A pastor by the name of Florescu was tortured with red-hot iron pokers and with knives. He was beaten very badly. Then starving rats were driven into his cell through a large pipe. He could not sleep, but had to defend himself all the time. If he rested a moment, the rats would attack him.
He was forced to stand for two weeks, day and night. The communists wished to compel him to betray his brethren, but he resisted steadfastly. In the end, they brought his fourteen year-old son and began to whip the boy in front of his father, saying that they would continue to beat him until the pastor said what they wished him to say. The poor man was half mad. He bore it as long as he could. When he could not stand it any more, he cried to his son; "Alexander, I must say what they want! I can't bear your beating any more!" The son answered, "Father, don't do me the injustice to have a traitor as a parent. Withstand! If they kill me, I will die with the words, 'Jesus and my fatherland'." The communists, enraged, fell upon the child and beat him to death, with blood spattered over the walls of the cell. He died praising God. Our dear brother Florescu was never the same after seeing this.
Handcuffs which had sharp nails on the insides were put on our wrists. If we were totally still, they didn't cut us. But in bitterly cold cells, when we shook with cold, our wrists would be torn by the nails.
Christians were hung upside down on ropes and beaten so severely that their bodies swung back and forth under the blows. Christians were put in ice-box "refrigerator cells" which were so cold, frost and ice covered the inside. I was thrown into one with very little clothing on. Prison doctors would watch through an opening until they saw symptoms of freezing to death, then they would give a warning and guards would rush in to take us out and make us warm. When we were finally warmed, we would immediately be put back in the ice-box cells to freeze -- over and over again! Thawing out, then freezing to within just one minute or two of death, then being thawed out again. It continued endlessly. Even today sometimes I can't bear to open a refrigerator.
We Christians were put in wooden boxes only slightly larger than we were. This left no room to move. Dozens of sharp nails were driven into every side of the box, with their razor-sharp points sticking into the box. While we stood perfectly still, it was all right. We were forced to stand in these boxes for endless hours. But when we became fatigued and swayed with tiredness, the nails would go into our bodies. If we moved or twitched a muscle -- there were the horrible nails.
What the communists have done to Christians surpasses any possibility of human understanding.
I have seen communists torturing Christians and the faces of the torturers shone with rapturous joy. They cried out while torturing the Christians, "We are the devil."
We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and powers of evil. We saw that communism is not from men but from the devil. It is a spiritual force -- a force of evil -- and can only be countered by a greater spiritual force, the Spirit of God.
I often asked the torturers, "Don't you have pity in your hearts?" They usually answered with a quotation from Lenin that "you cannot make omelets without breaking the shells of eggs" and that "you cannot cut wood without making chips fly." I said again, "I know this quotation from Lenin. But there is a difference. When you cut a piece of wood it feels nothing. But here you are dealing with human beings. Every beating produces pain and there are mothers who weep." It was in vain. They are materialists. For them nothing besides matter exists and to them a man is like wood, like an egg-shell. With this belief they sink to unbelievable depths of cruelty.
The cruelty of atheism is hard to believe. When a man has no faith in the reward of good or the punishment of evil, there is no reason to be human. There is no restraint from the depths of evil which is in man. The communist torturers often said, "There is no God, no hereafter, no punishment for evil. We can do what we wish." I heard one torturer say, "I thank God, in whom I don't believe that I have lived to this hour when I can express all the evil in my heart." He expressed it in unbelievable brutality and torture inflicted on prisoners.
I am very sorry if a crocodile eats a man, but I can't reproach the crocodile. He is not a moral being. So no reproaches can be made to the communists. Communism has destroyed any moral sense in them. They boasted they had no pity in their hearts.
I learned from them. As they allowed no place for Jesus in their hearts, I decided I would leave not the smallest place for Satan in mine.
I have testified before the Internal Security Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate. There I described awful things, such as Christians tied to crosses for four days and nights. The crosses were put on the floor and hundreds of prisoners had to fulfill their bodily necessities over the faces and bodies of the crucified ones. Then the crosses were erected again and the communists jeered and mocked: "Look at your Christ! How beautiful he is! What fragrance he brings from Heaven!" I described how, after being driven nearly insane with tortures, a priest was forced to consecrate human excrement and urine and give Holy Communion to Christians in this form. This happened in the Rumanian prison Pitesti. I asked the priest afterwards why he did not prefer to die rather than participate in this mockery. He answered, "Don't judge me please! I have suffered more than Christ!" All the Biblical descriptions of hell and the pains of Dante's Inferno are nothing in comparison with the tortures in communist prisons.
In the prison of Gherla, a Christian named Grecu was sentenced to be beaten to death. The process lasted a few weeks. He was beaten very slowly. He would be hit once at the bottom of the feet with a rubber club, and then left. After some minutes again a hit, after another few minutes again. He was beaten on the testicles. Then a doctor gave him an injection. He recovered and was given very good food to restore his strength, and then he was beaten again until he died under this slow, repeated beating. One who led this torture was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, whose name was Reck.
Now, at a certain moment, Reck would say something which the communists often said to Christians, "You know, I am God. I have power of life and death over you. The one who is in heaven cannot decide to keep you in life. Everything depends upon me. If I wish, you live. If I wish, you are killed. I am God!" So he mocked the Christian.
Brother Grecu, in this horrible situation, gave Reck a very interesting answer which I heard afterward from Reck himself. He said, "You don't know what a deep thing you have said. You are really a god. Every caterpillar is in reality a butterfly, if it develops rightly. You have not been created to be a torturer, a man who kills. You have been created to become a godlike being. Jesus said to the Jews of His time, 'Ye are gods.' The life of Godhead is in your heart. Many who have been like you, many persecutors, as the apostle Paul, have discovered at a certain moment that it is shameful for a man to commit atrocities, that they can do much better things. So they have become partakers of the divine nature. Believe me, Mr. Reck, your real calling is to be a god, godlike; not a torturer."
At that moment Reck did not pay much attention to the words of his victim, as Saul of Tarsus did not pay attention to the beautiful witness of Stephen being killed in his presence. But those words worked in his heart. And Reck later understood that this was his real calling.
One great lesson arose from all the beatings, tortures and butchery of the communists: that the spirit is master of the body. Often, when tortured, we felt the tortures, but it seemed as something distant and far removed from the spirit which was lost in the glory of Christ and His presence with us.
When we were given one slice of bread a week and dirty soup every day, we decided we would faithfully "tithe" even then. Every tenth week we took the slice of bread and gave it to weaker brethren as our "tithe" to the Master.
A Christian was sentenced to death. Before being executed, he was allowed to see his wife. His last words to his wife were, "You must know that I die loving those who kill me. They don't know what they do and my last request of you is to love them, too. Don't have bitterness in your heart because they kill your beloved one. We will meet in heaven." These words impressed the officer of the secret police who attended the discussion between the two. Afterward he told me the story in prison, where he had been put for becoming a Christian.
Tortured for Christ