Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum – Cambodia

2011 -I am haunted by this place. I wish I had never gone there. and I wake up sometimes in the night and think of some of the tragic things that I saw and learned here. The trauma of that knowing is still with me.

It was once a high school in the center of the city. This site became the main torture and interrogation center for the Khmer Rouge and was known as  S-21 Prison. From 1976 to 1979, an estimated 20,000 people were imprisoned at Tuol Sleng. The exact numbers are unknown. Prisoners were shackled with chains or iron bars and were subjected to a harsh regime with many rules.

The museum opened in 1980 after the fall of the Khmer rouge regime. We see the torture rooms, photos and biographies of some of the prisoners and the cells.

For some horrific reason the Khmer Rouge deemed it was necessary to photograph each victim before they were killed. Their faces line the walls in the museum and we visualize the shameful, and sad time of the past.


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  2. That is so heartbreaking and sad, no wonder you are haunted by this place. I was in high school at that time and I remember hearing about it but not the extent, nor the details. How can people be so cruel to other people?

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  3. I know we should not forget about what happened to all these people (and that this is a way of portraying history) … but I just cannot go to places like this. I have done it once and was sick for days afterwards. But I do understand that the stories must be told …

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  4. I’ve not heard of the museum, but have heard of the atrocities there. Reminds me of when we were in Germany, and visited the memorial/museum at Dachau. Horrible things at that concentration camp. I don’t know how anyone can deny the Holocaust happened. For me, I could feel the awful sadness and depression there. It seemed haunted with the souls of the dead.

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    1. Yes..it was so horrendous seeing the concentration camp in Germany. Makes do sad it places all over the world. But there is another war going on with the Russians attacking Ukraine and so many civilians are being killed πŸ˜’

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  5. Clicking the star to like the post doesn’t accurately convey my thoughts on the genocide. It’s more in honor of those who suffered and died here. Your memory and compassion honors them, Anita.

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  6. It reminds me a bit of the deportation camps from WWII, of which we also have a number of examples here in Belgium. Rather, they were transition camps where the Jews were taken for deportation.

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  7. I am sorry that you are haunted by this, Anita. I can see why, how horrid and evil these people were! And we were so young in those years, I was in Junior High and High School during those years but we really didn’t know much about it as I recall. 😭

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