The Chao Ponhea Yat High School was turned into the notorious Security Prison 21, better known as S-21 four months after the brutal Khmer Rouge won control of Cambodia in 1975. S-21 was used both as a prison and interrogation center, where prisoners were routinely tortured until they confessed to the crimes they were charged with and provided names of associates and family members. Those people were in turn, also brought to the prison for interrogation, and many in turn were executed.
Today the former high school turned death prison has been turned into the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. The barbed wire you see was electrified to prevent prisoners from jumping off the building to commit suicide.
It's always a little difficult to visit a place like this. A place where so much pain, suffering, and death has taken place. A place that was supposed to serve innocent children turned into a nightmare for thousands of people. There's an eerie silence that permeates the halls and rooms, with the occasional street noise from outside the prison. Out of the estimated 17,000 people imprisoned at S-21, only twelve are known to have survived.
Hallway inside the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.