Christian Pastor Richard Wurmbrand imprisoned for 14-years under communist Romania because of his faith in Christ
Richard Wurmbrand was born in 1909 from a Jewish family in Bucharest, Romania. He was brilliant and fluent in nine languages. Richard adhered to leftist ideology before becoming Christian.
During World War II, Richard and Sabina saw it as an opportunity to evangelize
They preached in bomb shelters and rescued Jewish children out of the ghettos. They were repeatedly arrested and beaten. Sabina’s Jewish family perished in the Nazi concentration camps.
By 1945, Romanian Communists seized power, and Russian troops poured into the country. Pastor Wurmbrand continued to preach Christ boldly, particularly to the Russian soldiers.
That same year, Richard and Sabina attended the “Congress of Cults.” Religious leaders called to speak. They praised communism and to swear loyalty to the new regime.
Standing up for Christ amidst Christians compromising their faith
The couple couldn’t believe what they were hearing. Pastor Wurmbrand walked up to the podium and declared to the delegates, whose speeches were broadcast to the whole nation, that their duty was to glorify God and Christ alone.
Richard Wurmbrand imprisonment
On February 29, 1948, the secret police kidnapped Richard on his way to the church. Two years after, his wife was also imprisoned—their 9-year-old son, Mihai, alone and homeless.
The movie “Torture for Christ” depicts in particular how Richard Wurmbrand tortured for his faith. The soldiers were often filled with anger and mocked the God of Richard.
He had to stand in a tiny box filled with sharp nails all around, sometimes for days. Darkness filled the hearts of the Marxist communists, yet Wurmbrand’s heart still filled with love for them, knowing they are lost without Christ.
Wurmbrand torturer often mocked him. They wondered why he continued to have faith with God. He would tell them, “I am praying for you.” In prison, he was able to share Christ with unbelievers. Many of them died afterward.
Sabina was assigned to labor in the canal. In one winter, she was mocked for her faith and thrown to the freezing icy lake. She broke two ribs and suffered for three years. A lot of the prisoners died.
Some of those imprisoned were Petre Tutea, Ph.D., who spent 18 years in hard labor, and Romanian writer, Ioan Ianolide detained for 25 years. Thousands died in the prison facility (Jilava) of Craiova, Gherla. They all had their own stories of faith and martyrdom.
Communist Romania to the United States
During the couple’s ministry after WW2, they distributed 1 million Gospels to Russian troops, often disguising the books as Communist propaganda (Karl Marx as cover). He also helped arrange smuggling Gospels into Russia.
The Romanian government allowed him and his family ransomed for $10,000 by Norwegian Christians. They arrived in Norway in 1965. The family eventually moved to the United States the next year.
Richard founded Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) in 1967. He died on February 17, 2001, and his wife on August 17, 2000. In 2006, he was voted fifth among the greatest Romanians according to the Mari Români poll.