Over the blaring sounds of a busy city street, the soft mellow tone of a slow afternoon breeze moving through the dark building’s halls can be heard as white pedals fall off the courtyard’s trees. This place is Tuol Sleng, otherwise known as S-21, this place is a former high school gone prison.
Operated by the Khmer Rouge, S-21 housed, tortured, and murdered over twenty thousand Cambodian Civilians. Captured for the accusation of being “educated”, these civilians suffered from malnourishment, drowning, burning, stabbing, and electrocution in one of the most massive series of public executions of all time.
The rooms of the former high school are haunted by the remnants of torture devices, left behind by the Khmer Rouge. The cold tile floors have been stained by the blood of Cambodian prisoners and the darkness seems to hold in the memories of the dead. An ominous feeling of despair looms the corridors as you walk through rooms of discarded clothes and equipment.
Posted up along the walls are hundreds of pictures of the victims of S-21. Covering these walls are the only remaining remnants of the victims, for the Khmer Rouge destroyed many records regarding their affiliation. Returning from a place like this will make you question how much you really know about the world.