In 1995 I traveled to Phnom Penh, Cambodia and visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum which remembers the victims of Pol Pot’s murderous regime.
The museum, housed in a former high school, and codenamed S-21, was one of numerous sites around Cambodia for the secret torture by the Khmer Rouge regime of men, women and children between 1975-79.
At the time I visited the museum, even though it was a beautiful sunny day in the capital, Tuol Sleng was an eerie, silent place, shrouded in an almost palpable sense of sadness. It remains largely untouched from the time when the Khmer Rouge fled in 1979, a confronting insight into the atrocities of the regime.
What stands out most in my mind about my visit are the pictures of those who died at the prison lining the walls of their former cells, a room full of human skulls and the paintings by former inmate Vann Nath of a soldier throwing a baby into the air to impale it on a bayonet.
It remains one of the most eerie and moving experiences I have ever had.
If you’d like to read more about Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuol_Sleng_Genocide_Museum.