity. And happy are they who live and die in God’s love.” A thought-provoking film which should be seen by all who profess Christianity as their way of life.