Martyr Chose God’s Kingdom Over Hitler’s


Franz Jägerstätter to Be Beatified Next Month

LINZ, Austria, SEPT. 3, 2007 ( Franz Jägerstätter wrote that he would gladly renounce the rights that came from belonging to the Third Reich in favor of deserving the rights granted by the kingdom of God.

He was killed in 1943 and will be beatified next month.

A husband and father who lived in St. Radegund, Austria, Jägerstätter (1907-1943) voted against the annexation of Austria to Germany in 1938 after many citizens were arrested, tortured and killed.

At the time, he said: ”I believe that what took place in the spring of 1938 was not much different from what happened that Holy Thursday 1,900 years ago when the crowd was given a free choice between the innocent Savior and the criminal Barabbas.”

In 1943, Jägerstätter, a Third Order Franciscan, refused to join the army, and was thrown into prison after claiming conscientious objection.

While in prison, he kept a journal, writing: ”I can easily see that anyone who refuses to acknowledge the Nazi Folk Community and is also unwilling to comply with all the demands of its leaders will thereby forfeit the rights and privileges offered by that nation.

”But it is not much different with God: He who does not obey all the commandments set forth by him and his Church and who is not ready to undergo sacrifices and to fight for his kingdom either — such one loses every claim and every right under that kingdom.

”Now any one who is able to fight for both kingdoms and stay in good standing in both communities and who is able to obey every command of the Third Reich — such a man, in my opinion, would be a great magician.

”I, for one, cannot do so. And I definitely prefer to relinquish my rights under the Third Reich and thus make sure of deserving the rights granted under the kingdom of God.”

On Aug. 9, 1943, Jägerstätter was taken to Brandenburg where he was executed on the guillotine.

His beatification will take place Oct. 26 in Linz, Austria.