Warning: This is the first blog in a series of three, translated from the second part of Alexandru Ratiu’s book, The Stolen Church. What you are about to read may be profoundly disturbing and yet too real to be ignored. Reader’s discretion is advised.
This experiment was started by the communists in the name of “liberating the people”, but it was nothing but the slaughter of innocent young people.
“I have a true doctorate /PhD in communist, and I will show you my diploma” stated Reverend Richard Wurmbrand who was freed from a communist prison after 14 years of incarceration. His statement was made before the US Congress. After Wurmbrand said those words, he took off his shirt and showed everyone his scars from years of torture.
The communist re-education “school” offers many such diplomas. When the communists obtain power, they are capable to use any means necessary to create the “Soviet Man”. Communists govern through totalitarianism and therefore, they aim to control the loyalty and personality of each individual.
In 1948 about 1000 students from various universities (Iasi, Bucuresti and Blaj) were arrested and subjected to what’s now known as the Pitesti Experiment.
The Soviets wanted to perfect brainwashing methods – that’s what they attempted to do on the students. The horror they endured was published in a book by D. Bacu, called “Neoamenii” (translated as “Non-humans”, not “Sub-humans” – the communists attempted the complete eradication of one’s humanity).
“Other prisoners transferred from the forced labour camps were telling me about things which led me to believe my suspicions that students, the most ardent freedom fighters, were subjected to something terrible. […] The news came afterwards. They confirmed my darkest fears. This time, I spoke with a student […]. Initially, he didn’t want to say anything, he was terribly scared of anyone. Eventually he told me that at Pitesti took place something horrifying. The students were tortured so much that they became mere machines in the hands of those who administered the torture. They were depersonalised and dehumanised. I asked him who tortured them and the student said that those who were already re-educated”.
Other students told Bacu:
“Stay away from me. I am a student, and this should tell you everything you need to know. Stay away from me and stay away from all students, especially those who are your friends. They can hit you even worse because you never know what darkness hides behind our masks. We are totally different from what we were before, and completely different from what we wanted to be”.
These students, as a result of psychologically fatal wounds, became the graves of their own aspirations, of their own souls.
This brainwashing experiment is similar to those which were performed behind the Iron Curtain. The irony of the hunger for atheism that the communists displayed was that instead of uplifting human dignity, it reduced the human condition below that of the animal.
It was Lenin himself who said that “the more outrageous the lie, the more effective the [brainwashing] method is”. The communists used lies coupled with ideology within their propaganda in order to control the prisoners.
Propaganda is the weapon of psychological war. For the people who resist propaganda, they are subjected to a more terrible punishment: brainwashing. This represents a complete assault on the individual’s personality.
Brainwashing is a method of transforming the human being into an animal, a machine: the essence of the communist humanism.
This all began when the soviets wanted to exploit the science behind the findings of Ivan Pavlov’s research. The Bolsheviks offered Pavlov money in exchange for the results of his studies related to the manipulation of animal behaviour. The prisoners on which these methods were tested were political prisoners, arrested for imagined crimes against the Party. One of the most famous such cases is the trial of cardinal Jozsef Mindzenty.
The soviets planned the Pitesti Experiment between 1949-1951. Its aim: to completely transform the individual’s psychological makeup. The USSR however wasn’t the only place where the communists experimented with such techniques.
In [red] China, brainwashing was considered a social duty and a group process. This vision is closely linked to the mentality prevailing in China.
Catholic priests that escaped communist China explained this in their books: Four Years in the Red Hell (Henry Regnery, 1956) and Communist Methods of Psychology (P. J. Kenedy, 1956). The latter is related to North Korea and its methods used to psychologically annihilate war prisoners. Today, mass-media offers the perfect tools for propaganda and manipulation, across the world.
Continuing from “Non-humans”:
“It was night. From time to time, the moonlight shined through windows, on the faces of the three students. Their expressions were extremely strange. I met with thousands of prisoners from many communist prisons, but I never saw something like this. Besides the pale skin that was common among those who spent years incarcerated, the students displayed profound psychological trauma. Their eyes reflected terror that could only come from unusual events” wrote Bacu.
The motto from Pitesti was: “Destroy them through themselves”.
The communists managed to induce a schizophrenic spiritual state in the students they did the experiment on. The new “self” was in conflict with the old “self” and through this constant tension, the prisoner was tortured.
You will be able to read about the methods used in this brainwashing experiment in the second blog next week.
Categories: The Pitesti Experiment