Rep. Ben Toma

After communists took power in Romania, Ben Toma’s family land was confiscated by the regime and the secret police began surveilling their daily lives because of their religious faith.

Growing up under the threat of the oppressive regime, the Toma home was routinely searched by the Securitate. Fearing for the safety of their children because of their beliefs, Toma’s parents escaped communism in 1986 — it would be a year before Ben and his three siblings would join them in the United States.

Today, Rep. Ben Toma is the Majority Leader in the Arizona House of Representatives. His experience under the Ceaușescu regime taught him the importance of freedom and the tragic price of communism.

VOC was honored to help produce Rep. Ben Toma’s witness story in partnership with the University of Arizona’s Center for the Philosophy of Freedom as part of a three-film series for the Center’s Oral History Collection. A tremendous resource for students and teachers, this project was made possible by the passage of HB 2008, which mandates that Arizona social studies high school graduation requirements “must include a comparative discussion of political ideologies, such as communism and totalitarianism, that conflict with the principles of freedom and democracy essential to the founding principles of the United States.”