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Continuing to be the object of persecution and being in great danger, our Scandinavian missions to the Jews succeeded to make him escape from there.
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.
Reverand 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
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. 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?
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. If 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 nails 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
a 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. 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.
Reverend WURMBRAND. When I came out from prison in 1956, I was licensed to preach-of course, nobody can preach in our country except 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 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 man 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 about 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 Dopp. You were rearrested 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 22, 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 a 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 angels 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 bit 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 marks on my body, which are my credentials.
Senator DODD. Excuse me, never will who understand?
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 now you imagine how this cat screamed and the prisoners, mad, beat 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 Christian 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 bave been in prison, too.
Senator Dodd. The point I was getting at—and I guess I did not make it clear--were 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 any body, 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 mockiog 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 bere. 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 a 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 aleulia 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 this doping. And after we were doped like that—that is the secret of all the Soviet show trials, in which the prisoners accuse themselvesthen 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 scientifical sug
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