In 1937, the Romanian Jew Richard Wurmbrand was passing through a little village where an elderly German carpenter was spending his last days. He gave Richard a Bible and urged him to read it. Wurmbrand told the kindly man that as a Jew he saw nothing in it for himself. But the unusual love the German showed him made an impression, and he read with an open mind and spirit.
In reading the New Testament, Wurmbrand saw a different Jesus from the one “demonstrated” to him and other Jews by the Romanian Orthodox and Roman Catholics. He saw Jesus, the Jew, the one who made sense of the portraits in the Hebrew Prophets and filled full the Torah of Moses. Mostly, he saw a Jesus who loved people—including Jews. Eventually, Richard chose to become a Jesus-believing Jew and began to serve him as spiritual leader and pastor in his own town in Romania.
When the Nazis invaded the country, he was imprisoned for two reasons: his outspoken pulpit messages against German cruelty and his being a Jew. When the Russian Communists took over in 1945, his message changed only slightly: now he addressed godless Communist cruelty. He was imprisoned again. In total, he spent 14 years in Nazi and Communist prisons.
Upon release, he finally went to America and began a spiritual mission to help prisoners behind the Iron and Bamboo Curtains. Though Richard Wurmbrand died February 17, 2001, his work continues—now as “The Voice of the Martrys”