On this day in Phnom Penh, Cambodia we visited Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and The Killing Fields. This was a depressing experience but a “must do and see” when in Cambodia. The experience also helps the visitor to better understand the Cambodian people today.

The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum exists on 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. This site was one ofat least 150 execution centers in the Cambodia.

The first photo is of our guide who gave us a very clear understanding of this period in Cambodian history. Note that cell 22 was the cell where Chum Mey was imprisoned. He is one of two still living survivors. His life was spared because of his high level of competence in machine repairing for Pol Pot’s soldiers. He now spends time at the “museum” signing his book for visitors.

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On the same day after visiting the Genocide Museum, we visited the Killing Fields at Choeung Ek, a site where mass graves containing 8,895 bodies were discovered after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime. Many of the dead were former political prisoners who were kept by the Khmer Rouge in their Tuol Sleng detention center.

 

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