We arrived in Phnom Penh yesterday and after sleeping through much of the day, we woke up early and set off on our sightseeing in Phnom Penh.
We bought our entry tickets. It costs $6 for one person with the audio guide. You save a little if you bring your own pair of earphones/headphones.
Victims brought here were usually killed immediately but as the number of prisoners increased, many who had to wait were kept in detention camps (the drawing they showed looked more like a shed). The average execution rate was 300 per day but when the Khmer Rouge guards couldn’t kill them all, some were kept in sheds to be killed another day.
Why were babies killed? Well, because Kang Kek Iew or Comrade Duch (he oversaw the infamous prison camps), believed killing the children would prevent revenge attacks. For example, after Khmer Rouge soldiers would execute a key male figure, they would then arrest his wife and children… and execute them as well. The movie hall has exhibits detailing the horrible acts of Duch. Believe it or a not, Duch was only sentenced in 2010.
After visiting the memorial, my girlfriend and I went to the movie hall to watch the 15-minute short film. NOTE: No photography or recording allowing inside the movie hall.
I’m not putting up photos of the exhibits and displays detailing Duch and the atrocities committed under his command at these “Killing Fields”. In fact, no amount of words can do justice to actually hearing the narration from the survivor. The audio guide is really well done and if you plan to visit the Choeung Ek genocidal center, I highly recommend you opt for the audio guide. It may not be the ideal place to visit when on a vacation but this is the closest Asia has to something like Auschwitz (the infamous Nazi concentration camp where over a million Jews were killed). You also have to remember, unlike the Nazi era, the Khmer Rouge killed over a million of their own people between 1975 and 1979. That’s not too far back in time.
With that, we were done with our tour of the Killing Fields. The Choeung Ek genocidal center is one of two stark reminders of the horrors committed by the Khmer Rouge during their reign. Our next stop would be the S21 detention center — where victims were held and tortured before they were brought to Choeung Ek to be executed. That will be the next post.