Listen in on another once in a lifetime interviews. Conducted in the prison S-21 where Chum Mey was held prisoner in the 70’s listen as he talks about his story, justice and why he feels he was one of seven people to survive the Khmer Rouge Killing machine.
Chum Mey is one of only twelve known survivorsof the Khmer Rouge imprisonment in the S-21 Tuol Sleng camp, where more than 16,000 Cambodians were sent for execution. He is currently one of two surviving members still alive. He survived two months of torture and fear in a Khmer Rouge death camp, sustained by thoughts of his pregnant wife and unborn child. His life was only spared because of his high level of competence in machine repairing for Pol Pot’s soldiers.
Marched at gunpoint into the provinces by his fleeing Khmer Rouge jailers following the Vietnamese invasion, he had a chance encounter with his wife and the young son who was born a few weeks after he was sent to the infamous Tuol Sleng prison in early 1977.
“First they shot my wife, who was marching in front with the other women,” he said. “She screamed to me, ‘Please run, they are killing me now’. I heard my son crying and then they fired again, killing him. When I sleep, I still see their faces, and every day I still think of them”.
In 2003 he appeared in the Rithy Panh documentary S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine along with Cambodian artist Vann Nath where they were reunited and revisited the former prison, now known as the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh. They meet their former captors – guards, interrogators, a doctor and a photographer – many of whom were barely teenagers during the Khmer Rouge era from 1975 to 1979.