Enjoy this excerpt from the book In God's Underground available here at our bookstore.
The most startling news I gleaned from the cells at Secret Police headquarters was that Stalin had been denounced as a murderer and tyrant by his successor, Kkrushchev. The first reports of how Beria and six of his top men were executed on Christmas Eve, 1953—along with thousands of lesser Soviet secret agents—had just been published, and the process of discrediting Stalin had begun in Romania. Gheorghiu-Dej, the new Romanian dictator, was introducing a more popular policy. Dej liked to live well himself, and his temperament, at least, was an improvement on that of the Pauker circle.
The news I took back to Jilava threw the cell into uproar. Everyone was delighted that Stalin had been pushed from his pedestal. They hoped it would hasten their own release.
But Popescu said, “I know the Party. They’ll denounce the robber—and they won’t repay the robbed.”
“Anyway, Stalin’s finished,” another prisoner said.
“May he burn in hell!” shouted a second.
Amid laughter and cheers, two prisoners waltzed round together, screaming obscene remarks about “Uncle Joe.” Only the guards were silent. Stalin’s denunciation left their future unsettled.
Popescu called to me, “You’re not looking so happy, Pastor!”
I said, “I can’t take pleasure in explosions of hatred toward anyone. We do not know Stalin’s fate. He may have been saved at the last hour, like the thief on the cross.”
“What! After all the crimes Stalin committed?” asked someone.
“Who knows if Stalin had not wept over his sins?” I said. “All who repent, no matter how grievous their sins, can be forgiven. A maniac like Hitler who burns in ovens millions of harmless people he has never met; a mass-murderer like Stalin who kills thousands of his own comrades—even such men can find forgiveness in Christ.”
This is an excerpt of In God’s Underground (page 183–184).