The Cambodian Genocide

March 28, 2009
By
Stupa at Chuong Ek, near Phnom Penh, site of one of Cambodia's "killing fields."

Stupa at Chuong Ek, near Phnom Penh, site of one of Cambodia’s “killing fields.”

March 2009

Chuong Ek is a quiet and peaceful place, a far cry from the noise, bustle, and traffic of the center of Phnom Penh only a few kilometers away. It was a sunny day when I visited a few weeks ago, with just a few puffy clouds in the sky.  The only sounds I could hear as I walked around were birds and, in the distance, the shouts of children playing in a schoolyard nearby.  The other visitors to Chuong Ek – twenty or so of them – walked around mostly in silence.

There really isn’t any other way to respond to a place where more than 20,000 people were killed with machetes, axes, or gunshots, then dumped into mass graves.  Today the mass graves are marked by depressions in the otherwise flat landscape. Some are cordoned off, some bear wooden markers: “Mass grave,” “Mass grave of 450 victims,” “Mass grave of more than 100 victims children and women majority of whom were naked.”

Chuong Ek is one of Cambodia’s many “killing fields,” place where victims were brought to be killed and buried during the genocidal rule of the Khmer Rouge from 1975 – 1979. Today is it a memorial to those who died during this period; a place whose bucolic setting somehow makes it all the more stark and shocking.

Some of the hundreds of skulls in the stupa at Chuong Ek

Some of the hundreds of skulls in the stupa at Chuong Ek

At the center of the memorial park is a stupa, a tall white monument topped with the spire and roof of a Buddhist temple.  A sign asks visitors to remove their shoes before climbing the steps to the glass door of the monument. Inside is a tall set of wooden platforms, extending all the way to the ceiling.  Each platform is filled with skulls, exhumed from the surrounding mass graves. Gashes and fractures in some skulls are evidence of the hammer blows or machete wounds that killed their victims; others have small round bullet holes. On the bottom shelf is a pile of tattered clothes; these too came from the mass graves.

As I walked away from the stupa along a narrow path that leads between the mass graves, I looked down. Beneath my feet, in the brown dirt, I noticed the remnants of clothes. There were also what look like white sticks or splinters; closer inspection reveals that these are bone fragments. When the graves were exhumed, only the skulls of the victims were moved to the stupa; other remains were left here.

Clothes, teeth and bone fragments exposed after the rain at the site of a mass grave.

Clothes, teeth and bone fragments exposed after the rain at the site of a mass grave.

It was when I realized that I was walking on bones and clothes of genocide victims that the real horror of this place – and of the Cambodian genocide – suddenly hit me. Reading about the deaths of two million people is horrifying, but the scale of it makes it incomprehensible. Looking down and seeing that I was standing on a victim’s shin bone, though, made my blood run cold.

A half hour tuk-tuk ride from Chuong Ek is another memorial to the Cambodian genocide, the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. Before 1975 this place was a high school; after the Khmer Rouge took power it was converted into a secret prison (called S-21) where suspected enemies of the regime were brought to be interrogated and tortured.  Only a handful of the 20,000 or so prisoners brought here survived. The rest either died here or were taken to Chuong Ek to be executed.

The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Phnom Penh.

The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Phnom Penh.

Like Chuong Ek, the museum here is stark and simple. Some of the interrogation rooms have been left just as they were when Vietnamese forces ousted the Khmer Rouge in 1979.  In one of the former school buildings, classrooms had been converted into interrogation chambers for “high-value” prisoners, many themselves senior Khmer Rouge officials who had come under suspicion.  In each of the first floor classrooms was a single metal bed frame; prisoners were shackled to these frames twenty-four hours a day. A metal bin served as a toilet.  These remain in the rooms today; on the wall of each room is a photograph of the body that lay on the bed when Vietnamese forces arrived.

In another building, classrooms were divided up into cells, separated from one another by crudely built brick walls. Each cell is barely large enough for a person to lie down, but some prisoners spent months here, shackled to the floor.

Equipment used for waterboarding at Tuol Sleng Prison.

Equipment used for waterboarding at Tuol Sleng Prison.

Also preserved at Tuol Sleng are some of the instruments of torture used by the Khmer Rouge to obtain “confessions” from their prisoners.  Some prisoners were tied to a sloping wooden platform, a bit like a tilted bed. Hoods were placed over their heads and water poured over them to give the illusion of drowning (This practice is known as waterboarding.) Prisoners were also suspended upside down from a piece of outdoor gymnastics apparatus, then lowered head first into large pots of dirty water.

A prisoner, photographed on arrival at the Tuol Sleng Prison.

A prisoner, photographed on arrival at the Tuol Sleng Prison.

The Khmer Rouge were thorough and systematic in documenting who was imprisoned here. Arriving prisoners were each given a number and photographed. Some of the photographs are on display at the museum; row upon row of black-and-white headshots, male and female, young and old. Some prisoners look terrified, as though they knew what lay in store for them. Others look defiant.

Also on display are photographs of Khmer Rouge soldiers, many of them children. (Many of the photographs are displayed on the Museum’s website.)

In four years of Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia, about 1.7 million people lost their lives (more than 20 percent of the country’s population.)  Perpetrators and victims were, for the most part, Cambodian, but outsiders too were complicit in setting the scene for the tragedy, and mitigating adverse consequences to the perpetrators of the genocide. Without the war in Southeast Asia, and more particularly without the wide scale U.S. bombing of Cambodia in the early 1970s, the Khmer Rouge would not have come to power, and the genocide would not have happened. The Khmer Rouge could not have remained in power without support from China.  The United Nations, with the support of the U.S., gave its Cambodian seat to representatives of the Khmer Rouge, even after the regime had been deposed. The trial of someone charged as a result of the genocide began just this week, thirty years after the end of Khmer Rouge rule (The man on trial is former Khmer Rouge official Kaing Guek Eav, commonly known as Duch, who has admitted to condemning thousands of people to death when he was head of the Tuol Sleng prison.)

In the wake of the Second World War and the Nazi Holocaust, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.  Signatories to the Convention affirmed that “genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.”  But in Cambodia the world did not live up to its undertaking: the Cambodian Genocide marked the first great failure of this noble convention.

But it was not the last. In 1994, in a one hundred day orgy of killing, some 800,000 people were killed in Rwanda in an apparently well-planned and coordinated effort to exterminate the country’s Tutsi population. This was a stark act of genocide, and the outside world knew that it was happening as it took place. But, deliberately, the international community chose not to act.  Once again, the Genocide Convention had failed.

In 1995, Bosnian Serbs systematically killed 8,000 men and boys at Srebrenica; the killing was found by the International Court of Justice to have been act of genocide. The Convention had failed to prevent this, too.

Today, in Darfur in the west of the vast African country of Sudan, government backed Janjaweed militia are systematically killing or displacing local black African farmers. According to the United Nations, 2.7 million people have been displaced from their homes in Darfur over the past six years, and some 300,000 have died from the effects of war, famine, and disease. Despite extensive worldwide publicity, governments have again been reluctant to act and the dying in Sudan continues.

Thousands killed in Bosnia, hundreds of thousands in Sudan and Rwanda, nearly two million in Cambodia, six million in the Holocaust. These numbers are overwhelming, so large that they are numbing. How can anyone possibly appreciate what the deliberate killing of so many people means? I can’t. But that moment at Chuong Ek when I realized that I was standing on a shin bone protruding from the dirt helped shock me into realizing the horror of the murder of one person, the person who used to walk on leg of which that bone was part.  A million is a number, one is a person.

All of this is why I think that it is so important for as many people as possible to visit places like Chuong Ek, Tuol Sleng, Auschwitz, Srebrenica, and Kigali.  Standing in the place where such terrible atrocities took place, seeing the skulls and the photographs of the victims, we can begin to comprehend what genocide is. It is a crime against humanity as a whole and a crime against our individual humanity.   Only when enough people comprehend this can we ensure that it does not happen again.

Update, July 2011. A truly remarkable documentary on the Cambodian Genocide has just been broadcast by PBS. In Enemies of the People, Cambodian journalist Thet Sambath interviews surviving members of the Khmer Rouge, including Pol Pot’s deputy, Nuan Chea, also known as Brother Number Two. Over the course of ten years of interviews, Sambath gradually gains their trust, and they eventually tell the truth about their involvement in the killings.

 

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31 Responses to The Cambodian Genocide

  1. Stephanie Lipscomb on June 10, 2009 at 7:18 am

    What kind of people were the Khmer Rouge trying to eliminate? I wonder why I’d never heard of the Cambodian genocide before? I imagine the same will happen with the Rwanda genocide and the generation growing up after mine. It’s easy to miss things like this when the American media, and politics, for that matter, pay little attention to countries we have nothing to gain from.

  2. dnrallis on June 10, 2009 at 7:32 am

    The Khmer Rouge would have argued that they were targeting enemies of the revolution. Among these were intellectuals, members of the former government, disloyal Khmer Rouge members, and critics of their regime. And, of course, anyone they suspected of falling into any of these categories.

    I share you fears about the likelihood – and dangers – of forgetting events like the Cambodian and Rwandan genocides. As you note from your own experience, this is already happening. I remember conducting a poll in my classes in about 1999; I told students that 800,000 people had been killed in a genocide in an African country in 1994, and asked them what country was involved. Out of around 70 students, only four or five knew that the country was Rwanda. Six years later, just about all students knew about the Rwandan genocide. The reason: the movie Hotel Rwanda. Perhaps it’s time for another movie about the Cambodian genocide (The movie The Killing Fields was made in the 1980s.)

    Your comment reminds me of the words of Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust Survivor Elie Wiesel: “I decided to devote my life to telling the story because I felt that having survived I owe something to the dead. Anyone who does not remember betrays them again.”

  3. Katelyn Lease on June 10, 2009 at 8:18 am

    I agree with Stephanie’s comment about American media paying little attention to countries that we have nothing to gain from. While I was reading this blog, I also could not believe I had never heard of this. In many American high schools, students are taught about Holocaust and then it is drilled into their head that “this can’t happen again” and “everyone learned from this experience and will prevent it from happening again.” But, it has happened frequently since the Holocaust, but these more recent occurences are always left out of lessons.

  4. Ian Montanio on June 16, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    One thing that I find interesting is that there is only one person on trial for the Cambodian Genocide. Granted Duch may have done some really terrible things during this peroiod he alone is not responsible for 2 million deaths. Why arn’t more of the people that were actively involved in the murders put on trial? In class you briefly touched on this point, saying that a lot of them were kids. But what about the people higher up that gave the orders?

  5. Gregory Weeks on September 18, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    There are a lot of genocides that are severely under-appreciated, especially in the United States. One major factor is that many such acts can be conveniently explained away. The Holocaust is unique in the sense that the government involved was overthrown as the final solution was in progress and that the deaths were methodical and more “deliberate” and thus could not be explained away.

    One can compare this to the Holodomor (decently well known in Europe, engrained in the Ukrainians, foreign to the U.S.) in which the death toll was at least as great as the Holocaust. The Soviets were not only able to keep the event a secret but also to remain detached. The Ukrainian SSR was passively starved and the deaths could easily be blamed on crop failure or poor planning.

  6. Vicky Hudspeth on February 22, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    When I visited Prague a few summers ago, my group went to the Terezin Concentration Camp on the outskirts of the city. This camp was a no-kill place in the sense that people were not murdered there. However it was a stop along the route to other camps, like Auschwitz, and most died from starvation, disease, etc. while there. It was the most eye-opening experience I have had in my life so far. The interesting this is, this is the camp the Red Cross toured when the world became curious about concentration camps, and Hitler wanted to appease them. The day the Red Cross came, the prisoner’s were dressed nicely, the stores were filled with food, and it seemed more like a well-stocked village than the cemetary it was. Our tour guide even showed us the washrooms which had spickets above the sinks for the male prisoners to shave with, however there were no water lines connected to the spickets, everything about the camp was all fake.

    The fact Hitler could so easily fool the world does not bode well for current and future genocides. One would think that after the atrocities committed in Rwanda and now in Darfur, and by Hilter and Khmer Rouge, goverments would try to stop the genocides. I find it incredible that the genocide in Darfur is well-known yet continues. I thought we were supposed to learn about history so as not to repeat it…

  7. Brianna Mears on February 24, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    This is quite an educational and intense blog. Although I read the book To the End of Hell by Denise Affonco which is a descriptive memoir about the genocide, it never occurred to me how each individual felt while awaiting their death. I think the picture you use of the boy at the prison expresses a lot of emotion. There is terror in his eye and it makes you wonder if he knew what was going to come of his future. What is so sad to me is that much of the population is not aware of the Cambodian genocide (and many other genocides for that matter). I respect that you have taken it upon yourself to educate our class about the dark times that Cambodia experienced.

  8. dnrallis on February 24, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    I have visited Tuol Sleng several times, and it is an intense experience each time. The photographs on display are particularly striking. There are lots of them, but the one I included in the blog is the most striking I saw. It is well worth looking at some of the others at http://www.tuolsleng.com/

  9. dnrallis on February 24, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    It often seems to me that we are most dedicated to preventing the last genocide, not the next one.

  10. Brianna Mears on February 24, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    The website (http://www.tuolsleng.com/) shows a lot of emotional pictures. It is evident that there is fear and sadness in their eyes. I think these pictures show a lot about what it was like to be living under the rule of the Khmer Rouge and how they felt at the time. Pictures can show and explain a lot…I feel like I’ve learned much more about the genocide by just looking through these photos.

  11. Rahmi on March 1, 2010 at 11:40 am

    This topic and the photos never cease to give me goosebumps and leave me with a sick feeling in my stomack. The scale of this is just unbelievable.

  12. Michaela Sands on March 8, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    As many of the others have stated, I had no idea of this genocide. I feel that high school courses, especially ones on government, should require its students to read books or watch films based on such genocides or conflicts in multiple countries, not just ones of Europe.

    I can’t even imagine the feeling of stepping on a person’s former body; of seeing human bones torn apart and fragmented. They should make another film about it, or even publicize other stories and accounts in order to increase awareness. Until then, this is just another reason why I’m glad to be taking this class and learning about countries around the world. Learning is the key to changing, and it’s courses like these that can foster emotions and change in us and children, as we replace older generations.

  13. Tyler V. on July 7, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    I remember at the Holocaust Museum, walking through the room of shoes that the Nazis stole from their victims. You could still sort of smell the life in those shoes, and it hits you that those were real people who all died at the hands the Nazis.

    Seeing the skeletons of those who were murdered has a lot of symbolism to it. Like in the French catacombs, it’s as if so many people had died, and there was no place to put their bodies. They wouldn’t bury them in a proper grave. The Khmer Rouge didn’t care.

    By the way, “rouge” means Red in French. The Khmer is the predominant ethnic group in Cambodia, and their language is often referred to as “Cambodian.”

  14. Teddy on July 14, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    I’ve never been anywhere like this but just reading your entry helps me realize the magnititude of what happened. I don’t know how I’d react until I was actually there. Most people don’t even know about genocides outside of the Holocaust, and it’s good to educate them as to prevent more.

  15. JB on August 7, 2010 at 6:56 am

    It’s the eyes that get you. They are the window to the soul, in most photographs from tuolsleng.com I can see fear and confusion in the eyes of the victims. It’s saddening that this was allowed to happen, the victims were killed because of ridiculous reasons such as for wearing glasses, for being a teacher or for speaking a foreign language. Most people in the west won’t have even heard of Cambodia, so this sickening genocide won’t be well known.

    It’s not the only one though that’s been forgotten. There was a genocide in East Timor between 1976 and 1999 which claimed 200,000 East Timorese lives at the hands of Suharto’s Indonesia. Also in 1982 300,000 Mayans were killed in a genocide carried out by their fascist Guatemalan government. It makes you lose a bit of faith in humanity doesn’t it?

  16. Nick on July 5, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    I’m kindly asking you please remove the picture number 374 from your blog so that he can rest in peace at Heaven under God’s care.
    Thanks

  17. Donald Rallis on July 5, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Nick: The photograph is indeed shocking. Each prisoner who arrived at Tuol Sleng was photographed; some of the photographs are on the Tuol Sleng online collection of Tuol Sleng: Photographs from Pol Pot’s Secret Prison, and many are in other published histories of the genocide. All have been catalogued, identified where possible, and scanned as part of the massive documentation project undertaken by the Documentation Centre of Cambodia, which works in collaboration with Harvard University. Their entire collection is available for public scrutiny and research (I am not sure whether the entire collection is online.)

    Your request highlights a very important and difficult dilemma facing those who want to make sure that the Cambodian Genocide is not forgotten. On the one hand, respect for the dead, their relatives, and perhaps their souls it might be argued that pictures like this should not be on display at Tuol Sleng, and that the skulls and clothing of the victims should be properly buried or cremated rather than being on public view at Chuong Ek.

    Another view is that the best way to make sure that the horror of what happened in Cambodia is not forgotten is to educate people about it. One of the best and most effective ways to communicate the horror of the genocide (not just the statistics) is to put a human face on it, to show the effect it had one individual people. That is what this photograph does: it shows the moment, shortly after his arrival at Tuol Sleng, that Prisoner 374 was photographed for the official record. The expression on his face is horrifying and chilling; he clearly knows what is going to happen to him, and he is terrified. I know that I will never forget this face, and I have published it here in the hope that others will not forget it either. (Skulls, clothing fragments and photographs like this also make it very difficult for anyone to deny that this particular holocaust happened.)

    I subscribe to the second of the two views outlined above. I believe that the educational value of this photograph is enormous, as is that of my photograph of the skulls, bones, and clothing of genocide victims. So do many others; this picture has been published widely and is on display at Tuol Sleng, where it is seen by tens of thousands of people each year.

    I do not know whether Prisoner 347 expected to live in Heaven, or to be reincarnated, or if he believed in a god at all. The best way for me to show respect for this man, I believe, is to make sure that he and the millions who died under the Pol Pot regime live for ever in the minds and memories of the living.

    So, while I respect your view, I do not agree with it; I will keep this photograph here in the hope that others will continue to learn from it.

  18. Lindsey Green on April 8, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    I find it shocking that I’ve never heard of the Cambodian Genocide until I did some research and read this blog. In school you learn about the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda, and the recent events in Darfur, but never Cambodia. Were there specific people being targeted, or just people found to not agree with or dislike the Khmer Rouge?

  19. Ashley Ireland on April 8, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Lately my mom has been on a kick about the Holocaust. I can rarely go home or even mention something about Hitler without her launching into a tangent about it. But part of me wonders why she specifically chose the Holocaust. This entry mentioned many other genocides equally as important as the Holocaust was, however many children do not learn of these or go over it in great detail as they do with the Holocaust.
    Why do you think our culture chooses not to examine these genocides as thoroughly?
    Why do you think the US didn’t get involved with this genocide as it was happening and make an effort to stop it? Or any of the other genocides?

  20. Sara Hickey on April 10, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    I didn’t know there was a genocide in Cambodia. This is new information to me and has hit me hard. I cant even imagine walking in Chuong Ek and seeing the bone fragments and skulls first hand. We really need to educate people on the different genocides around the world and not just the Holocaust.

  21. Abigail Fleming on April 10, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    I was horrified when I saw the picture of prisoner #374, he doesn’t look like he is older than 12 or 13! But then I came to realize after reading the rest of the article, that it is actually not that shocking and the genocides that have happened in the past century have included children even younger than this. Its so sad, but I recall going to the Holocaust Museum in DC last year and they had the names of so many of the children that had died during their imprisonment in concentration camps like Auschwitz. Visiting Auschwitz a few years ago was an experience I’ll never forget, going through the rooms where the prisoners were kept and seeing the place where they were put to death and then cremated. I do believe that people need to see these museums, like the Holocaust, so that they can truly understand what happened, so that it can’t happen again.

  22. Donald Rallis on April 10, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    Many people, particularly those who lost family members in the Nazi Holocaust, find it offensive to compare the Holocaust with other genocides that took place before and after the Second World War in other parts of the world. The Holocaust, they argue, is unique. This is true, of course, just as it is true than the Rwandan, Cambodian, and Armenian genocides are unique. I believe that it is very important, though, for humanity to learn lessons from genocides wherever and whenever they have occurred; how else can we prevent them from happening again? I was very impressed with the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Rwanda; a large section in the memorial is devoted to other holocausts, and the exhibit explicitly draws connections between them.

  23. Karen W. on May 30, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    How does this genocide affect Cambodian society today? Do people fear their government more, thus making the government have problems seeking legitimacy? Or does it cause racial tensions between the Khmer and other ethnicities? How is Cambodia ethnically divided? I can see a lot of ways that history could cause geographic differences, especially for genocide. It’s so sad.

  24. Jenny Lang on June 2, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    In Chuong Ek why were bone fragments and shreds of clothing just laying on the ground and having people step on them? It seems really disrespectful to those who have died in a terrible act of cruelty or even beyond that. It is nice to have people get an understanding of what happened but just having bone fragments and shreds of clothing lying in the open and letting people step on them is wrong; they were once human. Also Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide; why is it still in order if almost every genocide that occurred was not prevented by the convention? If the convention knew about a genocide they should prevent it from creating a massive tragedy where we would read about how thousands even millions were killed in such terrible ways.

  25. Aram M on June 15, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    Many of the older members of my family lived through the Armenian genocide, and especially when I was younger and when these members were alive I remember how awkward it was when someone mentioned the Genocide. Is the genocide that occurred in Cambodia something widely discussed? And also have there been measures taken to prevent such genocides from happening in Cambodia in the future?

  26. Jessica K on June 16, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    Since this article was written the trials of Kaing Guek Eav have finished. He sentence was 30 years in prison and then extended to life.

    It is an interesting parallel to the disastrous Chinese Cultural Revolution where the victims were also those with connections to the former government, professionals, intellectuals, and the religious.

  27. Brianna D'Agata on July 10, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    I don’t like admitting this, but I feel sad for not learning about this in school or not remembering learning about this in school. At the same time, I don’t know how I could forget reading about this. Reading the details of the torture and numbers of people who died made this blog so real for me. I don’t fully understand why other genocides besides the Holocaust are taught to students in school. Even learning about the Holocaust in school wasn’t enough to fully comprehend how terrible it really was. It was when I went to the Holocaust Museum, saw the pictures of victims, survivors, and read as I explored that it hit me. I agree with you that “only when enough people comprehend this can we ensure that it does not happen again.”

  28. Melissa S. on July 14, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    This article was very disturbing for me. I guess I take life for granted. Those poor people at the Cambodian Genocide, how they must have felt. The fear you can see in there eyes.

    I too believe this should be covered in High School. Let me see what is really happening in other parts of the world. This is history and it should not be overlooked. We should learn from it and help to try to prevent it in the future. So many people young and old did not get to live there lives happy and fulfilling instead they had to live short live in fear and terror. I cannot even try to begin how this would feel to me. Reading this article gave me goose bumps.

  29. Alicia L. on July 14, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Reading this was a shock and very saddening. I haven’t been out of school that long and I did not learn about this in school. I never realized how much violence their was in the world this day and age. You always seem to hear about wars and learn about them in school. I think there should be more education involving the genocide, because I think this is important history of the world and everybody should be aware of it.

  30. Katelyn P. on July 15, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    I was shocked to learn how recent this genocide was as were others mentioned. It is really disheartening to hear about all of these other genocides that no one mentions or even knows about for that matter. I remember reading “The Diary of Anne Frank” in high school and learning about the Holocaust. It didn’t really hit me as much until we took a field trip to the Holocaust Museum in D.C.. There is something about going to the place where events like these happen, but just to go to that museum and see a more individualistic telling of the Holocaust shifts your perspective. I remember walking through the doors and each of us was given a little booklet with a person’s picture on it who was taken to a concentration camp as well as a brief telling of their story. When we hear numbers such as 1.7 billion or 200 million people killed, it doesn’t have as much affect on us, or at least it doesn’t on myself, as it does when I hear individual stories. It somehow makes it more real to me and I can only imagine that actually going to Chuong Ek, Tuol Sleng, Auschwitz, Srebrenica, or Kigali would have a deeper impact as it has had on you.

  31. Cheryl C. on July 19, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    This is very heartbreaking to me as I was reading this. It is sad that people were dumped in to graves in mass at a time. 450 vicitms at a time like there bodies were just trashed. It is very sad that these innoncent people had to go through this. I never heard of the genocidal time until I was reading this article. I believe that it should be taught about, and be known to people, because I find this a very important part of history.

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