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.

Over 8000 skulls are visible behind the clear glass panels. of the Memorial Stupa, which was erected in 1988. The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek are 15 km from Central Phnom Penh


  1. I have been there, they are sad places. Tuol Sleng and Choeung Ek are disasters for humanity. And yet the Khmer leaders studied in Paris, knew the possibilities of freedom, but decided to deprive their people of it.

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  2. Such places are evidence of unseen dark forces at work through humans who ‘justify’ atrocities and they hold an energetic residue that both sensitive, compassionate people and those with ‘hard shells’ absorb in their personal energy fields. It’s more than a simple mental ‘haunting’. I’m asking the angels of heaven to take that energy and transform it back to love’s pure light and to guide the dead back home to God. I’m thanking God and the angels of heaven now. May they and you be at peace. Release that energy now. 💖🙏

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  3. I know how you feel we also visited our of respect really. Truly horrific and we learnt from our taxi driver that they do not teach about this in schools, which astounded me. The Cambodian people are some of the friendliest in the world. Phnom Penh is not a place I would ever visit again though.

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  4. We purposely didn’t visit. At times I’ve felt guilty for not going, but hearing how it has affected you makes me glad I didn’t see it in person. It’s important to have these sites to remember but not to haunt the visitor. Maggie

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  5. What a shame for a country to lose all those young men and women to such violence. If I ever get the chance, I won’t go there. I agree it would make me feel miserable and haunted too.

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  6. Not a place I would want or choose to visit. But perhaps you were meant to travel and visit such places and then post them to remind others of these horrible events. Most likely still going on some place somewhere. 😦
    I enjoy your travel pictures of beautiful places and appreciate your sharing the ugliness too.

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