A good way to grasp the breadth of communism’s evils is to understand the depth of the suffering in the lives of its individual victims.
Nov 9, 2017 By Ryan Fazio
On February 9, 1940, seven-year-old Witold Rybicki and his family awoke in the middle of the night to banging on the door of their home in Lida, Poland (modern Belarus). Outside was an officer of the Soviet secret police, then called the NKVD, who gave his father orders: “Do not run away. Your house is surrounded by soldiers. You have an hour to pack your personal belongings. Do not worry about bringing much. Everything you need will be at your destination.”
The Rybickis were never informed of charges against them, evidence of wrongdoing, a sentence, or their destination. Witold, his parents, and four of his siblings were taken from their home to a train station, where they were loaded into a cattle car about 15 meters long by five meters wide along with about 40 other people. The car was completely bare otherwise, with just a hole in the middle of the floor for a toilet.
For nearly a month, the train traversed Eastern Europe and Russia toward Siberia, not allowing anyone outside of the cramped, filthy cars except for a short period on Saturdays. Every morning, soldiers delivered four gallons of water and one of soup for the entire car of 40 people.
The prisoners finally disembarked in a city called Tomsk. From there, they walked two days through the Siberian taiga (forest) in the dead of winter to a set of barracks with small, barren rooms built specifically for Poles. This was part of the Soviet gulag system, a chain of forced-labor camps and settlements where tens of millions of prisoners were punished and “reeducated” by the state through grueling physical labor in harsh conditions.
This account of life under Soviet rule is not an extreme outlier, but indicative of how the communist regime treated its own people. This week marks 100 years since the revolution that gave rise to communism in Russia and, subsequently, Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Avowedly Marxist regimes killed anywhere from 65 to 100 million people, a total so high that it is impossible for the human mind to conceptualize.
So goes the apocryphal Joseph Stalin quote, “One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.” A good way to grasp the breadth of communism’s evils is to understand the depth of the suffering in the lives of its individual victims. That’s why the stories of the Rybickis and others are apropos.
The Rybickis Are Just a Few Out of Millions
The Rybickis’ plight is eerily similar to the famed accounts catalogued by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in “The Gulag Archipelago.” From the psychologically poignant nighttime arrest without explanation, to the inhumane transport by cattle car, to hard labor under-clothed in the bitter cold, to the starvation, to the omnipresent stench of death, to the totalizing oppression even outside of the gulags, the parallels between Witold’s story and other victims’ are striking.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939 and partitioned the country in two. The USSR deported to Siberia about one and a half million of the 13 to 14 million Poles in the eastern half of the country. Hundreds of thousands of them died or were executed in the process. Over decades, millions of kulaks, Cossacks, Ukrainians, Kazakhs, Soviet veterans, and Orthodox Christians, among others, suffered similar fates. The USSR killed 20 to 30 million of its own people in total.
Those who were considered educated, middle class, overtly religious, or had served in the military were the primary targets, according to Witold, because they were broadly viewed as threats to the communist regime. His father, Stanislaw, was a Polish veteran who owned a small farm, so off to the gulag system he and his family went.
A few months later, the Rybickis were moved even farther east, by train to the last city on the tracks, then by foot to another nondescript set of barracks in the middle of the Siberian taiga. It was a new labor settlement, where they would stay for three years.
In the Rybickis’ settlement, able-bodied prisoners above the age of 12 worked felling trees, preparing lumber, and collecting sap in weather that would sometimes fall to 50 below zero degrees Celsius. The laboring prisoners were given a ration of 400g of bread daily, roughly 1,200 calories, while non-working prisoners were given 200g, a measly 600 calories. Sometimes food shipments would get delayed to the camps, and prisoners like the Rybickis would go days without eating.
“We were practically starving to death,” Witold recalls. Some prisoners had “swollen, huge bellies” from hunger. Prisoners were “dying like flies all around” from hunger, disease, or being worked to death. There was a makeshift cemetery by the settlement where “hundreds and hundreds were buried.”
Your Choice: Death By Enlistment Or In Prison
Witold’s sister, Irena, who was 14 when the Soviets deported their family, eventually refused to work because she didn’t even have shoes to wear. She was sentenced to three months in a prison in Novosibirsk where she survived by the graces of a better-situated, older male prisoner.
Upon Irena’s return, she was badly shaken, exclaiming she “had enough of Russia, communism, and Siberia, and was running away,” which she did. A year later, her father discovered that authorities had captured her trying to cross into Iran and sentenced her to seven years in prison. Because the USSR was in the throes of a brutal war with Nazi Germany, it gave prisoners like her a choice to risk likely death on the front lines of the eastern front or in a harsh, small, cold prison cell. By great fortune, she survived the war, fled to the West at the end, and got documentation to emigrate to the United States.
Later, Witold’s father also went to war in service of the Soviet Union under a program that got his family moved to a collective farm with slightly better living standards than the settlement, in addition to a promise of repatriation to Poland after the war.
Witold said it was the only promise Stalin ever kept. In April 1946, almost a year after the war in Europe ended, the Rybickis were permitted to move back to Poland because of their father’s service. By some act of God, every member of their family survived the war and the Gulag system. For millions of other Soviet citizens fighting the war and millions more repressed by their own government, such was not the case.
You Must Never Forget Our Stories
In 1966, Witold was able to escape communism to the United States, by another stroke of luck, and reconnected with his sister. My step-grandfather is 85 now and lives with his wife in Illinois, where he is still a practicing anesthesiologist. He recalls the details of his family’s repression nearly 80 years ago better than I can recall what I did eight days ago. It would behoove our society, and the entire world, to better remember the evils of communism 100 years since.
Stories like the Rybickis’ sometimes don’t resonate with Western audiences because the material depravation foisted upon them is unimaginable to us. As Solzhenitsyn wrote, “[It’s impossible] for Western authors…to describe the perturbation of a human soul placed in a cell filled to twenty times its capacity and with no latrine bucket, where prisoners are taken out to the toilet only once a day.”
Solzhenitsyn’s stories about NVKD officers coercing confessions from innocent prisoners by crushing their testicles underneath the officer’s jackboot are ghastly to even try imagining. So too the mass executions carried out by binding, gagging, and burying prisoners alive, because it was more efficient than shooting them first. However, it is difficult to fully comprehend for Westerners who have not experienced immense and continuous physical pain. Thus, it is also worth considering the damage done to the human soul beyond the gulags.
“The USSR was one big camp,” cites Solzhenitsyn of one of its victims. Totalitarian repression in the USSR was not consigned to the war years or the gulags or the Stalin years. It lasted straight through from 1917 to 1991. Back in Poland in the early 1950s, a classmate of Witold’s who started a quasi-patriotic club at their high school was accused of spying against the government and sentenced to five years in prison. He was never the same after his release and scared of every conversation thereafter.
“Whatever was spoken,” Witold recalls, “was spoken in secret, because there were even situations when so-called friends would report you to police and…even if you didn’t say it…you were arrested.” Solzhenitsyn wrote that “in conflicts between people in freedom, denunciations [to the authorities] were the superweapon….and it always worked.” They were used for romantic gain, material gain, and anything else you can imagine.
When Government Is Supreme Above All
Try to imagine how badly this repression decimates civil society. Under communism, nothing was private, so one family member could be turned against another because no loyalty mattered except that to the proletarian class represented by the state. In East Germany, a full third of the population were informants to their secret police, the Stasi. Trust no one.
Marxism considers economic relationships to be the “base” of society, upon which all other institutions are based for the sake of reinforcement. That includes family, religion, culture, and art, among others. Thus, communists viewed loyalty to civil society institutions associated with the old capitalist order with great distrust and sought to break them. They tried to turn families against each other, “sought the root destruction of religion in the country,” turned the truth on its head, and attempted to stamp out any sense of individuality in its citizens.
One hundred years later, there are still some efforts to whitewash the terrible legacy of communism, and reflexive repulsion toward communism has not been engrained in Western culture like that toward fascism. The New York Times published 39 articles on the “Red Century” this year, anesthetizing its readers towards communism. It mentions the gulag system in only two of those articles, and simply as asides. One in five social science professors identify as Marxists, and they have foot soldiers in the violent “Antifa” movement. Socialism has become more popular than capitalism among Democrats and young Americans.
The far-left insists it is a pointless exercise to remember historical aberrations perpetrated by Lenin, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, the Kims, the Castros, and so on. None of it was “true communism,” anyway. But all the crimes perpetrated by dozens of communist regimes in dozens of countries over 100 years that touched more than a billion people suggest a pattern. Karl Marx was a false prophet, and the proof is in the tens of millions killed by those who espoused his ideology. Communism was murderous in practice because it was murderous in theory.
Murderous Outcomes from a Murderous Theory
Marxism was predicated on the idea that “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle.” It views society as a zero-sum war between different groups where the individual plays little or no part. Under capitalism, all property was theft with profits derived from the “surplus value” of the worker. All other institutions of society, the “superstructure,” simply existed to trick the proletariat into accepting their subjugated status.
The solution Marx proposed was a violent revolution leading to a “dictatorship of the proletariat” that would abolish private property and the ancillary institutions of the bourgeois order and, eventually, gracefully fade into a stateless, classless utopia. This entire progression of things was not just considered an ideal, but an inevitable fact, according to scientific socialism.
But it turned out that people do not relinquish their hard-earned property, nation, culture, beliefs, family, and God easily. By clinging to these things, people revealed themselves as class enemies of the proletariat and had to be eliminated.
Martin Latsis, the head of the Ukrainian secret police, wrote in a communist newspaper in 1918, “We are not fighting against single individuals. We are exterminating the bourgeoisie as a class.” Communism is truly the ultimate collectivist ideology. Your membership and devotion to class, so to speak, determines your worth. In this way, communist ideology sets the predicate to discard individuals en masse for the sake of the collective.
Anti-Communism Is a Moral Imperative
Solzhenitsyn deservedly won the Nobel Prize in literature for his contribution to humanity and helped delegitimize communism in the eyes of many who had also previously embraced or condoned it. In its place, he rightfully endorsed what the West had been built upon over millennia: A morality that recognizes the fallen nature of each individual, guards against his or her worst elements, and grants the ability of that individual to seek his or her own salvation.
A system that guards the sovereignty of individuals can also foster the best within them. Unprompted, Withold expresses a similar lesson from his time under Soviet oppression: “I am so happy being here in the United States. People do not realize what they have here. It’s freedom. How many other countries have this freedom? You can count them on a few hands…Hopefully we can stay that way, [because] we have irresponsible people, even amongst ourselves.”
Do you still think you are free?
How Free Are You?
Nov 12, 2017 By Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh
What happens if you live off-grid?
If you live independent of utilities, water, and sewer, and provide your own energy through solar panels, have your own sewer system, and use rainwater, you may run into problems with your local government. Robin Speroni of Cape Coral, Florida, was sued by local officials that her off-grid home was illegal, citing the International Property Maintenance Code. She was found guilty of not being hooked to the water supply.
“Speroni is still being hassled by the municipality of Cape Coral for not having a connection to city water or property sewage. This is in spite of the fact that the city capped her sewers themselves.”
What happens if you don’t send your kids to public school?
It is certainly against the law not to send your children to school and charges vary from state to state. You may lose public assistance such as food stamps. According to the U.S. Department of Education in some states you may have to go to jail. If you home-school, you have to follow laws specifically designed for home-schoolers.
What happens if you want to worship in a church that is not sanctioned as a church but deemed a cult?
To answer this question you must study both sides of what happened to the people at Ruby Ridge and Waco. Here is a link for the liberal version of the fiery events that resulted in the deaths of many people, especially innocent children.
What happens if you don’t have a driver’s license?
Driving without a license is considered a crime in all 50 states. You have a right to travel but you cannot operate a vehicle without a license. If you are an illegal alien, the law is much laxer, as the law breaker will get a slap on the wrist and will be released back into the streets to repeat his/her behavior.
What happens if you jay walk?
Jaywalking is an infraction that requires in some states a fine but a misdemeanor with a court appearance in other states. Penalties vary by state and by municipalities. Fines range from $1 to $1,000.
What happens if you refuse to have your child vaccinated?
In most states, vaccines are required for your child to enter day care, schools, and universities. Laws vary from state to state.
What happens if you refuse to be molested by the TSA in an airport?
It is obvious that you cannot fly and you will be promptly escorted out of the airport by TSA agents. If you are belligerent and vocal in your refusal, you will be arrested in most states.
What happens if you disagree politically with a group?
You will be shunned, may lose your job, you will become a pariah, you will be tracked and possibly beaten by the opposition, your home and property, including your car, will be vandalized, and you will be forbidden from expressing your divergent opinion on an American campus. Those opposing you will resort to violence and fascistic means in order to prevent you from being on their campus to express your opinion guaranteed by our Constitution because your opinion hurts the feelings of campus snowflakes and they will label your views as “hate speech,” in essence cutting off your freedom of speech.
What happens if you go to college and dare to express your conservative or divergent opinions from those of the teachers and the majority of snowflakes?
Your teachers will prevent you from speaking in class, you will be ridiculed, marginalized, and possibly given a lower grade in class than you actually earned. You will be relegated to a designated corner on campus where you might be able to express your opinion without being physically assaulted and verbally insulted.
What happens if you protect your property and shoot an intruder?
It depends on the state. The intruders have been known to hire eager attorneys who successfully prosecuted those protecting their homes, resulting in the loss of their homes and land which is awarded to the intruder and his family and even jail time for those who engaged in self-defense.
What happens if illegal aliens try to steal from you and you shoot them?
The most recent case in Kansas City, Missouri, involves David Jungerman, a business owner who shot a home intruder in the leg. A 39-year old attorney, Tom Pickert, who represented the home invader and won millions of dollars in a civil lawsuit against Jungerman, was shot and killed in his front yard.
What happens if you express your opinion that illegal immigration is illegal and should be stopped by building a wall?
At best you are considered a conspiracy theorist nut-job and heartless who does not understand that America was built by such illegal immigrants; at worst you are a xenophobe and racist. Irrational globalists will hide the fact that America was built by LEGAL immigrants who were vetted for their health in quarantine at Ellis Island and, who did not come to America for the welfare system because the welfare system did not exist at the time.
What happens if you criticize the theocracy of Islam, Sharia Law, and genital mutilation?
You will be publicly humiliated, accused of Islamo-phobia, and marginalized, your home and property vandalized, threatened with lawsuits, become a potential victim of a fatwa, and possibly fired from your job.
What happens if you try to home-school your children in certain states?
You must jump through incredible hoops in order to be allowed to home-school your child.
What happens if you object to your children being subjected to the Islamic curriculum indoctrination of Common Core?
You are ignored, you are banned from any school property or meetings, you are told that it is required by the Common Core Curricula, and security will be called to prevent you from entering the school building. You will not be allowed to attend or speak at public school board meetings. The principal and the teacher(s) in question will not answer your calls or letters.
What happens if you object, as a parent, to the teaching of your children in kindergarten and elementary schools about sexual perversions?
Your opinions and wishes will be overridden by the school, the principal, and the teacher. The curriculum will be taught as planned with or without your knowledge.
What happens if you object to mentally-ill grown men or boys, pretending they are women, use the restrooms and lockers that your little girls use?
You will be labeled a homophobe who does not respect their freedom of expressing who they are inside their heads. The fact that your child is in danger of molestation and rape does not matter. They have rights that supersede your rights or your children’s rights.
What happens if you object to the Common Core curricula and do not wish that your Christian children be indoctrinated into the Five Pillars of Islam?
Your child will still be made to wear hijab in order to feel what a Muslim feels like and they will attend a mosque despite your protests. They will be made to recite by heart the Five Pillars of Islam, and to pray in the mosque, thus indoctrinating them into Islam.
What happens if you refuse to bake a cake for a gay couple because of your religious beliefs?
You will pay huge fines, lose your business, your savings, and possibly serve time in jail for protecting your religious beliefs.
What happens if you refuse to pay taxes?
You will pay confiscatory fines, have property seized, and possibly go to jail.
What happens if you protest the takeover of your property via eminent domain or the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) shows up with agents to confiscate your land that has been in your family for generations?
You will lose your land and home. Cliven Bundy protected his ranch and grazing rights. Following a 21-year legal dispute between the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Cliven Bundy, for allegedly “failing to pay over $1 million in withheld grazing fees for Bundy’s use of federally owned land adjacent to Bundy’s ranch in southeastern Nevada,” an armed confrontation between supporters of the cattle rancher and law enforcement ensued in 2014. Levoy Finicum was shot and killed in another standoff in Oregon in 2016.
What happens if you try to collect rain water or snowmelt on your property?
Gary Harrington from Oregon served 30-days in jail for nine misdemeanors and paid a fine of $1,500 for diverting snow runoff and rainwater into three reservoirs on his property, thus violating “an antiquated law governing personal water use.”
What happens if you don’t pay HOA fees?
HOA will take you to court and eventually may foreclose on your home and sell it in order to pay overdue fees, depending on the state in which you reside. HOAs retain attorneys for such offenders.
What happens if you try to fly the American flag and Muslim or hard-core liberal neighbors who hate America object?
You will be ordered to take it down, fined, and possibly told to move if you are renting the property. Crosses have been removed from churches and monuments in order to appease Muslims and atheists. Statues have been torn down to appease the racist BLM who were offended by the alleged racist intent of the monument. Large crosses that have been part of a landscape for decades, honoring the fallen or our Christianity, have been ordered removed by the courts in order to satisfy atheists.
What happens if your favorite NFL team players kneel during the National Anthem for the alleged “social injustices” and “deliberate police racism” against blacks, while insulting the veterans present?
The middle class white men will stop buying tickets and attending NFL games, buying jerseys and other football memorabilia, giving the owners and the overpaid players a clear message that their faux political antics do not have a place on a stadium where they are paid to entertain the public with a game, not give the public their two cents of misinformed opinions. Americans still have the power of the purse. You have the freedom to protest in a very public venue but expect consequences of your insulting behavior.
What happens when Hollywood bash conservatives? What happens when slutty starlets pretend to be paragons of virtue, lecturing the rest of us, and claim to be the ultimate source of knowledge because they played a role in a movie?
Americans still have the power to stop buying tickets to their movies and concerts. Boycotts work quite nicely as many actors learned this summer when their movies tanked at the box office. You may fancy yourselves political gurus and know-it-all, but, at the end of the day, you are just script memorizers who act in a movie. You dropped out of high school because you did not have academic ability; you had talent to act in a movie and to impersonate a certain character.
What happens when academia and public schools turn your children into hard-core socialists/fascists who hate their country while you think they are getting an education?
The results are evident in the millennial generation joining ANTIFA, an organization run by communist anarchists who employ fascistic violence to protest those whose divergent opinions they want to squash yet they call them fascists and their organization anti-fascism when in reality they are the violent fascists.
The results are also evident in the brainwashing of several lost generations of American voters who believe that the communist Democrats are the “real” Americans, U.S. should be socialist/communist, and everything that made this country the success that is today must be destroyed. They spit, defecate on, and burn the American flag, demand the abolition of the National Anthem, of the Star-Spangled Banner, the replacing of the Constitution with their own Marxist version, and the Bill of Rights with the Socialist Bill of Rights.
What happens if you try to plant a bush or cut down a tree next to a rain puddle and environmental NGOs show up with paperwork telling you that you are not allowed to do so?
Martha Boneta can tell you volumes about her farm and the NGO’s interdictions that plagued her ownership rights in the rolling, gentrified hills of northern Virginia.
Obama has promised that, if Obamacare was passed, you can keep your doctor and the insurance premiums would go down.
How many of you were actually able to keep your doctors and how many were unable to see doctors and specialists because they no longer accept Medicare patients due to low and slow reimbursement rates? Why would that be? Because the Obama administration robbed billions from Medicare in order to fund his socialized medicine jewel, Obamacare. And millions of Americans who previously had other forms of affordable medical insurance now cannot afford the high premiums and deductibles driven by Obamacare’s regulations. In essence, Obamacare insurance and regulations have destroyed middle class Americans’ formerly stellar medical care and sky-rocketed their previously affordable insurance premiums.
As an American, can you cross the border without a passport?
International banks and the Federal Reserve which is neither federal nor a reserve control your money supply, interest rates, and gold reserves.
And there are many other freedoms that you think you still have but they are highly restricted or no longer exist except in theory.
Do you still think you are free?