S-21 (Also known as the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum) is a former security office in Cambodia that was used to detain, interrogate, torture and kill hundreds of Cambodians that were thought to be against Pol Pot, the leader of the Khmer Rouge.
History of S-21
The site of S-21 was originally used to house a high school which were later turned into numerous prison cells. The front of each of the buildings were covered with barbed wire to prevent the prisoners from escaping or committing suicide. The buildings were then named A, B, C, and D, and were used for different purposes from torturing to crowding prisoners together. To maintain order and security, over 1600 people were employed by the facility. The number of inmates grew from 154 in 1975 to 5,765 in 1978 (children are not included in this number).
I took a walk around the different buildings and a feeling of sadness came over me as I thought about the atrocities that occurred on the property and the number of innocent lives that were taken. Below is a video I took while walking around Building C.
A Look Around S-21
For more information on S-21, the Khmer Rouge, and Pol Pot, see the following articles:
- Prisoners at S-21 (UM Center for Genocide and Holocaust Studies)
- The Horror of the ‘Killing Fields’ (HaiVenu-Vietnam)
- Khmer Rouge’s S-21 Torture Prison (The Telegraph)
- Fact Sheet – Pol Pot and his Prisoners at Secret Prison S-21 (Cambodia Tribunal)