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Franz Jagerstatter: Letters and Writings from Prison Paperback – June 1, 2009
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Not only did he see the nature of Nazism with extraordinary clarity but, despite his modest education, was able to write with a freshness that remains compelling. Thanks to Orbis Books, we now have an English translation of all Jagerstatter's letters and other writings, all written while he was a prisoner. The result is an inspiring testament of faith and courage.
Before refusing to serve in the German-Austrian army, Jagerstatter consulted both his pastor and his local bishop, who - no doubt reluctantly - advised him to do his duty and to obey the law. His neighbors, though themselves were unsympathetic with Nazism, had the same opinion.
In one of the memorable sections of this book, Jagerstatter describes a dream which stood behind his conscientious objection. In it he saw "a wonderful train" coming round a mountain. The gleaming engine and carriages seemed especially attractive to children, who "flowed to this train, and were not held back." Then a voice said to him, "This train is going to hell." He woke his wife to tell her of his dream and continued to think about it long afterward. The train, he realized, symbolized the glittering Nazi regime with all its spectacles and its associated organizations, Hitler Youth being one of the most important and corrupting. The dream seemed to Franz a message from heaven. The Nazi movement -- with its racism, its cult of violence, its elimination of those members of society regarded as unfit, its efforts to suppress Christianity -- was satanic.Read more ›
From 1940 to 1941, Franz was inducted into the Austrian army, where he was trained as a soldier away from St. Radegund. During that time, he wrote letters to wife. These letters are beautiful expressions of the love of a man for his wife and family. Franz also offers the perspective of an Austrian peasant on his times, his faith and on the NS influence on Austria. These letters are particularly poignant because we know Franz's destiny.
After he was mustered out of training in 1941, Franz returned to St. Radegund, where he thought about the NS and what it meant to be complicit in NS evil. In 1943, Franz was recalled to military service. The NS was an evil condemned by the Catholic Church. Bishops and priests were arrested and imprisoned for speaking against the NS. Service in the military was service to evil, but Franz had a family and not serving was disobedience to the State, and to God who ordained the State, and was punishable by death. Soldiers were dying in the East for an evil cause, and while military service was less risky than a predestined execution by guillotine, death in such service would be a violation of conscience, which could merit eternal loss.Read more ›
What a humble soul, what a good man, thanks Franz...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've had offers for this book. It is an excellent read.
Personal belief and/or duty to country...which, if either is chosen?
I urge anyone who can read to read and compare THIS book about and by a poor farmer (with nothing but an 8 year education in a one room schoolhouse), with the book about Pope Pius... Read morePublished on April 6, 2012 by Ray Dubuque