Many Germans resisted Hitler and National Socialism and were executed as enemies of the state. Some are famous. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was imprisoned for two years, then hanged a month before the war’s end. Sophie Scholl, along with her brother and a few friends of the White Rose resistance group, was arrested, given a quick trial, and beheaded within four days.
Another resister was Franz Jägerstätter. Born in Austria, he received a seventh-grade education, but read widely. He gained a deep biblical knowledge and applied scripture to interpret current events.
He voted against the Anschluss to join Austria to the “Greater Germany.” He believed Hitler was evil, and he refused to take the oath of military service to a state that was pillaging and destroying human lives. For his stand in 1943, he was beheaded at age thirty-six, leaving a widow and three daughters.
“I believe the German-speaking people never participated as strongly in Christian charitable activities as they are now engaging in the N.S. organizations. Nor were they as ready to contribute their money to church programs.
“Suffering during our earthly lives is not the worst thing. Even the saints had to suffer frightfully until God took them into eternal life. The Lord did not spare even his apostles from suffering, and most of them lost their lives through martyrdom. And the prospect of martyrdom did not deter them from working so much for Christ.
“If we study history and look into the past centuries, we are not surprised that we are in this situation today. Over the years, a deep and devout faith has increasingly receded, and a new paganism has increasingly pushed ahead.
“By his harsh suffering and earthly death, Christ has redeemed us from eternal death but not from earthly suffering and death.
“People want to observe Christians who have taken a stand in the contemporary world, Christians who live amid all of the darkness with clarity, insight, and conviction, Christians who live with the purest peace of mind, courage, and dedication amid the absence of peace and joy, amid the self-seeking and the hatred.”
On what was to be the day of his death he wrote, “I thank our Savior that I could suffer for him and may die for him.”
Would we have the courage to stand fast as he did?