He would not see his 40th birthday, but even so Father Franz could not do the unthinkable. He could not swear allegiance to the Fuhrer, nor could he serve in the German army. “You cannot take an oath to a criminal. You cannot follow an authority that brings only murder and death into the world,” he told his friends. Franz Reinisch became a priest at age 25, and in the years that followed, he became a popular Christian speaker throughout Germany. In the 1930s, Franz spoke out bravely as he watched both Hitler and hatred grow in power. He held the simple belief that Nazism and Christianity were incompatible. Of course, his stance would draw the attention of the Gestapo, and he was banned from public speaking. On April 15, 1942, Father Franz was ordered to report for induction into the military. He boldly stated that he would swear allegiance only to the German people and was immediately arrested, tried, and five days later sentenced to death. In his statement to the court, Father Franz said, “I am a Catholic priest with only the weapons of the Holy Spirit and the Faith; but I know what I am fighting for.” He was beheaded at 3:30 a.m. the following morning.
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