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Richard Wurmbrand
Tortured for Christ
Hodder, London, 1967
(price: 30p; 128 pages)

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Richard Wurmbrand
In God's Underground
Hodder, London, 1968
(price: 50p; 256 pages)

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Richard Wurmbrand
The Church in Chains
Hodder, London, 1974
(price: 40p; 144 pages)

The death of Richard Wurmbrand in 2001 didn't attract a huge amount of attention, but back in the late-1960s and early-1970s, he was one of the better-known dissidents in the communist bloc. Not in the Solzhenitsyn class, of course, but renowned in certain circles. And unusually for a dissident at this time, he was no intellectual, but an evangelical minister in Romania.

Now, I have no brief for evangelical ministers - it seems to me self-evident that the sooner humanity decides to abandon its faith in Judaism and, more particularly, its heretical offshoots (Christianity, Islam, Marxism), the better - but the communist suppression of dissent really didn't really help matters. In fact the sheer intolerance of Eastern Europe in the communist era did enormous damage to the materialist cause by portraying it as being even more violent than the Holy Inquisition.

So Richard Wurmbrand - as a Christian - was serious about his opposition to the communist state:

I have decided to denounce 'communism', though I love the 'communists'. I don't find it to be right to preach the Gospel without denouncing communism.

Consequently he found his work impeded, himself imprisoned, his books burned and members of his congregation disappearing, never to be heard of again. Frankly the Commies were evil: this ain't any way to fight an idea. You don't have to accept Wurmbrand's faith - or even believe more than about five per cent of his story - to recognize that the Stalinist state in Romania was an enemy to humanity.

As mementos of a particularly horrendous period now consigned to history, these aren't bad books. Repetitious, of course, and not exactly quality literature, but worth a look.

Appendix: Was Karl Marx A Satanist?

(Diane Books, USA, 1979)

When I first put this page online, I appealed for information on the subject of another Richard Wurmbrand book Was Karl Marx a Satanist?. I'm extremely grateful to a correspondent, Trevor W McKeown, for providing me with a cover scan and a synopsis of the 'argument' that Rev Wurmbrand employed in his book. (You should check out the link below to the website maintained by Mr McKeown.)

'I do not claim to have provided undisputed proof that Marx was a member of a sect of devil-worshippers,' admits Wurmbrand, 'but I believe that there are sufficient leads to imply this.' (p.76) Essentially these 'leads' come from a couple of Marx's early romantic works, the play Oulenem and the poem 'The Player', which - typically for Germanic writing of the period - have an exaggerated post-Gothic element to them. To the paranoid monotheistic mind, of course - the kind that sees the emergency number 999 is simply 666 upside-down - even mentioning the Prince of Darkness is tantamount to signing a pact in blood. The best bit is the attempt to understand the psychology of the man: 'Marx abandoned poetry for a career of revolution in the name of Satan against a society which had not appreciated his poems.' (p.18) Same problem with Hitler and his painting, of course.

my thanks to Mr Trevor W McKeown, Webmaster of the
Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon website
for the information on Was Karl Marx A Satanist?