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.

One of the buildings at S-21

One of the buildings at S-21


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).

Visiting S-21


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

A outside hallway of one of the buildings

Pol Pot’s Rules at S-21

Innocent lives lost at S-21

Further Reading

For more information on S-21, the Khmer Rouge, and Pol Pot, see the following articles: