Tuol Sleng Museum, Phnom Penh

4.5 out of 5 stars 89 Reviews

Corner of Street 113 and Street 350

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  • Tuol Sleng Museum
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  • Tuol Sleng Museum
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  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    I NEVER WANT TO BE ON THIS BED

    by davidjo Updated Aug 23, 2014

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    At Toul Sleng ( S 21) all the rooms where Pol Pot's Regime tortured people are still open and most of them contain a metal frame of the bed where these horrific procedures were carried out. The torture was carried out in order for the prisoners to confess to the crimes that they were wrongly accused of. The prisoners were chained to the beds and electricuted, and in each room now you can see a photo or drawing of the unfortunate prisoners on the same bed that lies there today. The ammunition box you see on the bed was for excrement

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    THE SURVIVORS, 1:1500

    by davidjo Written Aug 23, 2014

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    Over 17,000 people were taken to Tuol Sleng but only an estimated 12 survived, of which 7 can be seen in the photo above. Three of them were kept alive because they had special skills that were useful to the regime. Bou Meng was an artist, but even his wife faced extermination in the prison. Chum Mey was kept alive because he could repair the machinery, and Chim Math, a female who came from the same area as the leader of the prison, Comrade Duch. Vann Nath was also another survivor who was spared because of her ability to paint.

    Read a report by Chum Mey which was published in the Phnom Penh Post

    http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/tuol-sleng-survivor-tells-his-story

    THE SEVEN MALE SURVIVORS

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    LYING CHAINED TOGETHER UNTIL THEY DIED

    by davidjo Written Aug 23, 2014

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    This terrible photograph shows how the prisoners were treated. After they arrived at S - 21 and once the details of their life were written down they were undressed to their underwear, possessions removed, the prisoners were taken to their cells. The ones who were taken to the small cells were shackled to the wall or concrete floor, but the majority were taken to the mass cells where they were shackled in rows to an iron bar. They lay with their heads together , each row in opposite directions: they had no mats, no blankets, no mosquito nets and were forbidden to talk.
    Each prisoner was inspected before 5 am each morning and the guards made sure the shackles were secure, checking that the prisoners had not manged to obtain anything so they could commit suicide (as several had done over the months they were held). Twice a day the prisoners were fed 4 small spoons of rice porridge and watered down soup, and they were not allowed to drink water without asking permission (otherwise they were beaten) , ad every 4 days they were hosed down. Almost everything they did had to be approved by the guards, so many received terrible beatings, even forced to drink their faeces and urine.

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    MORE TORTURE METHODS AND IMPLIMENTS

    by davidjo Written Aug 23, 2014

    At Tuol Sleng you can see all the instruments of torture displayed in a glass case as well as photographs of prisoners being carried away like dogs. A very horrific building that is now a tourist attraction.

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    SO MANY PHOTOGRAPHS

    by davidjo Written Aug 23, 2014

    On the ground floor of Tuol Sleng (S-21) you will see rooms full of photographs of the unfortunate people that were tortured and put to death by the Khmer Rouge. It is extremely sad to look at the photos of young children, not even old enough to walk. How cruel this Pol Pot and his cronies were! The KR were meticulous in keeping records so every prisoner was photographed when they arrived in the prison and sometimes before they left too..

    children killed young girls killed men killed women killed
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    RULES FOR THE INMATES

    by davidjo Written Aug 23, 2014

    RULE 6--- While being given electrocution or lashes do not cry out.
    RULE ? ----If you don't follow the above rules you will receive many lashes or the electric wire.
    The rules were posted throughout the compound at Tuol Sleng so the prisoners had no excuse to break them. I wonder how many of them could read?

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  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    HEART-BREAKING at the DEATH SCHOOL

    by davidjo Updated Aug 23, 2014

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    Tuol Sleng Museum was originally a school that was taken over by the Khmer Rouge security forces and turned into a prison which became the largest torture center in the country. It was known as Security Prison 21, or S21. Between '75 and '78 over 17,000 people entered the building and nearly all did not survive.
    It was very sobering walking around the old school seeing the photos of all the people that were imprisoned and murdered, even young children and babies. My god, what did they do to deserve such an end. Imagine the prisoners being shackled together lying on the floor, not allowed to talk or make a toilet run. See the metal beds that were attached to the electric supply to torture the prisoners. See the water tub where they would torture the prisoners more in order to get a confession and last of all observe the list of rules for the prisoners, one in particular - it is forbidden to scream while being punished. What type of people were those that carried out these atrocities. Very sad and sobering, i think i will give it a miss next time.

    TUOL SVAY PREY HIGH SCHOOL---BECAME S21
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  • CDM7's Profile Photo

    Tuol Sleng Museum.

    by CDM7 Updated Mar 15, 2014

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    Tuol Sleng Museum was originally a high school and later used as a security prison (S-21) by the Khmer Rouge regime.The classrooms were converted into tiny prison cells and torture chambers.Prisoners were repeatedly tortured with beatings,electric shock and hanging upside down then dropped into water barrels.The lower floors are filled with hundreds of photos of victims .From here many of the prisoners were loaded onto trucks and sent to the killing fields.
    My first photo shows Bou Meng signing his book for me.He was a survivor from the prison and was saved after weeks of torture,because he was an artist.He was put to work painting portraits of the Khmer Rouge leader,Pol Pot.
    This is a very harrowing place to visit and seems too much to comprehend.

    Bou Meng - signing his book for me Rules Where the prisoners were dropped into water barrel Part of the prison Prison cells.
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  • ErwinKoo's Profile Photo

    Torture and extermination high school prison

    by ErwinKoo Written Mar 11, 2014

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    We visited this kinda sad museum ,on January 2014.We recommend this museum to all travelers visiting Phnom Penh, its an experience you cannot find elsewhere.
    This museum is located on 113 Street, Phnom Penh , accessible by many method of transportation.The road leads here was dusty and we experience a bit of traffic jam.
    This prison was formerly the Chao Ponhea Yat high school ,converted into a prison and torture facility ,in August 1975, 5 months after the Khmer Rouge won the Cambodian Civil War.
    The Khmer Rouge named this facility S-21 ( Security Prison 21 ) .Buildings was heavily barb wired, to prevent inmates from escaping , classrooms were converted into tiny cells and some of the rooms are converted into interrogation room and torture room.
    All windows are covered ,to conceal screamings of the tortured inmates.
    Estimated that from 1975 until 1979 ,17,000 to 20,000 of people are being imprisoned here ,including women ,babies and children, several foreign nationals also held in here.
    In 1979 ,the Vietnamese uncovered this facility , and several last bodies found in the cells were buried in this site.
    In this museum , we can see the torture equipments used , the photographs and biographies of the inmates .
    Sad and eerie feelings are felt during this visit ,and we are very lucky can met one of the survivors of S-21 , Chum Mey.

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  • akkipaa's Profile Photo

    Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

    by akkipaa Updated Nov 23, 2013

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I feel great sad and sorrow for all the victims of this the most cruel, inexcusable and unforgivable human's action, murder of own fellow citizens. There are not exact figures how many were tortured and murdered in the killing fields but it's around 2 million. It's useless to argue the total figure, better to think those who survived and they many. It's only 30-35 years, so there are a lot of people still around who have lost relatives. Fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, aunts, uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers. We have to make a promise that we don't forget! We don't forget these and all the other events were those who have understood the power wrongly and we have to promise, we will do everything to prevent similar events in the future. We haven't succeeded, there are all the time similar actions ongoing, take a map and think, in many places.

    This site was high school before, until the Khmer Rouge changed the label from education to genocide. Tuol Sleng means "Hill of the Poisonous Trees" or "Strychnine Hill". And let's remember, Tuol Sleng was only one of about 150 execution centers in the country and 20,000 prisoners were tortured and killed here.

    It was named Security Prison 21 (S-21) and doctors, academics, teachers, students, soldier, workers monks and all kind of engineer were first arrested, tortured and killed, either here or on some other killing field. The museum tells the story, the first rooms on the left side are as they were when Vietnamese army came and found the place (Photos 1-3). There are a lot of paintings in the next building, I try to find the strength to tell some day, now I can't, you understand my pain from two last photos.

    You can test how you would follow the camp rules:
    1. You must answer accordingly to my question. Don’t turn them away.
    2. Don’t try to hide the facts by making pretexts this and that, you are strictly prohibited to contest me.
    3. Don’t be a fool for you are a chap who dare to thwart the revolution.
    4. You must immediately answer my questions without wasting time to reflect.
    5. Don’t tell me either about your immoralities or the essence of the revolution.
    6. While getting lashes or electrification you must not cry at all.
    7. Do nothing, sit still and wait for my orders. If there is no order, keep quiet. When I ask you to do something, you must do it right away without protesting.
    8. Don’t make pretext about Kampuchea Krom in order to hide your secret or traitor.
    9. If you don’t follow all the above rules, you shall get many lashes of electric wire.
    10. If you disobey any point of my regulations you shall get either ten lashes or five shocks of electric discharge.

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    TUOL SLENG GENOCIDE MUSEUM

    by balhannah Updated Jul 19, 2013

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    Prior to 1975, Toul Sleng was a high school. When the Khmer Rouge came into power, it was converted into the S-21 prison and interrogation facility.
    Inmates at this prison were held in tiny brick cubicles and systematically tortured, sometimes over a period of months, to extract the desired ‘confessions,’ after which the victim was executed at the killing field of Choeung Ek just outside the city.
    S-21 processed over 17,000 people, only less than a dozen survived.

    Much has been left as it was when the Khmer Rouge abandoned it in January 1979.
    The prison kept extensive records, leaving thousands of photos of their victims, lots of these are displayed as well as paintings of torture at the prison done by a survivor of Toul Sleng.

    The Tuol Sleng compound is now a museum, a memorial, a place to wander around and wonder how people could be so cruel to another human life! It certainly is full of sad memories.
    Take your time to wander through the buildings and to look at the exhibits and reminisce.

    Tuol Sleng in Khmer means "HILL OF THE POISONOUS TREES" or "STRYCHNINE HILL".
    It was NOT a real long time ago that this all happpened...

    You can reach here by taking a Tuk-Tuk

    ADMISSION IN 2013 ....$2.00 per person.
    GUIDED TOUR...$3 Upwards.
    OPEN... 7am-5:30pm (closed 11:30am-2pm).

    The school which became the Prison Looking out the door The cells Torture
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  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo

    Tuol Sleng Prison

    by IreneMcKay Updated Jul 5, 2013

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    This building was once a secondary school, but when the Khmer Rouge rose to power in 1975, they used it as Security Prison 21. Apparently Tuol Sleng means Hill of the Poisonous Trees. The prison was used until the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979 and as many as 20,000 prisoners, victims of Pol Pot's insane regime, were killed there.

    The first few rooms we looked in were former prison torture cells containing metal bed frames and instruments of torture which lay scattered around the floor. Pictures showed how some of these torture instruments were used. There were dried patches of blood on the floor. To say there was an unpleasant atmosphere in this place would be putting it very mildly.

    A later room showed photographic portraits of the people who had been murdered in this place. Some of them looked at the camera in terror, others smiled and seemed totally unaware what was about to happen to them, some were just children, even babies. Again it was deeply disturbing.

    One room had a map of Cambodia made from the bones of the Tuol Sleng victims.

    When we got to the end of the visit, I joined some other overwhelmed visitors in the need to sit down and cry for a while before I could proceed with the day. I think Tuol Sleng should be visited and people should know about the attrocities that happened there, but I said to my husband let's not go ahead with our next day's planned visit to the killing fields as there's only so much misery a person can take before it becomes too unbearable.

    I only took one picture. It was not somewhere I wanted to remember. It ended up being somewhere I will never forget.

    Prison regulations.
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  • stevemt's Profile Photo

    S.21 prison - stop before the killing fields

    by stevemt Written Mar 12, 2013

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    This place is sobering, reflective, but necessary.

    This is part of Cambodian recent history, and as such cannot, nor should not be denied.

    It happened, it's over, but it should not be pushed under the carpet and forgotton, too many lives were lost for that to happen.

    Hard to believe this place was once a high school.

    Block c is the only one that has been left virtually untouched with the small cells.

    Well worth a visit, please try and see it all.

    Cost $5.00

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    Toul Sleng Genocide Museum

    by ValbyDK Updated Mar 3, 2013

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    In the years before 1975, Toul Sleng was a high school in Phnom Penh, but when the Khmer Rouge came to power it was converted into the notorious prison known as S-21. During the Khmer Rouge regime, around 20,000 people were kept in prison here, and tortured to confess their ‘anti-revolutionary’ behaviour. Some died under the torture and were buried in a shallow mass grave on the prison ground, but most prisoners were executed at the Killing Fields (read my other tips). Only 7 inmates survived the Toul Sleng prison…

    Toul Sleng is now a museum and a memorial, and many things are left in the state it was when the Khmer Rouge abandoned it in January 1979. You can walk around in the prison cells (the old classrooms) and the courtyard, and see exhibitions of torture instruments and hundreds of photographs of former prisoners. A visit to Toul Sleng is a very depressing experience, but still a must-do in Phnom Penh. It serves as an opportunity to honour the victims and to remember… Remember the terror so that it's not repeated!

    Toul Sleng Genocide Museum Toul Sleng Genocide Museum Toul Sleng Genocide Museum
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    Toul Sleng Genocide Museum

    by theguardianangel Written Nov 19, 2012

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    We had limited time for the tour so we just dropped by the Toul Sleng to have a glimpse of it.
    Toul Sleng was known as the notorious S-21 torture prison of the Khmer Rouge. All the victims (peasants, workers, Khmer diplomats, intellectuals, women, children, etc.) were detained and tortured here and later sent to the Choeung Ek (Killing Fields) for liquidation.

    The prison is now a museum to commemorate the death of the Kampuchea people under the Pol Pot regime. Based from (Mok) our tuk-tuk driver, he said that the prison was a former highschool. The compound was surrounded by barb wires, maybe that was done during those times to make sure that the victims can’t escape. Seeing the compound even only on the outside, it didn’t felt good.

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