The Killing Fields

We visited the central museum here in Phnom Penh, this was quite disappointing as we expected more general information and history of the country. Most items on display were from Angkor Wat.

From here it was off to “Tuol Sleng”, this was Por Nhea Yat Highschool before “Pol Pot” and Prison Chief “Kang Kek Lew” known as Duch, turned it into a place of torture for his citizens called S-21, there were 196 of these prisons throughout the country. It is now the Genocide Museum, there is lots of history here regarding the Khmer Rouge (communist) regime, the people who worked here and the people who were detained and tortured here before being sent to the actual Killing Fields.

Pol Pot and Duch were both teachers. Pol Pot wanted to take Cambodia back to the “Stone Age” to reset the country for a “new start”. They eliminated all intellectual’s and anyone who wore glasses or had soft hands as being ‘Academics.’ 

Pol Pot also demanded that every hectare (approx. 2.5 acres) of land was required to produce a 2.5 tons of rice. The problem with this is that growing rice on a hillside is very difficult.

The following are just a few of the items on display.

Pol Pot

Not everyone was Cambodian

The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum “Khmer language” សារមន្ទីរឧក្រិដ្ឋកម្មប្រល័យពូជសាសន៍ទួលស្លែង or simply Tuol Sleng (“Hill of the Poisonous Trees”) or Strychnos Hill is a museum chronicling the “Cambodian genocide.” Located in Phnom Penh, the site is a former Secondary School which was used as Security Prison 21 by the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 until its fall in 1979. From 1976 to 1979, an estimated 20,000 people were imprisoned at Tuol Sleng and it was one of between 150 and 196 torture and execution center’s established by the Khmer Rouge. On 26 July 2010, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia convicted the prison’s chief, Kang Kek Lew, for crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. He died on 2 September 2020 while serving a life sentence. (Wikipedia)

After visiting here, it certainly put a damper on our day. If you have a chance to visit Phnom Penh, we would recommend visiting this museum, it sure shows how low humanity can stoop!

Next day, we ventured to the Killing Fields themselves.

Writing this post reminded us just how depressing those two days were, we spent a couple more happier days here just see sights before heading to our next destination.

Next: Siam Reap

4 thoughts on “The Killing Fields”

  1. Sad indeed. I can’t understand humanity, when I see this. People need to understand this actually happened and this should never happen again. Thank you for sharing. No complaining from me for a long time. Some of us are very fortunate.

    1. And not remove statues of famous people, even if they are considered evil. Removing these items does not change history!

  2. Just reading & watching a documentary/movie on the Killing Fields was absolutely horrendous…I honestly don’t know if I could go to the actual site…

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