Wurmbrand Archive #4
I Was the Richest There
By Sabina Wurmbrand
When the Communists came to power in Romania, they put in prison many hundreds, and afterwards thousands, of women. To describe [to] you how it was would not be possible. There are no human words to describe what it means to be in a Communist prison being a woman. The shame that we endured, the hardship, the hunger – often women would arise during the night crying, ‘I’m hungry, I’m hungry.’ It would not help, but the hunger was such that we could not bear it, and women could not sleep because of the hunger.
Now, there we were Christians and many higher rank women from the high society, political prisoners. One of our prisoners told us one day. (We were coming back from the field work where we worked the whole day during summer and winter. And some of the prisoners weeping, crying said, ‘We are like animals, they made from us just…we are like beasts.’) And one of the ladies told us,
‘I was in another prison together with ten other ladies, professors and wives of the leading political personalities of our country. All together we tried to find something to do during the day. Because we had nothing, nothing. If somebody can imagine what it means. We could not wash ourselves. We could not comb ourselves. We did not have anything to do. The whole day we sat there without anything to do – no book, no paper no pencil, anything. Only with our thoughts about our children somewhere on the street, about our husbands which we could not know what they were doing and if they were still alive. We tried to remember the books which we have read. We tried to speak about literature, about politics. But all was so sad, and all was so void. It was like death.’
One day the door opened, a girl, perhaps of sixteen, was pushed in – a new prisoner. She was a gypsy girl. (We have many gypsies in Romania, and they are very despised, perhaps the most despised in the country.) All the ladies, high rank ladies, did not look very much to her but at a certain moment she, the girl, began to sing. She was a Christian and sang a Christian hymn. At once the whole atmosphere changed. And when the girl afterwards sang a song, the 104th [Psalm], it starts with, ‘Bless my soul, God…’, all the other prisoners listened but this lady took the words in her heart and became a Christian.
She said, ‘At once I felt that God can be mine, and I His. And as we were so poor, at once I became rich. God and His whole universe came in my heart. My mind already had what to sing. I was the richest there. I could see heaven. I could see a Saviour praying for me. Being enriched so, I could enrich all the others. Nobody can make out of us animals and beasts. There is a Saviour who can make from us children of God, giving us the best He has and making us the richest.’