Faithful Hero: Richard & Sabina Wurmbrand, from prisoner to Ambassador

Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand became founders of the Voice of the Martyrs.

Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand

Richard Wurmbrand was born on March 24, 1909 in Bucharest, Romania. His father died when he was nine and the family returning home from Istanbul, where they had lived a short time. As an adolescent, he was sent to study Marxism in Moscow, became a Comintern {Communist International} and arrested several times.

His wife, was born as Sabina Oster on July 10, 1913 ” in Czernowitz, a city in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which became a part of Romania after WWI and part of the Ukraine after WWII.”

She was born into a Jewish family and lived in a town that was a cultural hub for the Jewish faith. Upon graduating high school, she studied languages at the Sorbonne in Paris.

She would lose both parents and three siblings in the horrors of the Holocaust.

 Sabina Wurmbrand with their son, Michael

In 1936, Richard and Sabina met and were married. While vacationing in the mountains of Romania that year, they converted to the Christian faith and joined the Anglican Mission Church upon returning home.

The couple would have one child, a son, Mihai.

When the government attempted to control the churches, Richard began an underground ministry to his people.

Richard was arrested on February 29, 1948 and spent three years in solitary confinement and eight and a half years imprisoned. He communicated with other inmates by morse code.

Richard “later recounted that he maintained his sanity by sleeping during the day, staying

Richard Wurmbrand

awake at night, and exercising his mind and soul by composing and then delivering a sermon each night. Due to his extraordinary memory, he was able to recall more than 350 of those, a selection of which he included in his book With God in Solitary Confinement, which was first published in 1969. ”

Sabina was arrested in 1950 and spent three years in prison, forced to hard labor. However, she still refused to divorce her husband, which would make it difficult for her to find work over the years.

He was released from prison in 1956, but arrested again in 1959 and sentenced to 25 years. He was beaten and tortured while imprisoned.

Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand

Both times he was imprisoned, Sabina was told he had died, but she never believed the reports {which were untrue}.

In 1964, Richard’s release was negotiated by the Norwegian Mission to the Jews and the Hebrew Christian Alliance for approximately $10,000 {about 5x the average price for a prisoner}. The underground church convinced him to leave and become a voice for the persecuted church. The family was able to find refuge in Norway.

Richard and Sabina devoted the remainder of their lives to this effort, despite warnings and death threats.

In May 1966, he testified before the U.S. Senate’s Internal Security Subcommittee, where he revealed his scars and told his experience of being tortured. The TV camera were present and this brought him to public attention.

Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand

In April 1967, the Wurmbrand’s formed Jesus to the Communist World (later renamed The Voice of the Martyrs). The organization strives to help persecuted believers around the world and became based in California.

The couple would travel around the world establishing a network of offices to provide relief for imprisoned Christians and spreading their message. His message has been, “Hate the evil systems, but love your persecutors. Love their souls, and try to win them for Christ.”

Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand

In 1990, the Wurmbrand’s returned to Romania for the first time in 25 years. They even opened a Voice of the Martyrs printing facility in bookstore in Bucharest. While there, they visited Richard’s former prison cell, “which was used as a repository for their books.”

Richard Wurmbrand wrote eighteen books in English, including Tortured for Christ. His books have been translated into more than 70 languages.

Sabina wrote her own book, The Pastor’s Wife.

Sabina Wurmbrand died on August 11, 2000 at the age of 87, from cancer. Six months later, Richard died on February 17, 2001, at the age of 91.

Their efforts are on-going and live on through their organization, helping those who are persecuted even today. To learn more visit

Richard & Sabina Wurmbrand suffered greatly before founding Voice of the Martyrs #faithfulheroes #heroesofthefaith Share on X

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