Author David Rice pictured with Lenny Abrahamson
"I Will Not Serve – The Priest Who Said NO To Hitler" is a compelling story and a great read
A Tipperary based author is making waves with a remarkable new book “I Will Not Serve – The Priest Who Said NO To Hitler” which tells the true story of an Austrian-born priest who was executed for defying the Nazi regime during World War Two.
The powerful book tells the story of Pallotine priest, Fr. Franz Reinisch, who refused to serve in Hitler’s armed forces at a time when 17,000 priests were called up to serve. His refusal was based on his witnessing the persecution of Germany’s churches and Jewish people.
Written as a fictional narrative, the moving book tells, for the first time in English, how Father Reinisch withstood demands and threats from military, civil and church authorities and refused to swear allegiance to Adolf Hitler. He was arrested, tried and convicted by a military court and was be-headed in Brandenberg in Berlin in August 1942.
The cause of Reinisch’s beatification started in Germany in 2013.
Author- David Rice
David Rice, a former Dominican friar himself, first heard of this amazing tale fifty years ago and he spent over fifteen years researching the story throughout Germany, translating all available documentation from German into English. He received considerable assistance from the Pallottine Order at Schönstatt, Vallendar, the order to which Reinisch belonged.
“I Will NOT Serve may well be the last true story to come out of Nazi Germany. I believe it needs to be told and that this is the best way to make it accessible to readers. Almost all of my sources on Reinisch himself were written in German - first of all, his own prison diary... It has taken years but it has been worth it. I have also visited many places associated with Franz Reinisch, including the grave at Schonstatt where his ashes are buried, and have talked to various individuals who knew people who remembered him,” David Rice says in his Author's note in the book.
The story opens with Reinisch’s dramatic refusal to take the military oath in 1942. It then traces his origins in Austria—his troublesome youth, his romantic involvements, his decision to become a priest and his maturing into a spiritual leader whose decision of conscience led to his horrific ordeal and death.
This true story is told in fictional format to make it more accessible, with scenes almost as in a movie with realistic dialogue so the reader can see and hear things happen. Through the story the reader gets a sense of the terrifying developments in Germany during the Third Reich rule.
Oscar Director nominee, Lenny Abrahamson, said: “Reinisch’s refusal to fall in line with an ideology he knew to be morally perverse is as relevant now as it has ever been. David Rice’s vivid and sensitive telling of Reinisch’s story is both moving and timely and I recommend it highly.”Newry-born David has been an award-winning syndicated columnist in the United States, and later directed the Rathmines/DIT School of Journalism. Author of eight books, his No.1 best-selling book “Shattered Vows” led to the acclaimed Channel 4 documentary, Priests of Passion, which David Rice also presented.
Living in Marine Village, Killaloe, David, a member of the NUJ, is Director of the Killaloe Hedge-School of Writing and has also penned among others The Dragon's Brood - Conversations with Young Chinese; Blood Guilt; The Rathmines Stylebook; Song of Tiananmen Square; The Pompeii Syndrome.
The Hedge School which has been in operation for some twenty years boasts an incredible 120 published books from "alumni".
The book is available now and is a great read.