Franz Jgersttter, 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 Jgersttter consulted both his pastor and his local bishop, who instructed him to do his duty to the fatherland and to obey the lawan instruction that violated his conscience. For many years Jgersttter'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 Jgersttter'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."