Blessed Franz Jagerstatter

Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, an Austrian farmer, was beheaded in 1943 after refusing to fight in the Nazi army. His 94-year-old widow, Franziska, attended his beatification ceremony Oct. 26 in Linz, Austria. (CNS photo) (Oct. 26, 2007)

1907 – 1943

This Austrian farmer and parish sexton had done his basic training in Hitler’s army in 1940-41, but refused to serve active duty in 1943. A military court in Berlin sentenced him to death as “an enemy of the state,” and he was beheaded Aug. 9, 1943. In prison awaiting his fate, he wrote about a dream he’d had in 1938. In it, many people were boarding a new train, but he heard the announcer say, “This train is bound for hell.” For him, the train symbolized the evils of Nazism, and he had become a conscientious objector. His wife and three daughters were still living when he was beatified in Austria in 2007.

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