“What Communists Did To My Family In The Soviet Gulags
“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. 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.”
“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.
“His father, Stanislaw, was a Polish veteran who owned a small farm, so off to the gulag system he and his family went.
“It would behoove our society, and the entire world, to better remember the evils of communism 100 years since.
“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.
“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.”
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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
“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.”