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1943, 19 Herrenstraße

Franz Jägerstätter seeks the advice of Bishop Fließer – he finds it impossible to reconcile military service for Hitler with his faith. Jägerstätter is executed on the 9th of August 1943 as a conscientious objector.

Franz Jägerstätter, farmer and sexton in St. Radegund, was first called up in 1940 but thanks to the intervention of the mayor was registered as “indispensable”, making him safe from being called up. In February 1943 he was again served call-up papers and decided to refuse military service on the grounds of his conscience.

In this situation Jägerstätter approached Bishop Fließer in Linz for advice and support. However, the bishop was very guarded in the encounter, very well aware that the Gestapo monitored relationships between clergy and members of the armed forces very carefully. Bishop Fließer advised him to give up his plan and reminded him of his familial responsibilities. Franziska Jägerstätter, his wife, remembers the day the audience with Fließer took place: “He was very sad and said to me, ‘They don’t dare, because they would be next’”.

Nevertheless, Jägerstätter held to his decision. He was first imprisoned in the Ursulinenhof army investigation prison and then transfered to Berlin where the Reich military court in Charlottenburg (Berlin) sentenced him to death on the 6th of July. The sentence was carried out on the 9th of August 1943 in Brandenburg. For many years after the war Franz Jägerstätter’s role remained controversial. In 2007 his position as far as the Catholic church was concerned was recognised by his beatification.