The Topic: The movie “A MAN OF CONSCIENCE”

October 29, 2012
  • Directed and produced by: Jason A. SchmidtFranz Jagrstatter
  • Writer: Roberta Morris
  • Produced in 2008
  • Duration of the movie: 24 minutes

Review written by Yohannes Nega Shita (MPT Intern)

After watching “A Man of Conscience,” I have been inspired by its message. The movie, produced by the Catholic Church in 2008, is based on the true life story of a man named Franz Jagerstatter. Franz was a farmer in Austria who lived during the Second World War. The movie revolves around the issue of family disintegration during war and its effects on family members, particularly children. The other major point the movie makes is Franz’s dedication to the value of prayer and faith to make strong decisions, helping him to say no to the unjust war calls of public authorities.

During 1938, Germany invaded Austria, and Franz was called to enlist in military training service of the Nazi government. As a result of this order, Franz would be required to leave his loved ones, including his four beautiful daughters, behind. After completion of the training, he had been called to the war in Austria. Franz refused to leave, although at the time he had faced strong pressure from his family and even the Catholic priests to fulfill the calling of the Nazi government and leave for the war. Franz remained insistent on his opposition of unjust war and death.

In the 1930‘s  Franz had lived peacefully with his family supporting and taking care of his wife and daughters. But had eventually been unwillingly called to the military service training in which he stayed for eight weeks hoping to be back to his family. During the training, he tried to maintain his paternal role to his daughters from distance through writing letters back and forth with his spouse. He had disclosed his love to the family through sweet words in his consistent love letters. He also had prayed consistently to all his families’ members though he lived far away.

Franz was also unique in his strong personal decision. During 1930, Europe was led by the influence of the public majority and religious leaders. He said no to the order of the public authorities, to the unjust war, and moved forward in his personal belief of justice and peace.  Because of his strong belief in peace and justice, leading him to say no to the call for war and invasion, he was executed in public by Nazi public authorities in 1943.

I enjoyed watching this movie for the following reasons. I was very delighted to see the affectionate letters between Franz and his spouse while they were living so far apart and his consistent prayer and faith in his God. Moreover, I have been inspired by his consistent and determined decision to say no to the order of war and invasion and by his martyr-like act. Finally I recommend everyone to watch this movie, and to be part of the peace-building initiative. I would like to thank Michigan Peace Team for inviting me to watch this inspiring movie.

The film is available at this website.


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