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Franz Jägerstätter: Letters and Writings from Prison

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Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer, a devoted husband and father, and a devout Catholic, was executed in 1943 as a result of his refusal to serve in the Nazi army. Before taking this stand Jägerstätter consulted both his pastor and his local bishop, who instructed him to do his duty to the fatherland and to obey the law, an instruction that violated his conscience. For Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer, a devoted husband and father, and a devout Catholic, was executed in 1943 as a result of his refusal to serve in the Nazi army. Before taking this stand Jägerstätter consulted both his pastor and his local bishop, who instructed him to do his duty to the fatherland 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. Now, with his beatification in 2007, his witness has been embraced by the universal church. He stands as one of the great witnesses and martyrs of our time. These writings, including correspondence between Franz and his wife Franziska and a series of reflections written in prison, represent the first English translation of Jägerstätter's writings. An introduction by Jim Forest and notes by the translator, Robert Krieg, set these writings in the context of Franz's life and times. His moving expression of faith and his unswerving obedience to conscience carry an urgent message for today: "Although people have accused me of criminal behavior and condemned me to death, be consoled knowing that in God's eyes not everything is criminal which the world perceives to be criminal."


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Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer, a devoted husband and father, and a devout Catholic, was executed in 1943 as a result of his refusal to serve in the Nazi army. Before taking this stand Jägerstätter consulted both his pastor and his local bishop, who instructed him to do his duty to the fatherland and to obey the law, an instruction that violated his conscience. For Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer, a devoted husband and father, and a devout Catholic, was executed in 1943 as a result of his refusal to serve in the Nazi army. Before taking this stand Jägerstätter consulted both his pastor and his local bishop, who instructed him to do his duty to the fatherland 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. Now, with his beatification in 2007, his witness has been embraced by the universal church. He stands as one of the great witnesses and martyrs of our time. These writings, including correspondence between Franz and his wife Franziska and a series of reflections written in prison, represent the first English translation of Jägerstätter's writings. An introduction by Jim Forest and notes by the translator, Robert Krieg, set these writings in the context of Franz's life and times. His moving expression of faith and his unswerving obedience to conscience carry an urgent message for today: "Although people have accused me of criminal behavior and condemned me to death, be consoled knowing that in God's eyes not everything is criminal which the world perceives to be criminal."

30 review for Franz Jägerstätter: Letters and Writings from Prison

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Palczynski

    "It is hard to see someone suffer, especially when one cannot help. And more especially when it is one's dearest wife. I ask you, dear Fani, if it is possible, write me often. Spiritual hardships are frequently harder than physical ones, and if one can speak or write a little about everything, then things can become easier for one's heart. We have shared many joys, and so we want also to do the same with suffering." "Dear Fani, do not get discouraged even if it often seems that the Lord God has a "It is hard to see someone suffer, especially when one cannot help. And more especially when it is one's dearest wife. I ask you, dear Fani, if it is possible, write me often. Spiritual hardships are frequently harder than physical ones, and if one can speak or write a little about everything, then things can become easier for one's heart. We have shared many joys, and so we want also to do the same with suffering." "Dear Fani, do not get discouraged even if it often seems that the Lord God has also forgotten us. It is not so. God wants only to test whether we constantly confess our belief even in suffering. It is indeed true that a person's character shows itself in suffering. God did not spare his beloved Son from this experience of abandonment. How much less it will be spared us! We must go courageously on the way of suffering whether we begin sooner or later. They may build many beautiful streets today, but they cannot change the way to heaven. This way will always remain rugged and rocky." "True love does not ask about the boundaries of the obligation to love, but pardons others as often as it has the opportunity. Such opportunities occur every day in a family." "Now I'll write down a few words as they come to me from my heart. Although I am writing them with my hands in chains, this is still much better than if my will were in chains." "Now my dear children, when your mother reads you this letter, your father will already be dead. I would have gladly come to you, but the heavenly Father wanted it otherwise. Be well-behaved and obedient children. Pray for your father so that we shall see each other soon in heaven!"

  2. 5 out of 5

    Corinne

    This has to be one of the most profound books I have ever read. I am tempted to stop there. But I won’t! Franz Jagerstatter was an uneducated, Austrian farmer in the Alps, eking out a living on a small farm with a wife and 3 children under age 5 when he was drafted into WWII to serve under Hitler. He refused to give his allegiance to Hitler and was ultimately beheaded in 1943, because of this act and his faith in Christ and the Catholic Church. The book is divided into 3 sections. His life story This has to be one of the most profound books I have ever read. I am tempted to stop there. But I won’t! Franz Jagerstatter was an uneducated, Austrian farmer in the Alps, eking out a living on a small farm with a wife and 3 children under age 5 when he was drafted into WWII to serve under Hitler. He refused to give his allegiance to Hitler and was ultimately beheaded in 1943, because of this act and his faith in Christ and the Catholic Church. The book is divided into 3 sections. His life story written by Jim Forest, an Orthodox Christian, his and his wife’s letters while he was in captivity and a series of thoughts he wrote while in prison. The first 2 sections were incredibly moving to me as you watch the inevitable looming death and the words spoken over his defiance which leaves the wife with a mother in law, 3 small children and the responsibilities of running a farm singlehanded. But she stood by her husband and when the Catholic Church granted beatification to him, many years later, she at age 94 was able to attend. This courageous story of a couple and the hardships they endured after only 7 years of marriage, is profound. The movie made about their life is great. A Hidden Life. But the book was even better, at least for me. Thank you Joan Moulton for introducing me to this!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Peter Bradley

    My Amazon review - http://www.amazon.com/review/R2U02WP0... My Amazon review - http://www.amazon.com/review/R2U02WP0...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    A thoughtful, provoking and inspiring read by Blessed Franz. Will read parts again. His trial may be similar to one many Christians will endure in the near future. May we be as strong, faithful and courageous as him.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Rodriguez

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mike Martinson

  7. 4 out of 5

    Susan Cole

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Ball

  9. 4 out of 5

    John Politis

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sean Feely

  11. 4 out of 5

    Isabelle Diaz

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bob Bellamy

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anna Keating

  14. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kester

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dominika

  18. 5 out of 5

    Duv Kei

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rodrigo Costa

  20. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sister Anne

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lavran

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lucas Sylvia

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cp4853

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lucia

  27. 5 out of 5

    Serina Nelson

  28. 5 out of 5

    David Jimenez

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anna Wolske

  30. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

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