A pretty sad day by all accounts visiting the two main sites of Phnom Penh, S-21 and the Killing Fields. Many of the photos below are pretty harrowing and not for the squeamish, but these are real events and we have to show the bad as well as the good.
In 1975 Tuol Svay Prey High School was taken over by Pol Pot’s security forces and turned into a prison known as Security Prison 21 (S-21). S-21 was Angkar’s premier security institution, specifically designed for the interrogation and extermination of anti-Angkar elements.
Between the years of 1975 and 1978 more than 17,000 people held at S-21 were taken to the extermination camp Choeunk Ek, also known as the killing fields (next post). When the Vietnamese army liberated Phnom Penh in 79’ there were only 7 prisoners alive at S-21, all of whom had used their skills such as painting or photography to stay alive. Several foreigners from Australia, France, and the USA were also held here until being murdered.
Like the Nazi’s, the KR were meticulous with their records, every prisoner was photographed and a small biography written accounting their life up to their execution, most of which is on display. The photos below give you a snapshot of the harrowing ordeal these people went through.