Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

Ordinary high school tha became the brutal S-21 Prison
After seeing what was done at the Choeung Ek killing fields by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge we decided we must see the Genocide Museum at Tuol Sleng.

The Gallows where people were tortured
The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is in a Phnom Penh suburb. The site is at a former high school which was used as the notorious Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Khmer Rouge from its rise to power in 1975 to its fall in 1979. S-21 was only one of at least 150 execution centers in Cambodia and as many as 20,000 prisoners were killed.
Like the Nazis, the Khmer Rouge were meticulous in keeping records of their murders. Each prisoner that passed through S-21 was photographed. The museum displays include room after room in which such photographs of men, women and children cover the walls from floor to ceiling; virtually all the people pictured were later killed. Several foreigners from Australia, France and the USA were held here before being murdered. Their documents are on display. Brutal.

Courtyard memorial for the last 14 murders
When Phnom Penh was liberated by the Vietnamese army in early 1979, they found only seven prisoners alive at S-21. Fourteen others had been tortured to death as Vietnamese forces were closing in on the city. Photographs of their decomposing corpses were found. Their graves are nearby in the courtyard.

A row of cells in the building
A visit to Tuol Sleng is an extremely depressing experience. There is something about the ordinariness of the place that make it even more horrific; the suburban setting, the plain school buildings, rusted beds, instruments of torture and the brutal black-and-white portraits show images of humanity at its worst.

It’s very important to see the Tuol Sleng Museum. The Genocide Museum serves as a testament to the crimes of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. 

The museum's entrance is on the western side of 113 St just north of 350 St, and it is open daily from 7 to 11.30 am and from 2 to 5.30 pm; entry is $2 USD.

Highly Recommended! 

No comments:

Post a Comment