Laszlo Tokes: The Hungarian Pastor who defied the Communists
Black-Robe Regiment: One man’s defiance brought down a dictator
In 1989 a lone Hungarian minister spoke out against the communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. He was told to shut up or be killed. Ignoring this order, he continued to speak out against the systematic imprisonment, torture, destruction of entire towns with bulldozers, and the Securitate (secret police). At first they cut off his water and power to his church apartment. Then armed men with knives broke in and he had to fight them off with help from his friends. When enough people heard about the lone preacher fighting off the Communist Dictator, people started to surround his building by the thousands. Two days later, the communists fired on the crowd killing scores. This started a chain reaction leading to the end of Ceausescu’s 24 year reign of terror as the Romanian Revolution heralded the end of communism in Romania in 1989. Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife were summarily executed on 22 December, 1989 by firing squad. Their list of people tortured, killed, and displaced was finally given justice. Laszlo was awarded the Four Freedoms Award for freedom of worship, Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom, and the Star of Romania. He still lives in Romanian today and has served as a member of European Parliament from 2007-2019.
Freedom is not free. Stand up. Valor is in you. Set it free.