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* Sabina Wurmbrand; Evangelist Fought Religious Persecution

Obituaries

August 19, 2000

Sabina Wurmbrand, 87, an evangelist who worked to aid persecuted Christians worldwide. Born Sabina Oster into a family of Orthodox Jews living in what was the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Wurmbrand was educated at the Sorbonne. After completing language studies in Paris, she moved to Bucharest, where she married Richard Wurmbrand in 1936. The couple were introduced to Christianity as newlyweds and soon after converted to Anglicanism. Richard Wurmbrand became an ordained minister, and the couple began doing missionary work in Romania. During World War II, Sabina's parents, two brothers and sister were killed in Nazi concentration camps. Active in the Romanian underground throughout the war, she helped smuggle Jewish children out of Romanian ghettos and preached daily in bomb shelters. After the Communists took control of Romania in 1947, the couple were arrested frequently for their activities. Sabina Wurmbrand spent three years in a forced labor camp and years after that under house arrest. Her husband was held for 14 years until a Norwegian Lutheran church helped buy the couple's release in the early 1960s. After resettling in America, they founded the Voice of the Martyrs, an organization that tracks persecution of Christians around the world and distributes Bibles and other literature. She wrote her autobiography, "The Pastor's Wife," in 1975. On Saturday of liver cancer in a hospital in Tijuana.

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