Monochrome Monday – Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum


The stairway in building A of Tuol Sleng – also known as S-21, or secret prison 21. Now a museum dedicated to the genocide in Cambodia, during the Khmer Rouge regime (1975 – 1979) between 17,000 – 20,000 people died here. Most were tortured in building A before being taken to the killing fields on the outskirts of the city to be executed. It was honestly one of the most difficult places – on every level, emotional, spiritual, physical –  I have ever visited. But I was also determined not to look away.


    1. Thank you, Claudia. The majority of the estimated 20,000 people that passed through this prison did so in anonymity, but despite all of the Khmer Rouge’s efforts, some stories and records (and even 7 prisoners!) survived. The museum did a good job of presenting these stories – and the kind of strength and dignity they ultimately reflect is humbling.

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    1. Thank you, Alice. I have been to several Holocaust museums here in the U.S. – and those where emotional experiences too – but this is the first time I have been to the actual place where torture and death on this kind of scale had taken place. There is almost no commentary you can offer in the face of such things: when we left Tuol Sleng, the group I was with sat in silence for a long time. What do you even say?

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