Toul Sleng Genocide Museum Cambodia

The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (Khmer: សារមន្ទីរឧក្រិដ្ឋកម្មប្រល័យពូជសាសន៍ទួលស្លែង) is a museum in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, chronicling the Cambodian genocide. The site is a former high school which was used as the notorious Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Khmer Rouge regime from its rise to power in 1975 to its fall in 1979. Tuol Sleng (Khmer [tuəl slaeŋ]) means “Hill of the Poisonous Trees” or “Strychnine Hill”. Tuol Sleng was only one of at least 150 execution centers in the country, and as many as 20,000 prisoners there were later killed.

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Formerly the Chao Ponhea Yat High School, named after a royal ancestor of King Norodom Sihanouk, the five buildings of the complex were converted in August 1975, four months after the Khmer Rouge won the Cambodian Civil War, into a prison and interrogation center. The Khmer Rouge renamed the complex “Security Prison 21” (S-21) and construction began to adapt the prison to the inmates: the buildings were enclosed in electrified barbed wire, the classrooms converted into tiny prison and torture chambers, and all windows were covered with iron bars and barbed wire to prevent escapes.

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Even though the vast majority of the victims were Cambodian, some foreigners, including 488 Vietnamese, 31 Thai, 1 Laotian, 1 Arab, 1 British, 4 French, 2 Americans, 1 New Zealander, 2 Australians, 1 Indonesian, many Indians and Pakistanis were also imprisoned.

Almost all non-Cambodians had left the country by early May 1975, following an overland evacuation of the French Embassy in trucks. The few who remained were seen as a security risk. Though most of the foreign victims were either Vietnamese or Thai, a number of Western prisoners, many picked up at sea by Khmer Rouge patrol boats, also passed through S-21 between April 1976 and December 1978. No foreign prisoners survived captivity in Tuol Sleng.

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Information taken from Wikipedia …. the prison has now become very much a ”tourist attraction” ….

 

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