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Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive: Cambodian Genocide

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Cambodian Genocide

In January 2017, the USC Shoah Foundation added to the VHA five testimonies of survivors of the Cambodian Genocide. The Khmer Rouge held power in Cambodia for just under 45 months (April 1975-January 1979) and left 1.6–3 million Cambodian civilians dead through starvation, torture, execution, medical experiments, untreated diseases, forced marches, forced labor, and other forms of violence. However, even after 1979, the Khmer Rouge remained active in remote regions of the country; thus, fatalities may be higher than documented. The five testimonies were recorded by the USC Shoah Foundation in the United States in 2009, 2011, and 2015. Three are in English and two in Khmer (with English subtitles). All five interviewees witnessed first-hand the Khmer Rouge’s evacuation of the capital city Phnom Penh in April 1975, the forced marches that followed, and forced labor in horrific conditions in the northwest of the country.


Selected Indexing Terms


adaptation methods

agricultural forced labor

Angkar (animist force)

anti-refugee experiences

attitudes toward aid or relief organizations

attitudes toward Cambodia and/or Cambodians

attitudes toward perpetrators


base people

Battambang (Cambodia : Province)

Battambang (Cambodia)

bereavement-related psychological reactions

Buddhist clergy and monastics

Buddhist religious observances

Cambodia 1953 (October) - 1970 (March)

Cambodia 1970 (March) - 1975 (April)

Cambodia 1975 (April - December 31)

Cambodia 1975 (April) - 1979 (January)

Cambodia 1979

Cambodia 1979 (January) - 1989

Cambodia 1993 (May) - 1997 (July)

Cambodia 1997 (July) - present

Cambodian communities

Cambodian Coup (1970)

Cambodian forced labor camps

Cambodian Genocide history

Cambodian Genocide testimony sharing willingness

Cambodian Genocide-era photographs (stills)

Cambodian Genocide-related psychological reactions

Cambodian government officials

Cambodian history

Cambodian mobile brigades

Cambodian refugees

child labor

Chinese (people)


creative works

danger misconceptions

death fears

deportation awareness

deportation from Phnom Penh (Cambodia)

deportation preparations



Evacuation of Phnom Penh (April 1975)

Fall of Phnom Penh (April 17, 1975)

family histories

family life


first impressions



food acquisition

forced labor

Forces armées nationales Khmères



future message


housing conditions

identity concealment

interviewee memory

interviewee occupations

Kandal (Cambodia : Province)


Khao-I-Dang (Thailand : Refugee Camp)

Khieu Samphan

Khmer (language)

Khmer Rouge

Khmer Rouge personnel

Khmer Serei


living conditions

Lon Nol

Long Beach (California, USA)

loved ones' deaths

loved ones' separations

mass murder awareness

Mekong River (Asia)

migration decisions

migration from Cambodia

migration from Thailand

migration policies

migration to Thailand

migration to the United States

new people

Norodom Sihanouk

Nuon Chea

Pchum Ben

perpetrator deceptions

Phnom Penh (Cambodia)

physical condition

Pol Pot

politico-military event awareness

post-Cambodian Genocide reflections

post-conflict family home returns

post-conflict visits home

post-traumatic stress syndrome

pre-Cambodian Genocide family photographs (stills)

preferential treatment

property seizure


refugee camp living conditions

refugee camp working life

S-21 (Phnom Penh, Cambodia : Prison)


socioeconomic status

tracing loved ones

Vietnamese (people)


waterway maintenance forced labor

working life



Selected Bibliography

Becker, Elizabeth. When the War was Over: Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge Revolution. New York: PublicAffairs, 1998.

Bergin, Sean. The Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian Genocide. New York: Rosen Pub. Group. 2009.

“Cambodia.” SciencesPo Mass Violence and Resistance - Research Network. Web.

Caswell, Michelle. Archiving the Unspeakable: Silence, Memory, and the Photographic Record in Cambodia. Madison, Wis.: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 2014.

Chan, Sucheng. Survivors: Cambodian Refugees in the United States. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004.

Chandler, David. Voices from S-21: Terror and History in Pol Pot's Secret Prison. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.

Chandler, David. Brother Number One: A Political Biography of Pol Pot. Revised ed.. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1999.

Chandler, David. The Tragedy of Cambodian History: Politics, War, and Revolution since 1945. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991.

Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam). Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam). n.d. Web.

Etcheson, Craig. After the Killing Fields: Lessons from the Cambodian Genocide. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2005.

Genocide in Cambodia: Documents from the Trial of Pol Pot and Ieng Sary. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000.

Hinton, Alexander. Why Did They Kill?: Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.           

Kiernan, Ben. The Pol Pot Regime: Race, Power, and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-79. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996.

LeVine, Peg. Love and Dread in Cambodia: Weddings, Births, and Ritual Harm Under the Khmer Rouge. Singapore: NUS Press, 2010. Print.

Maguire, Peter. Facing Death in Cambodia. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005. Print.

Yimsut, Ronnie; David Chandler; and Daniel Savin. Facing the Khmer Rouge: A Cambodian Journey. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2011.

Visual History Archive Curator

Profile Photo
Anne Grant
Cooper Library
Room 405