- Franz Jaegerstaetter
Born to Rosalia Huber and Franz Bachmeier, servants too poor to get married. His father died in World War I when the boy was less than ten years old; his mother then married local famer Heinrich Jägerstätter who adopted Franz. Franz had little formal education, but his adoptive father was serious about the boy being able to read so that he could educate himself. At age 20 he began three years of work in the iron ore industry. He led a rather wild and dissolute life in his early 20’s, but by his late 20’s had settled down to life as a peasant farmer, became serious about his faith, married, and became the father of three daughters. He worked as sacristan for his parish, arranging funeral and prayer services, attended Mass daily, and developed a special ministry to the bereaved.
He became known as a vocal critic of the Nazis; he was the only one in his village to vote against Austrian unification with Germany in 1938, when greeted with “Heil Hitler” would respond “Pfui Hitler”, and basically had no social life in the town because of his beliefs. When drafted into the army of the Third Reich, Franz could not reconcile such service with his faith; after a brief period served behind the lines, he refused to report for further service, was arrested, imprisoned in Linz, Austria, and Berlin, Germay, given a military trial, and finally executed. He spent time in prison praying, supporting other prisoners, and writing a series of letters and essays.
I can say from my own experience how painful life often is when one lives as a halfway Christian; it is more like vegetating than living. – Blessed Franz in a letter to a god-child
Since the death of Christ, almost every century has seen the persecution of Christians; there have always been heroes and martyrs who gave their lives – often in horrible ways – for Christ and their faith. If we hope to reach our goal some day, then we, too, must became heroes of the faith. – Blessed Franz in a letter to a god-child
Everyone tells me, of course, that I should not do what I am doing because of the danger of death. I believe it is better to sacrifice one’s life right away than to place oneself in the grave danger of committing sin and then dying. – Blessed Franz in a letter describing his moral dilemma over being drafted
Just as the man who thinks only of this world does everything possible to make life here easier and better, so must we, too, who believe in the eternal Kingdom, risk everything in order to receive a great reward there. 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. – Blessed Franz, writing from prison
I can say with certainty that this simple man is the only saint I have ever met in my lifetime. – Father Jochmann, who ministered to Venerable Franz in prison
- “Blessed Franz Jägerstätter“. CatholicSaints.Info. 17 February 2013. Web. 28 May 2015. <>