COMMUNIST EXPLOITATION OF RELIGION
SUBCOMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE INTERNAL SECURITY ACT AND OTHER INTERNAL SECURITY LAWS
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
UNITED STATES SENATE
TESTIMONY OF REV. RICHARD WURMBRAND
COMMUNIST EXPLOITATION OF RELIGION
Friday, May 6, 1966
US. Senate, Subcommittee to Invesigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws, of the Committee on the Judiciary,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:20 a.m., in room 318, Old Senate Office Building, Senator Thomas J. Dodd presiding. Also present: Jay G. Sourwine, chief counsel; Benjamin Mandel, director of research; Frank W. Schroeder, chief investigator; and Robert C. McManus, investigations analyst.
Senator Dodd. I will call this hearing to order. We have as our witness today Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, who is a refugee from Rumania. Mr. Sourwine will introduce and read a copy of Dr. Wurmbrand's credentials.
I must say, before you do so, that we are grateful for your appearing here. I am familiar with the nature of your testimony. -I think I am to an extent. I feel that you are rendering a real service to the cause of the free world.
Go ahead, Mr. Sourwine.
Mr. Sourwine. Mr. Chairman, this letter of credentials, which I shall read pursuant to your instructions, was given to Dr. Wurmbrand by Dr. Hedenquist, who is the mission director of the Svenska Israels-missionen. The reason is explained the text. It reads:
Pastor Richard Wurmbrand is a refugee from Rumania, a country which he had to leave because of the anti religious persecution. Fleeing from there, he has not the usual credentials, which have been taken from him at his arrest by the secret police of the Communists. Our mission, knowing him since 26 years, certify hereby that he is an Evangelical Minister who has had until now the following functions:
From April 1939, to January 1940, he was secretary of the church's mission to the Jews which had to retire from Rumania at the last date because of the war.
During the whole war he has been pastor of our mission in Rumania. Since our mission retired from Rumania in 1945, from that year to 1948 he has been a pastor of the Norwegian mission to the Jews.
In the same time he has worked also in the representation of the World Council of Churches for Rumania.
He was also a professor of the Old Testament in the Seminary of Bucharest. From 1948 to 1956, he was in prison for religious motives. Released in 1956, he was no more authorized by the Communist authorities to fulfill his duties. From 1956 to 1959 he preached and exercised his other pastoral functions illegally.
Re-arrested for this in 1959, he was again in prison until July 1964, when he was released on the basis of a general amnesty.
Since 1964, he was pastor of the Evangelical Church in Orshova, a Rumanian town.
Continuing to be the object of persecution and being in great danger, our Scandinavian mission to the Jews succeeded to make him escape from three.
We recommend him as a most reliable person, a fine Christian who has published several books against atheism and communism and who has got a burning heart for Christ and for all people in need.
This is signed by Dr. Hedenquist, doctor of theology, mission director in Sweden for Svenska Israelsmissionen.
Reverend Wurmbrand. He is the former secretary of the World Council of Missions.
Senator Dodd. Without objection, this letter will be included in the record. Since it has been read, it will not be reprinted.
Mr. Sourwine, you may proceed. I have some questions which I might as well ask to begin with, rather than wait until later.
Pastor, how many languages do you speak?
Reverend Wurmbrand. There are legends about me that I speak very many languages. Something like 14.
Senator Dodd. Forty?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Fourteen.
Senator Dodd. Obviously, you speak English.
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes; English, French, German Hungarian, and so on.
Senator Dodd. Did you come directly from Rumania?
Reverend Wurmbrand. No, no; from Rumania I went to Italy; from Italy to Oslo, and then from Europe I came to the States.
Senator Dodd. From where?
Reverend Wurmbrand. From Paris.
Senator Dodd. When was that?
Reverend Wurmbrand. I came to the States 3 weeks ago.
Senator Dodd. Were you required by the secret police to make any commitments before you could leave Rumania?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Before I left Rumania I was called twice to the secret police. The first time they said that they don't know yet if they will allow me to leave the country with my family. They said: "Dollars have been received for you. You will have to leave the country, but perhaps we will let some time to pass, because your remembrances of prison are too fresh and you have too good a pen."
Senator Dodd. What?
Reverend Wurmbrand. A pen. "You can too well write. Perhaps we will keep somebody here of your family as hostage." The second time they called me again and they said: "Now you will leave the country, but be very cautious when you come out. You may preach Christ as much as you like. We know that you are a preacher, but don't touch us. Don't speak against Communists. I f you will speak against communism, for $1,000 we can find a gangster who will liquidate you. We play with you with open cards. You come from prison You have met in prison men whom we have brought back from the West."
And that is the truth. I have been in prison with a Rumanian Orthodox priest, Vasile Leul, who has been kidnaped from Austria. I have seen his nail torn out and broken, and so they reminded me of that. "You know how our prisons are and that you can come back in prison."
And the third thing which they said: "We have also another possibility with you. We can destroy you morally outside. We will find story with a girl or a money story or something else and people will be stupid enough to believe it. We will destroy you if you touch us."
And under these conditions I was allowed to come out. And very sorrowfully in the West I found people in the West, even religious leaders, who told me the same thing: "Preach Christ as much as you like but don't touch Communists."
Senator Dodd. As I understand it, you said you came to this country 3 weeks ago.
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes, sir; just today it is 1 month.
Senator Dodd. Three weeks?
Reverend Wurmbrand. One month today.
Senator Dodd. Were you in prison from 1948 to 1956?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes, and then imprisoned again in January 1959 to 1964.
Senator Dodd. Were you in the same prison all of that time?
Reverend Wurmbrand. No, no; we were transferred from one prison to the others.
Senator Dodd. From 1956 to 1959 as I understand it, you exercised your religious function in spite of the law against such activity, did you not?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes, yes.
Senator Dodd. How did you do this?
Reverend Wurmbrand. When I cam out from prison in 1956, I was licensed to preach - of course, nobody can preach in our country accept he has a license from the Government - and in the beginning I got a license, but which was withdrawn from me after the first week of preaching.
The motives are so comical you would say. In a sermon I said that Christians must keep hope, because of the wheel of history turns, and the wheel of life.
"You meant us, that communism will change, that communism will fall. Never will it fall." It has been reproached to me that in a sermon I have said Christians must practice patience, patience, and again patience. "Ah, you meant that the Americans will come and we must be patient until they come."
Everything was misinterpreted, and so the license has been withdrawn from me. And then generally in the Soviet countries there exists the underground church which works as the first Christians worked. Only now we understand texts of the bible which we had not understood before. I did not know why it is written in the Bible that a man named Simon was called Peter. Simeon was called Niger and so on. Everyone is called otherwise than his mother called him. So it is with us now. In every village I was called by another name. I was called Valentin, Georgescu, Ruben, In every village I had another name, and so I could preach.
I did not understand in earlier times why Jesus, when He wishes to have the last supper said: "Go in town and you will see a man with a pitcher and go after him and where he enters prepare the supper."
Why does he not give an address, a number, and a street? Now we know it when we make secret prayer meetings. We never give the address. We don't know if that man is not the informer of the secret police. We tell to the main to wait in a public garden or somewhere, and when one with a flower here, or with a necktie passes, go after him. We don't introduce ourselves to each other, and if somebody asks the name of the other one, we know that he is the informer of the secret police. And so we have developed a technique of secret church work and so I could work.
Senator Dodd. How did you keep alive.? How did you sustain yourself?
Reverend Wurmbrand. The Christians sustained me everywhere. I had no salary, I had no regular salary but the Christians everywhere sustained me. In Rumania the first question asked of a pastor or a priest of any denomination, is: Has he been in prison? If he has been in prison he is all right. All the Christians sustain him.
Senator Dodd. You were re-arrested in 1959, as I understand it.
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes.
Senator Dodd. Were you kept in the same prison until your release in 1964?
Reverend Wurmbrand. No. Then, also, I was in several prisons.
Senator Dodd. Could you describe for us the cell in which you were kept in solitary confinement?
Reverend Wurmbrand. There were different cells. In solitary confinement I was the first 2 , nearly 3 years. It was in the most beautiful building of Bucharest in the building of the Secretariat of State for Internal Affairs. It is a building before which all foreigners stand and admire it. I can tell you that your White House is a very little building in comparison with ours. And there beneath the earth 10 meters beneath the earth are the cells. There are no windows in the cells. Air enters through a tube. And there were a few desks with a mattress, with a straw mattress. You had but three steps for to walk. Never were we taken out from these cells except for interrogations when prisoners were beaten and tortured.
For years I have never seen sun, moon, flowers, snow, stars, no man except the interrogator who beat, but I can say I have seen heaven open, I have seen Jesus Christ, I have seen the angles and we were very happy there.
But the treatment was very bad. The purpose was to make us mad. You didn't hear a noise. A whisper you didn't hear in this cell. The guard had felt shoes. For years, not to hear anything. In all these years of prison we never had a book, we never had a but of paper, we never had a newspaper, nothing to distract our mind except that from time to time tape recorders were put on the corridor. I didn't know what a tape recorder is. I had not seen such a thing. But at once we heard beautiful Rumanian music, and then we enjoyed it. We didn't know what has happened with the Communists that they make us enjoy, and after 10 or 15 minutes at once you heard, "Ha, ha, ha don't beat," the torturing of a woman. This lasted for half an hour the torturing of a woman. And of 100 prisoners who had been in that cell, in that corridor, everybody recognized that it is his wife or that it is his girl. I myself thought also that it is my wife.
Never will a Westerner understand, if I would not have the mark on my body, which are my credentials.
Senator Dodd. Excuse me, never will who understand?
Reverend Wurmbrand. A Westerner can't understand.
Senator Dodd. A Westerner?
Reverend Wurmbrand. A Westerner can't understand God is here and knows that I will not tell you the whole truth because if I will tell you the whole truth, you will faint and rush out of this room, not bearing to hear what things have happened. But I will tell you that in a prison they crucified a cat before ourselves. They beat nails in the feet of the cat and the cat was hanging with the head down, and can you imagine how this cat screamed and the prisoners, mad, bead on the door, "Free the cat, free the cat, free the cat," and the Communists very polite, "Oh, surely we will free the cat, but give the statements which we ask from you and then the cat will be freed," and I have known men who have given statements against their wives, against their children, against their parents to free the cat. They did it out of madness, and then the parents and the wives have been tortured like the cat. Such things have happened with us.
Senator Dodd. Did you have any fellow Christians like you imprisoned?
Reverend Wurmbrand. We had hundreds of bishops, priests, monks in prisons; my wife who is near me, she has been with Catholic nuns. My wife tells that they were angels; such have been put in prisons. Nearly all Catholic bishops died in prison. Innumerable Orthodox and Protestants have been in prison, too.
Senator Dodd. The point I was getting at and I guess I did not make it clear where the Christians treated any differently or mistreated any differently?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Everybody in prison was very badly treated. And I cannot be contradicted on this question, because I have been with physicians, I have much more broken bones than anybody, so either I broke my bones or somebody else broke them. And if I would not have been a clergyman but a murderer - it is a crime to torture a murderer, too. The Christian prisoners were tortured in a form which should mock their religion. I tell you again in the prison of Pitesti one scene I will describe you about torturing and mocking Christians, and believe me I would renounce to eternal life to paradise after which I long, if I tell you one word of exaggeration. God is here and knows that I do not say everything. It cannot be said. There are ladies here. There are other people hearing it.
One Sunday morning in the prison of Pitesti a young Christian was already the fourth day, day and night, tied to the cross. Twice a day the cross was put on the floor and 100 other cell inmates by beating, by tortures, were obliged to fulfill their necessities upon his face and upon his body. Then the cross was erected again and the Communists swearing and mocking "Look your Christ, look your Christ, how beautiful he is, adore him, kneel before him, how fine he smells, your Christ." And then the Sunday morning came and a Catholic priest, an acquaintance of mine, has been put to the belt, in the dirt of a cell with 100 prisoners, a plate with excrements, and one with urine was given to him and he was obliged to say the holy mass upon these elements, and he did it. And I asked him afterward, "Father, but how could you make this?" He was half mad. He answered to me: "Brother, I have suffered more than Christ. Don't reproach to me what I have done." And the other prisoners beaten to take holy communion in this form, and the Communists around, "Look, your sacraments, look, your church, what a holy church you have, what fine is your church, what holy ordinance God has given you."
I am very insignificant and a very little man. I have been in prison among the weak ones and the little ones, but I speak for a suffering country and for a suffering church and for the heroes and the saints of the 20th century; we have had such saints in our prison to which I did not dare to lift my eyes.
I am a Protestant, but we have had near us Catholic bishops and monks and nuns about whom we felt that the touching of their garments heals. We were not worthy to untie their shoelaces. Such men have been mocked and tortured in our country. And even if it would mean to go back to a Rumanian prison, to be kidnaped by the Communists and going back and tortured again, I cannot be quiet. I owe it to those who have suffered there.
Senator Dodd. Now, did the Rumanian secret police employ brainwashing techniques?
Reverend Wurmbrand. The worst thing has been the brainwashing. All the tortures of times before were nothing in comparison with brainwashing.
To describe very shortly brainwashing: First of all we were doped. The dope was put in our food. I did not know about this dope. But we saw only the results, a dope which gave two results. First of all, what the physician calls alleluia which means lack of power of will. The power of will was completely broken. If we were told, "Lift your hand," I lifted it. If I was not told to let the hand down, I would never have left it down. We were at the same time very much undernourished. We had times when we received 100 grams, one slice of bread, a week. It was told to us, "We give you as many calories as you need to be able to breathe only," and so our power of will has been broken.
Second, this drug or perhaps it is another drug, produces the delirium of self accusation. I have seen prisoners knocking during the night on the door and saying, "Take me to the interrogator, I have new things to say against me." Prisoners quarreled with their interrogators to say against themselves more than the interrogators asked from them. And then we have had in prisons the curious phenomenon that we as priests received confessions from other prisoners. Now everybody is a sinner, but not everybody is a criminal. Men who have never murdered confessed that they have murdered, that they have committed adultery, that they have stolen. They felt they had to accuse themselves. This has also been the result of doping. And after we were doped like that - that is the secret of all the Soviet show trials, in which the prisoners accuse themselves - then the time of brainwashing came. For 17 hours a day from 5 in the morning to 10 in the evening we had to sit like this. We were not allowed to lean. We were not allowed to rest a little bit our weary heads upon our hands. To close your eyes was a crime. Seventeen hours a day we had to sit like that and hear from the morning to the evening: "Communism is good, communism is good, communism is good, communism is good," until you heard one who was already 20 years in prison under the Communists shouting, "Communism is good, communism is good, communism is good, I give my life for communism."
It was after the technique of Professor Pavlov, a scientific suggestion.
In prison there were not only priests and pastors. We have had hundreds of peasants and young boys and girls who were put in prison for their Christian faith. These were separated and for them there was a special brainwashing, not only that "communism is good," but "Christianity is dead, Christianity is dead, Christianity is dead. Nobody more believes in Christ, nobody more believes in Christ, you are the only fools."
And so on. And I must tell you that you may know how far this brainwashing went. I do not like to pose here like a hero. I believed that Christianity is dead under this influence. I believed -
Senator Dodd I did not hear that.
Reverend Wurmbrand. I believed that Christianity is dead under this suggestion. Nobody goes more to church. They gave us post cards. I have not seen my wife for 10 years. They gave me post cards, they gave to all of us post cards: "Write to your children and wife; they may come and on that day see you and bring your parcels," so on that day we were shaved; we expected and expected until the evening and nobody came. They had not sent the post cards, but we did not know. Then came the brain washings. "Your wives are laying in bed with men," obscene words, "Your children hate you. You have nobody to love in the world. You are the only fools. Give up faith. Nobody is more Christians. Christianity is dead."
I believed also that nobody is more a Christian. I had read in the Bible that there will be in the last time the great apostasy, that people will leave the faith and I believed that I lived now this time. But I said to myself if Christianity is dead, I will sit at its tomb and will weep until it arises again, just as Mary Magdalene sat at the tomb of Jesus and wept until Jesus showed Himself. Then when I came out of prison I saw Christianity is not dead. The number of practicing Christians in Rumania according to the figures given by the Communists themselves in 20 years of Communist dictatorship has grown 300 percent.
Senator Dodd. How do the Communists use religion for their own purposes if they do?
Reverend Wurmbrand. That is a very tragic side. The worse thing in Rumania has not been the persecution of Christians. The persecution has make the Christians to be of steel. The worst thing has been the corruption of religion. They have put as religious leaders their man. A bishop, a pastor, a preacher, just a man like other man and can commit sins. Now if they found a preacher or somebody else in adultery or in some money irregularity or I do not know what sin, they called him and blackmailed him and said, "Now you must become our man. Otherwise we publish what we have found." Or they found others who were weak ones, whom they promised I do not know what. They never keep their promises. And these men, they put at the leadership of religion everywhere.
They have their bishops, their bishop vicar, their professors of theology, their presidents of the Baptists and Pentecostals and so on. I could give names. I know this from firsthand. Because many of these, when we came out of prison, out of remorse confessed to us what they have done. And now they use these men. With us in Rumania religion is a very great thing. You do not find much religious difference in Rumania. By these weak Christians, the Communists used religion for their propaganda. When the Communists came to power in Rumania, they convoked in the building of our parliament a congress of all the cults. There were 4,000 priests; pastors, rabbis of all religions were there. Our Prime Minister Gorza, said the same things which you hear now in the West. This was in 1945 when they came to power with us. "You know Rumanian communism will not be like Russian communism. We are a democratic communism. We will not persecute the church. We are on the side of monarchy. We will never collectivate agriculture. We are something entirely else and you should be on our side and then we will protect religion and we will give salaries to the priests."
And the priests, good men, simply believed him and cheered him. Priests and bishops one after the other stood up and said, "Well, if your communism is otherwise than the Russian communism, if it will be a good communism, we do not object against communism in principle." And one after the other stood up and praised this form of communism. There was only one in that congress who protested and said that communism can never change, that terror is an essential part of communism, because communism is contrary to human nature.
What would you say if I would take the purse out of your pocket? Everyone wishes to have something. A dog wishes to have a bone, and communism is against human nature because it does not allow you to have anything of yours and so communism must use terror. At that congress there was only one who said these things. This one is now before you.
But what has happened? I went to prison, this was one of the charges against me. I met in prison all those who had praised communism, all those who have collaborated with communism, and they were treated just like me. They had been the fools. There was only one difference that I was in prison with a good conscience and they were with a bad conscience. In prison they had remorse. Religion was used for Communist propaganda in our country.
Just to give you one example: To the Orthodox Church of Rumania foreigners come and see the liturgy and see everything so beautiful. The church is open. They do not understand the language, they do not know what is preached. I will give you the test of the sermon. It was a sermon about an epistle of St. Paul where it was written that Chris is our peace , and so the priest explained, "Christ is our peace. Who is against peace? American imperialists. And who is on the side of the peace? We, the Socialist countries."
So you see that Christ identifies Himself with socialism and so on. Such sermons they have. They have used the religion for their own purposes in the country. Then they have used the religion for getting political positions in the West. They are not fools to send in the West representatives of the Communist Party. They send bishops with great beards and beards are always very impressive here in the West, and through these beards they influence the West.
Senator Dodd. I have many more questions, but would you show your wounds and scars, if you have some?
Reverend Wurmbrand. I apologize here before the ladies.
Senator Dodd. Take your time. If ever a man was entitled to time, I think you are.
Reverend Wurmbrand. Look here, look here, look here. Look here, look here. And so the whole body.
Senator Dodd. What is the scar behind your ear?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Here they put the knife and said, "Give accusatory statement against your bishops and against the other pastors. Do you give or not? And they cut. It is true that they did not cut very deeply.
Senator Dodd. These are all knife wounds?
Reverend Wurmbrand. They tortured by all means. They beat until they broke the bones. They used red-hot irons, they used knives, they used everything. And what was the first thing is not that they beat, not what they did, but how they did it. They interrogated you very politely, and if you did not wish to say what they asked they said, "Well, we have the first. On the 15th you will be beaten and tortured at 10 o'clock in the evening."
Imagine what 14 days were after this. We have had prisoners who during this time, which has been given to them, knocked at the door, "I can't bear it. I will say everything," before they have been tortured.
Senator Dodd. I wish you would turn around before you put your shirt on.
Reverend Wurmbrand. And that it may be very clear, it is not that I boast with these marks. I show to you the tortured body of my country, of my fatherland, and of my church, and they appeal to the American Christians and to all freemen of America to think about our tortured body, and we do not ask you to help us. We ask you only one thing. Do not help our oppressors and do not praise them. You cannot be a Christian and praise the inquisitors of Christians. That is what I have to say.
Senator Dodd. All right. You may put on your clothes. That scar on your right breast, do you remember how that was inflicted?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes; by knife.
Senator Dodd. By knife?
Reverend Wurmbrand. By knife. I have been in Oslo. I went to a hospital. There were several physicians. I can give their names. I spoke with them about religion. In the beginning they said, "We are atheists," and then they saw my body and I asked them what treatment do I need. They said: "About treatment, do not ask us. Ask only the one in whom we don't believe, but who has kept you alive, because according to our medical books, you are dead. A man who has what you have, with four vertebras broken, cannot live. According to our medical books, you are dead. If you are alive, then the one in whom we don't believe has kept you alive."
Senator Dodd. I think it is important for our purposes to understand this completely. As I take it, they cut you, but they must have been asking you questions.
Reverend Wurmbrand. Surely, surely. I had worked in the representation of the World Council of Churches in Rumania, and after the war this World Council of Churches made a great relief work and I myself had relationship with the Rumanian patriarchs and with the bishops and with the Baptists and with the Pentecostals and Lutherans and so on, and we worked with all these. And now they wish to make with us in Rumania a great show process, a great show trial as they have made in Hungary with Cardinal Mindszenty and so on, and they wished from me accusatory statements against all these with whom I have had connections, and because I did not wish to give these accusatory statements, I and others have been tortured. This has been the usual thing. Nobody enters in the Rumanian secret police without being beaten, without being tortured. I have been not the worst tortured. The proof is that I am alive. So many died. Nearly all our Catholic bishops have been so handled that they have died, and in that time the Russians were in our country, they decided that the Catholic bishops should be killed. One of the members of the Government has been Gromyko, one of the murderers of Christians. Perhaps you will understand why I call his name.
Senator Dodd. Yes; I do.
Reverend Wurmbrand. I have seen Catholic priests, heroes, dying not only for Christ and confessing Christ to the end, but dying for the Pope.
I have heard the word of a Catholic priest, I will not tell his name. He was asked, "Do you still believe in the Pope?" and he said, "Since St. Peter there has always been a Pope, and until Christ will come again there will always be a Pope. And the actual Pope, Pius the 12th has not made peace with you and never will a Pope shake hands with you." He was trampled under the feet and tortured to death. Under our eyes he was killed. At that time a member of the government who killed this Catholic priest has been Gromyko, and the priest died with the hope that never will a Pope shake hands with his murderers.
Senator Dodd. You saw and heard this yourself.
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes, surely; and it is not only one case. I could never finish if I would tell you what I have seen. I must just pour out before you my heart. I speak for a country and I speak for a church. We are very, very sad there about all these compromises. I must tell you I have been in England before I came to the States, and I have spoken with high Christian officials from England. The Archbishop of Canterbury and many canons and so on have been in our country recently, last year. So I asked Christian leaders - I will not tell names - "Why have you sat at banquets with our inquisitors? I am a little pastor, I cannot interrogate you, but I speak for the others who cannot speak for themselves. "Why have you sat at banquets with our inquisitors?"
I was answered, "We are Christians and must have friendship and fellowship with everybody, with the Communists, too. Don't you agree?"
I said, "I can't polemicize with you. I have not read the Bible for 14 years. You must know Christianity better than I. Faintly I remember in the Bible it is written that friendship with the world is hatred toward God. But supposing you must have friendship and fellowship with everybody. How is it that you have had friendship and fellowship only with our inquisitors, and with us never?"
Never have these great men of the West been in the houses of Christian martyrs. I have an only son and I love him. I cannot look to him. He looks like a skeleton. He has hungered. He will never be healthy. And so many of our children died. All these great relates from the West are great men. I am very little in comparison with them. But I always asked myself, "Well, all right, make friendship with the Communists. But only with the Communists?" They never inquired about us.
I asked them, "Why did you go to see the Pope, who is all right, who does not need your visit?" "When you have been in Rumania why have you not visited the tombs of the Catholic bishops killed in tortures? Why have you not shed there a tear? Why have you not put there a flower? That is what we expected. Why have you not left 10 pounds? Ten pounds would have been the salvation of a Catholic family there. You go to see the Pope. The Pope is all right. He has to eat and to drink." But I must say we are very sad there about these compromises with communism. We do not understand. I am a man who does not understand politics. I have not read newspapers for 14 years.
It may be right for a state to have peaceful existence with communism. I do not know. That is a question for Johnson and Goldwater to decide. But the church can never have peaceful coexistence with atheism. Everybody would laugh if I would say that health can peacefully exist with the microbe of tuberculosis, that the FBI can coexist peacefully with gangsters, that the church can peacefully exist with drunkenness, but communism and atheism is much worse than drug addiction and drunkenness. You drink a little wine and the next day it passes, but communism poisons youth and our children since 50 years. How can there be peaceful existence with this on the side of churchmen and the church leadership I cannot understand.
I must say I have been very sad. I have read in your periodicals that, I do not know why, church bodies here ask the admission of Red China in the organization of allied nations. It may be right. I do not know politics. I do not know what this organization of allied nations is, but I ask myself, "You, a church periodical, why don't you write about the tortures inflicted to Chinese Christians by the communists? That is your business and leave the business of politics to the Senate and like this."
I express here the grief and the great pain of a suffering country and of a suffering church, and I apologize if I am a little unpolite.
Senator Dodd. You were the representative of the World Council of Christian Churches?
Reverend Wurmbrand. I was one of the workers of the office of the World Council of Churches. This man who give me a certificate, this Pastor Hedenquist, was at that time one of the leaders of the Council of Churches who came to Rumania.
Mr. Sourwine. You were responding to the chairman's question about what had been asked of you under interrogation. Did you complete that answer?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Well, it is a very interesting thing. Jesus says that the children of this world are wiser than the children of light. You are a political body. You interrogate me about what I have been asked about the World Council of Churches. The World Council of Churches never put to me this question.
Senator Dodd. Never what?
Reverend Wurmbrand. They have never put to me the question, "You have been arrested. One of the main subjects of your interrogation was that you represented us in Rumania. Please tell us what you have been interrogated about?"
I was never asked by them. The secret police wished to know everybody with whom they worked and with whom we had connections and so on. One of the great purposes of their interrogation was to know how they could win the World Council of Churches for their position.
Mr. Sourwine. How they could win?
Reverend Wurmbrand. The Council of Churches to defend their position.
Mr. Sourwine. How did you answer that one?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Well, I hoped - I must say that I was mistaken in the answers which I gave - I hoped that the World Council of Churches will never be won to their position.
Senator Dodd. Will never be what?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Won for their position.
Senator Dodd. Work for their position?
Reverend Wurmbrand. That they will never, so I had hoped. And now when I cam out I read last month there was sitting of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, in which they took the following decision, a very nice decision: "We ask both parts to keep peace."
But in the East nobody published this decision of theirs. Nobody in the East has the slightest ideas of this decision. So this disarms only the West. Such decisions are taken. They look very fine. The purpose has been accomplished.
Mr. Sourwine. You mentioned questions about the World Council of Churches. Was there more than one, or was there just the single question of how they could win it for their purposes?
Reverend Wurmbrand. No; there were also other questions; what relief they sent and to whom they gave this relief and what was the political purpose of this relief, and so on. They considered then the World Council of Churches - that was in 1948 - they considered the World Council of Churches as an American spy organization. They do not consider it any more like that.
Mr. Sourwine. You were being questioned by the Rumanian secret police, were you not?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes.
Mr. Sourwine. When you say they wanted to know how they could win the World Council of Churches for their purposes, did you mean for the purposes of Rumania?
Reverend Wurmbrand. No, no, no; for the purposes of communism, for the purposes of the whole Communist world.
Mr. Sourwine. In other words, the Rumanian secret police are, in your opinion at least, just like any other communist secret police?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Sure, there is no difference at all, and our interrogations, if they were important ones as mine, they went to Moscow. I know it from the Orthodox priest, Vasile Leon, who has been kidnaped from Austria and he has been brought to Moscow. In Moscow he has been interrogated about me. In Moscow they knew everything about Rumania. They worked hand in hand. At that time the secret Rumanian police had Soviet advisers.
Mr. Sourwine. I think you have touched on this, but can you perhaps give us a little more on the subject? What has been the policy and practice of the communists with respect to religion in countries where they have come into power?
Reverend Wurmbrand. They used three great instruments. First of all, the persecution, to make everybody afraid. They never accepted that they have put anybody in prison for religious motives. They found always political motives. Now I will give you the political motives.
A Unitarian pastor, a friend of mine, has been put in prison and sentenced to 7 years under the charge that on a Christmas Eve he has said that Jesus being a baby Herod wished to kill him but his holy mother fled with him to Egypt. That was the charge. "Aha, you meant us under Herod, and you hope Nasser will be on the side of the imperialists and therefore you mentioned Egypt."
Another friend of mine, a pastor, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was one of the greatest saints whom I have ever seen in life. The charge against him was he preached on a Sunday morning in a village about John 21 where it is said that the Lord walked on the seashore and he saw the apostles and asked them, "Have you something to eat?" They said, "We have not," and then Jesus said, "Throw your nets on the right side."
So the pastor preached from the pulpit. He asked, "Have you something to eat?" And when he asked, "Have you something to eat?" Everybody began to weep, because with us, peasants have nothing to eat. After the collectivization of agriculture our peasants have nothing to eat. Peasant children do not see milk and fruit. Everything goes to the collective and from the collective perhaps to Vietnam. Nobody knows where it goes. Our population does not see. They began to weep because they had nothing to eat and then the pastor, not knowing in what world he is, said, "Dear children, you have nothing to eat because you throw your nets on the left side. You must throw them on the right side." He meant the side of the clemency and of the goodness of God.
The next day there was the secret police, "Aha, you have said not to go to the left-wing with the communists but with the right side, the imperialists."
The man got 15 years of prison.
So there has been, first of all, this method of persecution. There has been, secondly, the method of corruption. We live in the times of the abomination of the desolation of the holy places. There have always been bad Popes and good Popes and bad priests and good priests. For the first time in church history the leadership of churches is dominated by the central committee of an avowed atheistic power. The central committee of the party decides who must be patriarch, who must be Baptist preacher, Pentecostal preacher, and so on. Everywhere they have found weak men or women with some sin. Those they have put in the leadership of churches and so you could hear in our theological seminary in Bucharest the theology that God has given three revelations - once through Moses, second through Jesus, the third through Karl Marx, and so on.
Religion is corrupted from within. Religion has been widely used and is still as the tools of communist politics. The priests everywhere had to propagate the collectivization of agriculture and everywhere when communists have something important to do, knowing the influence of religion, priests and pastors are put to preach these things.
Mr. Sourwine. Have the communists shown themselves to be opposed only to Christianity, or to all religions?
Reverend Wurmbrand. To all the religions. The Jewish religion has been persecuted just as the Christian religion. In the prison of Gherla we had a whole room with rabbis who were in prisons. We had in prison the Moslem priests and so on.
Mr. Sourwine. Did they segregate the rabbis in one room --
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes.
Mr. Sourwine. The Christians in another, and --
Reverend Wurmbrand. No, no, they were at a time kept with us, but the rabbis, because they had to respect certain dietary laws and the Sabbath and so on, they separated them in order not to provoke collision with other prisoners.
Mr. Sourwine. Did the prison authorities permit the Jews to follow their dietary requirements?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes.
Mr. Sourwine. To practice their religion?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes; under one form. They could follow the dietary rules, not eating everything which has been given to them. That is all. They did not give them any special food.
Senator Dodd. Were the rabbis subjected to the same kind of torture that you suffered?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes; sure, sure. There was no difference in this. I must say it may look anecdote for you. I had a discussion once with the commandant of the prison of Targulacna, and he said, "We are not like the Fascists who made the racial differences and persecuted the Jews and Hungarians. We are not so. Look around you. We keep in prison Rumanians, Hungarians, and Jews all alike. We don't make racial differences."
Mr. Sourwine. That could be interpreted to mean that he was saying people of the Jewish faith were being persecuted for their religious activity, but not for their race.
Is it true that there is no anti-Semitism in Rumania?
Reverend Wurmbrand. There is anti-Semitism. Just before we left the country, everywhere where Jews were in high positions as chief engineers or directors in ministry and so on, they were silenced and put to lower functions.
Mr. Sourwine. Would you expand on that?
Senator Dodd. Just repeat it.
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes, yes. Just before we left Rumania a few weeks before we left Rumania, all kinds of Jews who were chief engineer or directors or something great in different institutions have been put to lower positions just because they were Jews.
Senator Dodd. To lower positions?
Reverend Wurmbrand. To lower positions.
Mr. Sourwine. Not because of religion?
Reverend Wurmbrand. No, no.
Mr. Sourwine. Just as a matter of racial prejudice?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Sure. They could have been atheists They were even members of the Communist Party, but if they were of Jewish origin, they were put to lower positions. From the secret police all the Jews have been driven out.
Mr. Sourwine. Are there any Buddhists in Rumania?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Buddhists? No; we have none. Perhaps a few intellectuals, just a few.
Mr. Sourwine. Have the communists done anything, to your knowledge, to try to win position and influence for communist agents in the religious community of the free world?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Sure. We had a professor, Justin Moisescu.
Mr. Sourwine. Moisescu?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Moisescu, yes. He was a professor. He had never been a priest. Truly a very clever and a very cultured man. He was professor of church history, but a layman. With us there has been a law that you can't be professor in a theological institute unless you are a priest. So he resigned. He didn't wish to be a priest.
And the, what discussions he had with the secret police he knows, he was known in the whole country as a whoremonger, as a drunkard, nobody appreciated him. At once we heard that in a few weeks he had become priest, bishop, metropolitan of Yasi. That is the highest function with us after the patriarch.
Mr. Sourwine. That is the Rumanian Orthodox Church?
Reverend Wurmbrand. In the Rumanian Orthodox Church. Whatever will be the consequences for me, I have told you how I have been threatened, and these threatenings are not simple words.
Recently from Italy two Rumanians have been kidnaped. We have their names. An I know what can happen to me. But I will tell you this Justin Moisescu personally has denounced a group of 400 Christian peasants from his own bishopric. I have been imprisoned with them. He has denounced the priests whom he ordained when he knew that they said some counterrevolutionary word.
He has a very impressive beard and he has come out to the free world and was accepted as a bishop, and those in the West believe that they speak with the Orthodox Church of Rumania and they speak with the secret police of Rumania. And now the interesting thing is I would not mind accepting men like him and like Gromatca, this arch traitor and others. I don't mind that they are accepted in the West. But I ask myself in every bargain, in every business, both parts must win. I give you the product but you must give me the dollars for it. We accept your traitors. What does the East accept from us? If we had posed to Rumania this question, "We will accept Justin Moisescu, you must accept a Bible society in Rumania," we would have it. But we accept without asking for it. Justin Moisescu is a member of the secret police. They sent to America the priest Liviu Stan. Everybody knows Liviu Stan is a man of the communists. When the communists came to power he was among the first ones who put posters on our walls that Christians must vote and go with the Communists. These posters were signed and the others by this Liviu Stan. The communists in Rumania are not so stupid to send here a man who will say. "I come from the side of the communist party" Liviu Stan came as a representative of the Orthodox Church of Rumania. And so they have many men. They have sent recently a priest, Ananaia.
Now that is a very interesting thing about this priest, Ananaia. This priest, Ananaia, has been with me in prison. He has been 10 year in prison. He has been beaten. He has passed through brainwashing. And they have such a confidence in brainwashing that they had the confidence to send him to the West and he does their work.
Senator Dodd. He is a priest in good standing, and of what church?
Reverend Wurmbrand. In the Orthodox church.
I speak out of the pain of a heart. I can't polemicize. I am a very little pastor. I can't polemicize with great religious bodies, but I am a man who has read nothing for 14 years. And now I came out to the West. I had always been very interested in missions and I wished to know what happens in missions. I took in hand the International Review of Missions, edited by the World Council of Churches, and I read there in the issue of January that in Rumania, orthodoxism and protestantism grow in an atmosphere of full religious liberty.
If the man who wrote this has not taken thousands of dollars from the Rumanian secret police, he deserve to be hanged for stupidity. He could have taken money for this. I believe he has not taken money. And then I wrote to them a letter, and said, "Either you lie or I lie. If I lie, I promise that never more will I be a pastor. If you lie you have to withdraw." Now to see if I lie or you lie I ask you to answer the following 20 questions, if you say there is full religious liberty in Rumania.
"Where is the office of the World Council of Churches of Religion in Rumania? It has offices everywhere. In the communist countries it has none.
"Where is the Bible Society? We have no Bible Society. Show me one Bible printed in 20 years. We have no such thing. Tell me the name of one Christian who for 20 years could publish a book. Give me the name of one Christian professor of humanistic sciences in our country. Tell me on Sunday school in Bucharest where it can be attended.
"Tell me where is the YMCA in Rumania. Where are the pastors Ghelbegeanu, Vacareanu, and so on?" They are in prison.
"Please answer to me these questions. If you have received answers, I have received answers."
There is no possible answers. It is not right for Christians to mock our sufferings. The communists have mocked us enough. Don't praise our inquisitors. That is the only thing which we ask.
I apologize before these great Christians bodies. I am really a very little man but I speak for the great saints who suffer in prison. It is not right to praise our inquisitors or to think that now they have become better.
Mr. Sourwine. Are the restrictive measures imposed upon the exercise of religion in Rumania today as stringent as they were 10 or 15 years ago?
Reverend Wurmbrand. No; they are no more stringent and I will explain to you why. I have been in a very poor family, a family with five children. Generally our men are very poor with us, unbelievably poor.
My salary when I left Rumania was $28. You say it is little, $28 a week. It was $28 a month. My son was not allowed to finish his studies because of my condemnation. He worked as a building worker and had $30 a month. Our bishop has $70 a month. And now our population is very, very poor.
Senator Dodd. When you say dollars, you mean the equivalent?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes; the equivalent of $70. Now I was in a very poor family with five little children, and I caressed a child and the mother said to me, "This child is so good, it doesn't weep even when it is hungry." It had given up weeping because the child knew it is useless to weep. You can't get food. And so this child was not beaten, because it didn't weep any more. The Rumanian people does not weep any more. And, therefore, it must not be beaten any more.
The Rumanian people, as well as the other peoples behind the Iron Curtain, are desperate. They have abandoned hope that they will ever be released. For years we have heard a broadcast station: "Rebel against communism, rebel against communism," and when we rebelled we were abandoned.
And we see how our oppressors are helped. I will tell you a scene. Believe me, God is here. I tell you the scene just as it happened. It was in the years of brainwashing, the 14th year of prison. We are gathered to a meeting, and Major Alexandrescu, the commandant of the prison of Gherla, delivered us a speech and said:
You fools, you set for 15 or 20 years in prison and expected the Americans to come. You expected the Americans will come and release you. Now I will give you the news. The Americans come but not to release you. They come to help us, to help us, to make business with us, to make trade with us. You fools have not known. The Americans if you beg them, they give you nothing.. If you insult them, if you mock them, they give you money. We have been more clever than you.
These are words which I have heard myself. Such things have happened in our country.
Mr. Sourwine. Are there any open churches in Rumania today, which anyone may attend?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Just I didn't finish this question. So there is a relaxation in what sense? Our people has given up the fight. Political underground movements don't exist any more with us. They have no such. And so everything has quieted down in the country, and so they don't need any more of the same terror. I have been for years in prison with thieves and murderers. Even before having been put in prison I have been chaplain of a prison. A thief after he has stolen is a gentleman. He give to the waiters the greatest tips and he invites girls and he invites you and he orders the best wines. He has not worked for his money. And such thieves are the communists. They have stolen half of Europe, they have stolen Russia, too. They have stolen a great part of Asia. And now they have what they have stolen and they are gentlemen and they expect the next occasion to steal again.
In this sense there is a relaxation with us, but it is not an essential one. We continue to have the avowed dictatorship of an atheistic party. We have one party. There can be no religious freedom where there is one party. We have elections. Now a joke is make with us that when God created Adam, He created only one woman, Eve, and He said to Adam, "You are free to choose for wife whomsoever you wish." But there was only Eve. And so are the elections with us.
Our Government doesn't mind old women coming to church, but our childhood, our youth is poisoned with atheism. We are not allowed to counteract, and what bitter fruits will come out of this seed nobody can know.
Now you have asked another question, do we have open churches in Rumania? If somebody comes to Rumania - it is another situation in Russia - if somebody comes to Rumania, he is really impressed.
The Orthodox liturgy is something very beautiful. It is grand. And if you come in Rumania you see thousands of churches open, liturgies, sermons, many people in the church. And I have spoken with Americans who have been there and have told me, "I was very impressed." And now there is really a certain religious liberty. In Rumania you are allowed to say as much as you like that God is good. You are not allowed to say that the Devil is bad. St. John the Baptist could have saved his life if he had said: "Repent because the kingdom of heaven is near." Nobody would have touched him. He was touched when he said, "You, Herod, are bad."
If Christ would have delivered a thousand "Sermons on the Mount" they would not have crucified Him. They crucified Him when He said, "You vipers," then He was crucified.
In Rumania you can say God is good but you can't say "communism is cruel, they commit atrocities, it is a crime to poison children with atheism." If you do this you go to prison. There are many priests, rabbis, and pastors who compromise and don't put the dot on the "I." There exists the real church and the real religion and that which compromises.
Mr. Sourwine. Are there churchmen in Rumania today who willingly cooperate with the communist authorities?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Surely. The Orthodox hierarchy nearly entirely. Of the Catholic hierarchy, not one. The Catholic bishops died in prison, all except four. These four have house arrest. At the Vatican council no Catholic bishop was allowed to come. Came a Catholic priest, a well-known traitor, Augustine, who is the real leader of the Catholic Church; the leadership of the Baptists, for example is entirely in the hands of the communists.
I have here a document which I present to the Senate, a list of 150 Russian Baptist pastors recently deported to Siberia. Not all arrived in Siberia. Many died of tortures.
Senator Dodd. Can you talk a little more slowly? I could get your pronunciation better.
Reverend Wurmbrand. This is a list of 150 Baptist pastors of Russia who have been recently deported to Siberia. I have the names , the addresses, the names of their wives, of their children. They have not all arrived to Siberia, because of the tortures many died.
Senator Dodd. These were Rumanians?
Reverend Wurmbrand. No, no, Russians. And I give it to the Senate.
Mr. Sourwine. Mr.. Chairman, do you wish this list and the document of transmittal to go into the record? There is an English translation to be made.
Senator Dodd. Yes; I believe it should be in the record.
Mr. Sourwine. Will you hand that list to the reporter?
(The list and the document are not listed in this Net publication as they were too copious in nature. However, the information can be copied from the original transcript. Try your local library).
Senator Dodd. I don't quite understand this. These are 40 Russian Baptists?
Reverend Wurmbrand. 150.
Senator Dodd. Were they in Rumania?
Reverend Wurmbrand. No, no, they are Russians. We got from Russia. Here I have another very interesting document.
Mr. Sourwine. If you would excuse me, please, I believe the Senator's question raises a point you should clear up. How do you have this information about Russia? Have you been in Russia?
Reverend Wurmbrand. I have worked for years secret missionary work among the Russian soldiers who occupied our country. I speak Russian fluently, and we brought many Russian soldiers to Christ. To preach Christ to the Russians means Heaven on earth. They seek the Gospel as the thirsty soil seeks water. They have not known Him. The beauty of the Gospel you know it when you preach to Russians; how they live it and how they enjoy it, and so I have made some connections.
In a public sitting I can't say how I have arrived to have these lists.
Mr. Sourwine. You know it to be authentic?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Personally I can tell you from where I have this list, but it is absolutely authentic. It can be controlled. Surely in a public sitting I can't say how I have received it.
I present to the Senate also a very interesting document, the most interesting I have ever known in this matter, the document, "Li Wei Man." It is a letter of the Central Committee of the Communist party of China addressed to the Central Committee of the Communist party of Cuba. Now recently they have quarreled but this letter is an older one in which they teach how to win the leadership of the churches for communism, how to make that the communists should be leaders of the churches. It is an unequaled document of Machiavelianism.
We have lived these things but never have I seen it put on paper as this.
Mr. Sourwine. May I suggest this be printed as an appendix to the record, Mr. Chairman?
Senator Dodd. Yes.
Senator Dodd. I take it what you have been telling us must be more or less common knowledge in Rumania, is it?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes; surely.
Senator Dodd. Would it be accurate to deduce that the embassy officials of the several countries must have heard it too?
Reverend Wurmbrand. They don't wish to be troubled in their quietness. They close their eyes before this menace. I have met men who simply close their eyes when I told them about these things. They know that they are true. But they have a certain policy of friendly relationship with the communist countries, and they are very honest men, but they are duped exactly as we were duped in Rumania.
Wherever the communists came in the beginning, they said the same thing which I read here in newspapers and in periodicals. "You know Stalin's communism has been very bad, but Yugoslavian communism or another kind of communism, this is very good."
A little lion in its first days you can play with him just like with a puppy. When he becomes great, only then he is a lion. Yugoslavian communism is this little communism. And American communism a very little one and English communism is a very little one. When they grow, when they can do whatever they will to do, then only we can see them With us, in the beginning, we also had a very nice communism. I have seen in Rumanian Communist demonstrations signs with the slogan, "God save the King." I have seen the communist Secretaries of State making great crosses, showing themselves as being on the side of religion and making compliments to religion and bowing to religion and saying they are Democrats. In the beginning, they have put in prison party members who said that the agriculture must be collectivized. And they have gone together with the bourgeois party, with the Liberal Party of Tatorescu and with other Democrats.
I have seen in the West Social Democrats collaborate with them. In Rumania, I have seen dying Social Democrats in the same cell with me; they died. Communists in Rumania, too, were nice until they had the whole power in hand. When they had the whole power in hand, they have done things exactly as in Russia, and so they will do everywhere. There is no difference.
Mr. Sourwine. You mentioned demonstrations by the Communists. Does Rumania have anything like the demonstrations that are so prevalent in this country, demonstrations against the Government's activities or against its policies?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Nobody can say a word of criticism. Such a thing doesn't even enter in the mind of somebody. I will tell you something of which may be laughable for you. It is very tragical with us. But the story is just as I tell you. I know the man. A man was in a barbershop in a little town, Sibiu. While the barber shaved him, he said to the barber: "What should I do? My hair falls." The barber said, "Very well, I will make you a friction but you must not be anxious about this. The most intelligent people of the world have been bald." On the other seat there was an officer of the secret police and he said to the barber, "What have you said now?"
"I have said that the most intelligent people of the world are bald."
"So, you assert that Stalin has not been intelligent." It is a question of laughter for you but it is tragical with us. Nobody dares to say a word.
I stopped in Newark, and in Philadelphia, a demonstration against the war in Vietnam. I had not this clerical suit on. I stopped the demonstrators and I undressed myself to the belt. Afterwards I heard that it is illegal here in the States, and that I could have gone to prison for this. I undressed myself.
Senator Dodd. It would have been all right on the bathing beach.
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes; it was not on the beach. And I told them, "This have Communists done to me. Do you think that American Christians should fight against communism?" So they surrounded me and asked me, "Why have Communists done to you this?" I said to them, "Suppose that I am a murdered. Do you agree that a murderer should be tortured? Has Oswald been tortured? Has Ruby been tortured with you?" They all said, "No; murderers have not been tortured." I continued: "Then know that I have not be charged with murder. I am a clergyman." They stopped the demonstration. In Philadelphia there was again such a demonstration. I am not a man of politics. I can't speak for the war of Vietnam or against the war in Vietnam. I speak this general principle that Christians must be on the side of righteousness.. They must never be on the side of the inquisitors of Christians. They must be on the side of the victims of the inquisitors, they must be on the side of the Christians.
In Philadelphia there was a great meeting. A pastor with clerical suit, a Presbyterian pastor, delivered a speech in which he praised Communists and said that Communists are all right and it is stupid to fight against them. I have learned something from the Communists. In a minute - after - the pastor was no more in the pulpit, I was in the pulpit. I said: "Now I will speak about communism. What do you know about communism? And I will show you my credentials, how I have studied communism." I undressed myself to the belt. I did not know that all these bad reporters are there and took pictures. And I showed them my body. "That is what Communists do to Christians, and you, Pastor, why don't you make demonstrations, if you are a Christian and if you have youth in you and vigor, why don't you demonstrate before the Soviet and Rumanian Embassies and the other embassies against torturing Christians?" And then the public, which has been there booed him and shouted to him "Judas."
These are Judases. They may be all right innerly, I don't know their hearts, but I think that Christians, if they wish to demonstrate, they should demonstrate against those who have recently deported 150 Baptist pastors.
Mr. Sourwine. The subcommittee has received substantial information to the effect that the Rumanian Communist Government has infiltrated into this country Communist trained clergy with other missions than those of a spiritual nature. Do you have any information about that?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Rumanian Communists are very interested in the fact that you have here, in the States, something like 300,000 on their side. They can't very well win them for communism, but they can win them for a leftwing Christianity which supports communism. They have sent here several men, Moisescu, Liviu Stan, and so on. These don't come with Communist slogans but with the words: "You must love your Rumanian fatherland. *** You must have connections with the Rumanian patriarchy." Whey I came out from Rumania I saw for the first time a Rumanian newspaper which appears in Bucharest, and which nobody in Bucharest has ever seen. The Voice of the Fatherland it is called, and in the fatherland nobody sees this newspaper. Only your American Rumanians see it and in France. I have never seen it. My son looked at it, and we have never seen it. In this newspaper you read about priests and churches. In our newspapers you will never have a word about the church. There you have pictures of priests and monasteries and how fine it is and so on. They make this propaganda, surely.
Senator Dodd. You mean this paper is only distributed in the free world?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Only in the free world. They have at midnight, which corresponds to I don't know what hour here in the United States, it is noon or I don't know what, they have religious services which are jammed in Rumania, but they are emitted from Rumania. We have no religious services on the broadcasts. These are broadcast religious services only that the Americans should know how fine the Communists are and that they have religious services.
Mr. Sourwine. Are you saying that the religious services of the Rumanian Orthodox Church -
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes.
Mr. Sourwine (continuing). Are broadcasts in Rumania at a time which is midnight in Rumania?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes.
Mr. Sourwine. Beamed to the Western World?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes; sure.
Mr. Sourwine. To the free world?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Sure.
Mr. Sourwine. And not broadcast in Rumania?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Sure. In Rumania, nobody hears them.
Mr. Sourwine. Of course, a broadcast beamed from Rumania to the United States necessarily will have enough power to be picked up in Rumania if anyone wanted to tune in.
Reverend Wurmbrand. First of all, it is a very inconvenient hour. It is midnight for us. Secondly, in Rumania it is jammed.
Mr. Sourwine. It is what?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Jammed.
Mr. Sourwine. They jam it in Rumania?
Reverend Wurmbrand. They jam it in Rumania.
Mr. Sourwine. So that even those who know about it, who might try to pick it up ----
Reverend Wurmbrand. It is jammed. You can't hear it in Rumania.
Mr. Sourwine. Suppose a group of persons were called together trying to tune in that broadcast above the jamming. Would there be reprisals against them? It is an illegal thing?
Reverend Wurmbrand. In this moment, no reprisals would be taken. No reprisals are taken today if somebody hears foreign broadcasts. But everything is noted. What happens with us? We have waves of terror. We have had a great wave of terror from 1948 and 1949 which lasted until 1955. We had the relax until 1958 when nobody was arrested but everything was noted.
Then in 1959 came again a wave of terror, and all those who were noted for years before were taken in. And now the whole spy work continues with us. You are not arrested. But everybody knows that he is spied out and that everything is noted. How far this inner spy net goes is unimagined. In a little townlet of ours there is a little Baptist church with only 22 members. The pastor of that church told me that he is the informer of the secret police and that he knows three members of his church who give information against him. So it was in the church in which I was. The servant of the church had the order to inform who comes to me. I had no salary. So, usually men who came to me brought a little parcel with food and clothes and so on. The servant had to spy out who comes with parcels. In the smallest churches you have five or six who have to spy out what the others do. One neighbor spies the other. Children spy on their father and so on. It is without end so nobody dares to do a thing.
Senator Dodd. I am somewhat interested in these interrogations to which you were subjected. If I understand you correctly, they lasted for hours; is that right?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes; surely.
Senator Dodd. Without going into a lengthy explanation, what did they ask you?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Well, they asked many things. First of all they wished to know who has said counterrevolutionary things of all the bishops and priests and pastors and laymen whom I knew. Who has spoken against the Government. Who has something against the Government. How we organized and so on, without end. And now at a certain moment I was tired with being beaten. They told me at a certain moment, "Mr. Wurmbrand, supposing that you are not a counterrevolutionary, you are a well-known pastor in the whole country and everybody had confidence in you and you spoke with bishops and all kinds of men and you have been in so many villages and towns and everybody confessed to you and so forth. Tell us who are the counterrevolutionaries. Don't speak about your activity. You are all right. You are not a counterrevolutionary. But then show your loyalty toward our Government, tell us who the counterrevolutionaries are. Are you disposed to do so?" So, I said, "Yes; I am disposed."
When they heard that I am disposed, they asked me: "Do you smoke, do you wish liquors?" Everything I could have at that moment. And he knew, the officer, that he will receive another star there if he gets from me this information. And then he asked me now, "Who are the counterrevolutionaries?" I said, "As you know I have worked on an international scale, so I can tell you the counterrevolutionaries not only in Rumania but even in Russia."
Oh, he was so glad. I said: "In Russia, you have had as Secretary of State for Internal Affairs, Yagoda. Yagoda has killed thousands of people as counterrevolutionaries. Then you have discovered who has been the counterrevolutionary: Yagoda has been. Yagoda has been shot as counterrevolutionary.
"Then you have had as Secretary of State for Internal Affairs, Beria, and Beria has killed other thousands of people as counterrevolutionaries. Then you have found out who has been the counterrevolutionary: Beria. "Why do you seek the counterrevolutionaries in the church? See them in your own party. And in Rumania it has been the same thing.
Communists are not only anti-Christian. They are anti everything. They are anti their own comrades.
I have been in prison. I have been there with Lucretiu Patrascanu, the great Communist leader, who has brought communism to power in our country. He was put in prison and tortured until he became mad.
My wife has been in prison with Gheorghe Cristescu. Everybody in Rumania knows the founder of communism in Rumania, who has been in prison for communism under the bourgeois. He has been with my wife together, and he said to my wife, "Forty years ago I fought for the 8-hour labor day and now my Communist Party has come to power and I have to work 14 hours a day."
They are anti absolutely everything. It is not only anti-Christian.
Senator Dodd. What was the name of the prominent woman Communist in Rumania?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Ana Pauker, and she was also in prison.
Senator Dodd. Do you know her?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes, yes surely; she has also been in prison, and she has been kept a short time and then afterward she died of cancer.
Mr. Sourwine. I have no more questions, sir.
Senator Dodd. We don't have any more questions. Do you have anything more you want to say, Pastor?
Reverend Wurmbrand. I want to say something. I owe it to those with whom I have been in prison. I have told you so many sad things. I don't wish to end with this note. I must tell you that in these great tortures and this great suffering, Christians have shown themselves as saints and as heroes, and if I am allowed to conclude with just one scene which I have seen myself.
It was at the canal. With us, 150,000 men and women have been arrested to build a canal. Beaten, tortured, hungry, without anything, they had to build a canal.
Senator Dodd. Build a canal?
Reverend Wurmbrand. Yes; a canal, the Danube Canal. My wife has worked and shoveled the earth. At this canal, there was a religious brigade of 400 men, bishops, priests, peasants who loved Christ, sectarians and so on, all who were for religious motives in prison.
Over this brigade criminals have been put, and to the criminals it has been promised that they will be released if they torture these Christians. This promise has never been kept. But imagine a criminal who is sentenced for life, if he knows that he has such a hope. If they saw you in this brigade making a cross as it is a habit with us in Rumania, or folding your hands or saying a word about God you were beaten to death.
And now a Sunday morning the political officer of the prison comes, the whole brigade is gathered, and just at random he sees a young man. He calls him, "What is your name?" He says the name. "What are you by profession?" He said, "A priest." And then mocking the Communist said, "Do you still believe in God?"
This priest knew that if he says yes, this is the last day of his life. We all looked to him. For a few seconds he was silent. Then his face began to shine and then he opened his mouth and with a very humble but with a very decided voice he said: "Mr. Lieutenant, when I became a priest I knew that during church history thousands of Christians and priests have been killed for their faith, and notwithstanding I became a Christian and I became a priest. I knew what I became. And as often as I entered the altar clad in this beautiful ornate which priests wear I promised to God, "If I will wear the uniform of a prisoner, then also I will serve Him. Mr. Lieutenant, prison is not an argument against religion. I love Christ from all my heart."
I am sad that I can't give the intonation with which he said these words. I think that Juliet when she spoke about Romeo, she spoke like that. We were ashamed because we - we believed in Christ. This man loved Christ as a bride loves the bridegroom. This man has been beaten and tortured to death. But this is Rumania. Rumania is a country which is mocked, which is oppressed, but deep in the hearts of the people is a great esteem and a great praise for those who have suffered. The love to God, the love to Christ, the love to fatherland has never ceased. My country will live. With this I finish.
Senator Dodd. Your testimony has certainly been very impressing. (At this point, a member of the audience later identified as L.D. O'Flaherty, addressed the Chair).
Mr. O'Flaherty. Mr. Chairman, we have pretty substantial reason to believe that our brother is in danger of his life, and I don't know what steps we could take to have him claim asylum here. He has asylum in France, but we fear for his life because as he as told you, they have told him they will bump him off, get a gangster to bump him off. What arrangements if any - I am not a politician or a political science scholar - what arrangements could be made for his asylum in this country? Can he make a declaration to secure asylum here for his protection?
We know individuals have followed him from city to city unknown to him, and I ask this openly here.
Senator Dodd. Would you identify yourself? I didn't get your name.
Mr. O'Flaherty. O'Flaherty. L.D. O'Flaherty.
Senator Dodd. O'Flaherty?
Mr. O'Flaherty. I am a businessman, a Christian businessman. I am a director in a certain organization here that is giving him support, Friends of Israel. On that basis I make this request. I don't think he understands the danger.
Reverend Wurmbrand. We have a God who protects us. We have the angels around us.
Senator Dodd. I think we had better discuss this matter privately with the pastor after the public hearing. I don't think it is a matter which should be discussed publicly.
Mr. O'Flaherty. Thank you.
Senator Dodd. We will adjourn this hearing now subject to further call.
(Whereupon, at 11:50 a.m., the subcommittee adjourned subject to the call of the Chair).
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