I just finished an amazing book written by Pastor Richard Wurmbrand. Wurmbrand was an orphaned Jewish boy who turned to atheism due to his horrible life in Romania. He would later accept Christ as his savior and become a church leader, but when the Nazis and then later the communist Russians took Romania over Wurmbrand would be tortured and jailed for 14 years (2 of which in solitary confinement) for being a Christian. His wife would be arrested and forced to work three years of slave labor, leaving their only son to fend for himself on the streets of Romania since helping the family of imprisoned people was against the law.  In 1966, Wurmbrand would be ransomed to America, where despite very numerous and real death threats, he confessed and revealed his bodily scares to the US Senate to reveal the atrocities the communists were committing against Christians in the Soviet Union. The following are excerpts I’ve taken from his book, “Tortured For Christ:”

“My wife and I were arrested several times, beaten, and hauled before Nazi judges. The Nazi terror was great, but only a taste of what was to come under the communists. My son, Mihai, had to assume a non-Jewish name to prevent his death. But these Nazi times had one great advantage. They taught us that physical beatings could be endured, and that the human spirit with God’s help can survive horrible tortures.” Pg. 13

“On a train, a Russian officer sat in front of me. I had spoken to him about Christ for only a few minutes when he broke out with a torrent of atheistic arguments. Quotations from Marx, Stalin, Voltaire, Darwin and others against the Bible just flew from his mouth. He gave me no opportunity to contradict him. He spoke nearly an hour to convince me that there is no God. When he finished, I asked him, ‘If there is no God, why do you pray when you are in trouble?’ … He bowed his head and acknowledged, ‘On the front when we were encircled by the Germans we all prayed!’” Pg. 23

“The tortures were sometimes horrible. I prefer not to speak too much about those which I have passed; it is too painful. When I do, I cannot sleep at night.” Pg. 34

“A pastor by the name of Florescu was tortured with red-hot iron pokers and with knives. He was beaten very badly. Then starving rats were driven into his cell through a large pipe. He could not sleep because he had to defend himself all the time. If he rested a moment, the rats would attack him. He was forced to stand for two weeks day and night. The Communists wished to compel him to betray his brethren, but he resisted steadfastly. Eventually, they brought his fourteen year-old son to the prison and began to whip the boy in front of his father, saying they would continue to beat him until the pastor said what they wished him to say. The poor man was half mad. He bore it as long as he could, then he cried to his son, ‘Alexander, I must say what they want! I can’t bear your beating anymore!’ The son answered, ‘Father, don’t do me the injustice of having a traitor as a parent. Withstand! If they kill me, I will die with the words ‘Jesus and my fatherland.’’ The communists enraged, fell upon the child and beat him to death, with blood splattered over the walls of the cell. He died praising God. Our dear brother Florescu was never same after seeing this.” Pg. 34

“We Christians were sometimes forced to stand in wooden boxes only slightly larger than we were. This left no room to move. Dozens of sharp nails were driven into every side of the box, with their razor-sharp points sticking through the wood. While we stood perfectly still, it was all right. But we were forced to stand up in these boxes for endless hours; when we became fatigued and swayed with tiredness, the nails would pierce our bodies. If we moved or twitched a muscle- there were the horrible nails.” Pg. 35

“It was a deal: we preached and they beat us. We were happy preaching; they were happy beating us- so everyone was happy… The following scene happened more times than I can remember. A brother was preaching to the other prisoners when the guards suddenly burst in, surprising him halfway through a phrase. They beat him down the corridor to their ‘beating room.’ After what seemed an endless beating, they brought him back and threw him- bloody and bruised- on the prison floor. Slowly he picked up his battered body, painfully straightened his clothing and said, ‘Now, brethren, where did I leave off when I was interrupted?’ He continued his gospel message!” Pg. 41

 

“When one Christian was sentenced to death, he was allowed to see his wife before being executed. His last words to his wife were, ‘You must know that I die loving those who kill me. They don’t know what they do and my last request of you is to love them too. Don’t have bitterness in your heart because they killed your beloved one. We will meet in heaven.’ These words impressed the officer of the secret police who attended the discussion between the two. He later told me the story in prison where he had been sent for becoming a Christian.” Pg. 43

“But Christians are more than just mere men; they are children of God, partakers in divine nature. Therefore, tortures endured in Communist prisons have not made me hate Communists. They are God’s creatures, how can I hate them? But neither can I be their friend. Friendship means one soul in two breasts. I am not one soul with the Communists. They hate the notion of God. I love God.” Pg. 54

“St. Macary said, ‘If a man loves all men passionately, but says only about one man that him he cannot love, the man who says this is no more a Christian, because his love is not all embracing.’” Pg. 54

“I have seen Christians in the Communist prisons with fifty pounds of chain on their feet, tortured with red-hot iron pokers, in whose throats spoonfuls of salt had been forced, being kept afterward without water, starving, whipped, suffering from cold- and praying with fervor for the Communists. This is humanly inexplicable! It is the love of Christ, which was poured out in our hearts.” Pg. 55

“Later, Communists who had tortured us were sent to prison, too. Under communism, Communists, and even Communist rulers, are put in prison almost as often as their adversaries. Now the torturer and the tortured were in the same cell. And while non-Christians showed hatred toward their former inquisitors and beat them, Christians took their defense, even at the risk of being beaten themselves and accused of being accomplices with communism. I have seen Christians give away their last slice of bread (we were given one slice a week) and the medicine that could save their lives to a sick Communist torturer, who was now a fellow prisoner.” Pg. 55

“A minister who had been horribly beaten was thrown into my cell. He was half-dead, with blood streaming from his face and body. We washed him. Some prisoners cursed the communists. Groaning he said, ‘Please don’t curse them! Keep silent! I wish to pray for them.’” Pg. 57

“It was in prison that we found the hope of salvation for the Communists. It was there that we developed a sense of responsibility for them. It was in being tortured by them that we learned to love them.” Pg. 58

“Only love can change the Communist and the terrorist… Hatred blinds. Hitler was anti-Communist, but one who hated. Therefore, instead of conquering them, he helped them win one-third of the world.” Pg. 59

“How was Norway won for Christ? By winning King Olaf. Russia first had the gospel when its king, Vladimir, was won. Hungary was won by winning St. Stephen, its king. The same with Poland. In Africa, where the chief of the tribe has been won, the tribe follows… We must win rulers, leaders in politics, economics, science, and the arts. They mold the souls of men. Winning them, you win the people they lead and influence.” Pg. 59

“The world was horrified about what happened on the streets n China. In view of everyone, the Red Guard exercised its terror. Now try to imagine what happens to Christians in a Chinese jail, where no one else sees! I heard that when a renowned Chinese evangelical writer and other Christians refused to deny their faith, their captors cut off their ears, tongues and legs. Christians are still in Chinese prisons today.” Pg. 63

“A flower, if you bruise it under your feet, rewards you by giving you its perfume. Likewise, Christians, tortured by Communists, rewarded their torturers with love.” Pg. 63

“By not loving the Communists and those from other captive nations, and by doing nothing to win them for Christ (under the pretext they are not allowed to do so, as if the first Christians asked permission from Nero to spread the gospel), Western church leaders do not love their own flocks either, if they do not allow them to participate in this spiritual battle around the world.” Pg. 64

“Sabina Wurmbrand’s entire family (who was Jewish) died in Nazi concentration camps. Sabina and Richard had the privilege of inviting a Nazi who had been at this camp to their home. They fed him, loved him, and brought him to Christ.” Pg. 70

“They [Western rulers] wish drug addiction, gangsterism, cancer, and tuberculosis would disappear, but not evil systems such as communism, which has claimed more victims than all these together. Ilya Ehrenburg, the Soviet writer, says that if Stalin had done nothing else all his life than to write the names of his innocent victims, his life would not have been long enough to finish the job.” Pg. 73

“There is only one force that can change evil governments. It is the same force that enabled Christian states to take the place of the heathen Roman Empire, the force that made Christians of savage Teutons and Vikings, the force that overthrew the bloody Inquisition. This force is the power of gospel, represented by the Underground Church that works in all captive nations.” Pg. 74

“Christ does not belong only to America, England and other democratic countries. When He was crucified, one of His hands was stretched out toward the west, the other towards the east. He wishes to be the King not only of the Jews, but also of the Gentiles, of the Communists, and of the Western world. Jesus said, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mark 16:15).” Pg. 77

“I have decided to denounce communism, not in the sense in which those who are usually called ‘anti-Communists’ do it. Hitler was anti-Communist and was nonetheless a tyrant. We hate the sin and love the sinner.” Pg. 84

“Many Christians there [Communist countries] don’t build houses for themselves. To what good? They will be confiscated at their first arrest. Just the fact that you have a new house can be a greater motive for you to be imprisoned, because the others wish to take your house.” Pg. 84

“The Underground Church is a poor and suffering church, but it has few lukewarm members.” Pg. 84

“’The truth shall make you free,’ said Jesus (John 8:32). But, the same freedom, only freedom, can give you truth. And, instead of quarreling about nonessentials, we should unite in this fight for freedom against the tyrannies in this world.” Pg. 87

“Even if you think that, after all I have passed through, I suffer from a persecution complex, you must ask yourself what this dreadful power of communism is that makes its citizens suffer from such complexes. What power is it that made men from Communist East Germany take a child in a bulldozer and pass through barbed wire at risk of being shot with their whole family? The West sleeps and must be awakened to see the plight of captive nations.” Pg. 89

“I met with a Christian who had suffered under the Nazis. He told me that he is entirely on my side as long as I witness for Christ, but should not say one word against Communism. I asked him if Christians who fought against Nazism in Germany were wrong if they should have been confined to only speaking from the Bible, without saying a word against the tyrant Hitler. The reply was, ‘But Hitler killed six million Jews! One had to speak against him.’ I replied, “Communism has killed thirty million Russians and millions of Chinese and others. And they have killed Jews too. Must we protect only when Jews are killed, and not when Russians or Chinese are killed?’ The answer was, ‘This is quite another thing.’ I received no further explanation.” Pg. 91.

“They [Communists] know only the masses. Their word is that of the demon in the New Testament when asked what his name was: ‘We are Legion.’ Individual personality- one of the great gifts of God to mankind- must be crushed. They imprisoned a man because they found him with a book by Alfred Adler, Individual Psychology. The officers of the secret police shouted, ‘Ah, individual- always individual! Who not collective?’ Jesus wishes us to be personalities. Therefore there is no possibility of compromise between communism and us. The communists know it. In their magazine Nauka I Religia (Science and Religion), they have written, ‘Religion is incompatible with communism. It is hostile to it… The content of the program of the Communist Party is a death blow to religion… It is a program for the creation of an atheistic society in which people will be rid forever of the religious bondage.’” Pg. 92

“Their [Christians] answers to atheists were simple, ‘If you were invited to a feast with all kinds of good meats, would you believe that there has been no one cook them? But nature is a banquet prepared for us! You have tomatoes and peaches and apples and milk and honey. Who has prepared all these things for mankind? Nature is blind. If you believe in no God, how can you explain that blind nature succeeded in preparing just the things that we needed in such plentitude and variety?’” Pg. 96

“Foreign visitors would see a crowded church in Moscow- which was the only Protestant church in the city- and remark what freedom there is. ‘Even the churches are overflowing!’ they would joyously report. They did not see the tragedy of one Protestant church for seven million souls!” Pg. 99

“The atheists put much skill and zeal into ridiculing and criticizing Bible verses… Bible verses remain true, even if the Devil quotes them.” Pg. 100

“A professor of communism demonstrated at a meeting that Jesus was nothing but a magician. The professor had before him a pitcher of water. He put a powder in it and it became red. ‘This is the whole miracle,’ he explained. ‘Jesus had hidden in his sleeves a powder like this, and then pretended to have changed water into wine in a wonderful manner. But I can do even better than Jesus; I can change the wine into water again.’ And he put another powder into the liquid. It became clear. Then another powder and it was red again. A Christian stood up and said, ‘You have amazed us, comrade professor, by what you are able to do. We would ask only one thing more of you- drink a bottle of your wine!’ The professor said, ‘This I cannot do. The powder was a poison.’ The Christian replied, ‘This is the whole difference between you and Jesus. He, with His wine, has given us joy for two thousand years, whereas you poison us with your wine.’ The Christian went to prison.” Pg. 101

On one occasion a Communist was giving a lecture on atheism. All factory workers were required to attend; among these workers were many Christians. They sat quietly hearing all the arguments against God and about the stupidity of believing in Christ. The lecturer attempted to prove that there is no spiritual world, no God, no Christ, no hereafter; man is only matter with no soul. He said over and over that only matter exists. A Christian stood up and asked to speak. Permission was given. The Christian picked up his folded chair and threw it down. He paused, looking at it. He then walked up and slapped the Communist lecturer in the face. The lecturer became very angry. His face flush red with indignation. He shouted obscenities and called for fellow Communists to arrest the Christian. He demanded, ‘How dare you slap me? What is the reason?’ The Christian replied, ‘You have just proven yourself a liar. You said everything is matter… nothing else. I picked up a chair and threw it down.  It is truly matter. The chair did not become angry. It is only matter. When I slapped you, you did not react like the chair. You reacted differently. Matter does not get mad or angry, but you did. Therefore, comrade professor, you are wrong. Man is more than matter. We are spiritual beings!’” Pg. 102

“In prison, the political officer asked me harshly, ‘How long will you continue to keep your stupid religion?’ I said to him, ‘I have seen innumerable atheists regretting on their deathbeds that they have been Godless; they called on Christ. Can you imagine that a Christian could regret, when death is near, that he has been a Christian and call on Marx or Lenin to rescue him from his faith?’” Pg. 102

“When an engineer has built a bridge, the fact that a cat can pass over the bridge is no proof that the bridge is good. A train must pass over it to prove its strength. The fact that you can be an atheist when everything goes well does not prove the truth of atheism. It does not hold up in moments of great crisis.” Pg. 102

“Many communists commit suicide. So did their greatest poets, Essenin and Maiakovski. So did their great writer Fadeev. He had just finished his novel called Happiness in which had explained that happiness consists in working tirelessly for communism. He was so happy about it that he shot himself after having finished the novel. It was too difficult for his soul to bear such a lie. Joffe, Tomkin- great Communist leaders and fighters for Communism in Czarist times- likewise could not bear to see how communism looks in reality. They also ended in suicide.” Pg. 104

“By converting those who persecute Christians, we would free not only their victims, but the persecutors themselves.” Pg. 113

“When the Russians occupied Romania, two armed Russian soldiers entered a church with their guns in their hands. They said, ‘We don’t believe in your faith. Those who do not abandon it immediately will be shot at once! Those who abandon your faith, move to the right!’ Some moved to the right, who where then ordered to leave the church and go home. They fled for their lives. When the Russians were alone with the remaining Christians, they embraced them and confessed, ‘We too, are Christians, but we wished to have fellowship only with those who consider the Truth worth dying for.’” Pg. 114

“’Your religion is anti-scientific,’ the judge taunted at another trial, to which the accused girl- a student- answered, ‘Do you know more science than Einstein? Than Newton? They were believers [in God]’… ‘I am sure, Mr. judge, that you are not such a great scientist as Simpson, the discoverer of chloroform and many other medicines. When asked which he considered to be his greatest discovery, he answered: ‘It was not chloroform. My greatest discovery has been to know that I am a sinner and that I could be saved by the grace of God.’” Pg. 132

“Christians practiced self-baptism to prevent arrest of their leaders. Sometimes baptisms took place in a river, with the baptizer and the baptized both wearing masks so that no one could identify them in a photograph.” Pg. 133.

“It is estimated that approximately 160,000 Christians were martyred in 1997.” Pg. 134

“In one place, eighty-two Christians were placed in an asylum for madmen. Twenty-four died after a few days because of ‘prolonged prayer!’ Since when does the lengthy prayer kill? Can you imagine what they went through?” Pg. 134

“Paul says, ‘All things work together for good’ (Romans 8:28). I have seen children who were raised as Christians and taken from their parents and put into Communist schools. Instead of being poisoned by atheism, the faith they had learned at home was spread to the other children!” Pg. 135

“The proof that I am right is that the Underground Church flourished under communism in the Soviet Union, is flourishing in Communist Asia, and is growing in the Middle East today.” Pg. 136

“When you listen to those who loudly deny God, it seems that they really mean it. But life shows that many of them, although they curse God with their lips, in their hearts have a great longing.” Pg. 137.

“Atheists are men who do not acknowledge the invisible sources of their life. They have no sense for what is mystery in the universe and in life. Christians can help them best by walking themselves not by sight, but by faith, leading a life of fellowship with the invisible God.” Pg. 145

“We must love our neighbors as ourselves. Communists and other persecutors are our neighbors as much as anyone else.” Pg. 145

“I am not so naïve as to believe that love alone can solve these problems. I would not advise the authorities of a state to solve the problem of gangsterism only by love. There must be a police force, judges and prisons for gangsters- not just pastors. If gangsters do not repent, they must be jailed. I would never use the Christian phrase about ‘love’ to counteract the appropriate political, economic, or cultural fight against Communists and other tyrants, who are nothing but gangsters on an international scale. Gangsters steal a purse; they steal whole countries. But the pastor and the individual Christian have to do their best to bring to Christ rebellious nations- whatever crimes they commit- as well as their innocent victims. We have to pray for them with understanding.” Pg. 146

“When I was beaten on the bottom of the feet, my tongue cried. Why did my tongue cry? It was not beaten. It cries because the tongue and feet are both part of the same body. And you free Christians are part of the same body of Christ that is now beaten in prisons in restricted nations, that even now gives martyrs for Christ. Can you not feel our pain?” Pg 150

‘I speak on behalf of my brethren who lie in countless nameless graves. I speak on behalf of my brethren who now meet secretly in forests, basements, attics, and other such places. The message I bring from the Underground Church is: ‘Don’t abandon us! Don’t forget us!’ Pg. 143

“Now I have delivered the message from the faithful, martyred Church- from your brothers and sisters suffering in the bonds of atheistic communism, and under attack across the world from Indonesia to Africa. Don’t abandon them.” Pr. 150

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand; 1909-2001.

 

*Christians are still persecuted to this day in the following countries:

-Cuba

-Colombia

-Chiapas (Mexico)

-Nigeria

-Mauritania

-Morocco

-Algeria

-Tunisia (currently in reconstruction)

-Libya (currently in reconstruction)

-Egypt (currently in reconstruction)

-Sudan

-Eritrea

-Ethiopia

-Somalia

-Comoros

-Belarus

-Azerbaijan

-Turkey

-Lebanon

-Jordan

-Gaza Strip

-Syria

-Iraq

-Kuwait

-Saudi Arabia

-Yemen

-Qatar

-Bahrain

-Oman

-Iran

-Pakistan

-Afghanstan

-Tukmenistan

-Uzbekistan

-Tajikistan

-Kazakhstan

-Kyrgyzstan

-India

-Nepal

-Tibet

-Bhutan

-Sri Lanka

-Maldives

-Burma

-Bangladesh

-Malaysia

-Vietnam

-China

-North Korea

-Laos

-Indonesia

-Brunei

-Philippines

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Comments
  1. matthew2262 says:

    A Soviet citizen read the Bible for the first time and wrote the following Letter to the Editor of the Soviet magazine Ogonyok:

    ‘At the age of 30 I have read the Gospel for the first time. This miniature book reached me quite by accident and I approached it purely out of literary curiosity. But the text gripped me: I was impressed by the severe power of the words, the elegance of the finely tuned aphorisms, the subtle poetic quality of the images.’
    ‘It became clear that the aesthetic importance of the volume was indisputable, and gradually I became very angry. What a treasure they have been hiding from me! Who decided, and on what basis, that this was bad for me—and why?…’
    ‘A State that is separated from the church should also be separated from atheism. Isn’t spiritual totalitarianism more terrible than the political kind? In returning social freedoms, a democratic State has no right to continue to lay claim to its citizens’ freedom of spiritual quests.
    Sergei Zubatov, Novosibirsk.

    Reprinted from San Francisco Chronicle, September 12, 1990.

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