It is, perhaps, fitting that the most terrifying prison in history lies practically in the shadow of Vlad the Impaler’s castle; the real historical home of the bloodthirsty figure of Transylvania who served as the basis for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the 1970 Nobel Prize laureate, said it was a place of “the most terrible acts of barbarism in the contemporary world.”

Those of you who kindly follow my work know that in just the last three months I have been in Davos (to report to you on the dangerous World Economic Forum globalists); Warsaw (to catch a glimpse of the Ukrainian refugee situation); Rome (to improve my understanding of the role of the modern Catholic Church); and Romania where I was graciously given special access to the Pitesti Prison.


It was here, between 1949-51, that the “Pitesti Experiment” was carried out against political prisoners. These were people arrested for their anti-communist views or because they were suspected of being anti-communists.

Before I proceed, let’s define our terms. It is necessary if you are to fully understand this story of extreme brutality, oppression, and the lessons for us today.

Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism, et al. are types of socialism. Strictly speaking, communism is the highest stage of socialism, a secular utopia, a place where all needs are met, government is unnecessary, and humanity has attained its highest purpose. Of course, it has never been achieved because the whole system is unworkable and contrary to human nature.

Moreover, there is no purpose in that system. There can be none that isn’t artificially generated. That’s because socialism is just atheism masquerading as political philosophy. In that world, there is no meaning, no transcendent truth, no right or wrong, no justice, and certainly no hope. There is only what happens, and that, as we all know, is a very different thing.


Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” The same may be said for government. In the Christian view, the state, a temporal institution, serves man, an eternal being. In the socialist model this is reversed: man, a temporal being, serves the state, an eternal institution. See the difference?

Atheism is not incidental to socialism. It is the core tenet. Wrote Marx in a (bad) poem: “I wish to avenge myself against the One who rules above.”


Back to our story.

“Anti-communist” was a catch-all, damning term used to condemn anyone who wouldn’t bend the knee to the state. Or it might be used against you because a member of the Communist Party wanted your apartment or your wife. As you might expect, Christians were at the top of the enemy list. Richard Wurmbrand tells of his arrest, detention, and torture in just such a Romanian prison in his bestseller Tortured for Christ.


People were sent to Pitesti for “re-education.” The idea was to destroy all that a man held dear: his belief in God, family, friends, his own integrity—everything. Torture him by making him curse the name of Christ, denounce his family as “enemies of the people,” and swear loyalty to the state.

This process was called “unmasking.” Prisoners were taken to a room where they were beaten until they were willing to “confess” their own treason, call their wives and daughters whores (the torturers, we are told, especially liked this), and denounce their own friends with whom they had been deliberately imprisoned. Those known to be Christians were made to take a communion of feces and urine, the priest forced to consecrate it. A cross was smeared in feces and Christians told to worship it.


Men were made to sodomize each other and to watch the torture of their friends. They were told repeatedly their wives had remarried, no one had inquired about them, and there was no hope. Wurmbrand says torturers never ceased to invent new means of inflicting physical and psychological distress.

He tells of how one day prisoners in their cells heard beautiful music in the corridor. The prisoners’ spirits were lifted by the music. Then, suddenly, it stopped. A man could be heard laughing as a woman was tortured in the corridor. Every man, says Wurmbrand, was sure that was his own wife or daughter.

“The human being was thereby annihilated,” said one who was imprisoned there. “Disgusted by his own weakness, he would never be able to recover himself before his own conscience. The pain was beyond the power of human endurance.”


The goal of all of this was to destroy souls. This was deemed to have been achieved when the tortured became torturers of other prisoners. Men were instructed to pull out the teeth of their friends, to defecate on them, to denounce them as enemies of the people.

We are told some men held out. Their belief in God curiously grew stronger as they experienced what some have attributed to a demonic possession of the communist.


It is not my purpose here to scandalize you. Like the Holocaust, these things simply cannot be forgotten. You cannot turn away. You must look at them straight on and know to what depths men will sink without the restraint of God.

When society fully embraces the idea that there is no God and no judgment in the next life for actions in this one, there is absolutely no evil men will not commit.

Aquinas said something like this: God made animals all flesh, no spirit.

He made angels all spirit, no flesh.

He made man a composite of both flesh and spirit.

Thus, man can ascend to the higher or descend to the lower, the animal.

This is where we are. As Western societies rush to overthrow Christian belief, we are rapidly becoming a barbaric, animalistic people who embrace—no, celebrate—violence (against children, no less), perversion in all its manifestations, lawlessness, and blasphemy.

This isn’t chiefly an assault on freedom. It is, above all else, an assault on God, to dethrone Him, and to put a beast in His place.


Think Pitestis can’t happen in America? Think again. The hate spewed from the Left is staggering in its implications.

Pitestis happen first with the rejection of God. That bridge has been crossed. Next is the process of mischaracterizing ideological opponents. That’s been done, calling roughly 85 million Americans “enemies of democracy.” Sound familiar?


Next is dehumanizing these people. Once that’s accomplished, violence is a given. Indeed, it has already begun.


But as many of the survivors of Pitesti discovered, their main enemy was not their torturer. It was Satan himself.

“We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil…”


Today, Pitesti Prison Memorial is supported by private funds, the Romanian gov’t refusing to acknowledge it officially. This is history they want to forget.

We must not.

Larry Alex Taunton is an author, cultural commentator, and freelance columnist contributing to USA TODAYFox NewsFirst ThingsThe AtlanticCNN, and The American Spectator.  In addition to being a frequent radio and television guest, he is also the author of The Grace  Effect and The Gospel Coalition Arts and Culture Book of the Year, The Faith of Christopher Hitchens. You can subscribe to his blog at refined-badger-e0ceb8.instawp.xyz.

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