Killing Fields of Phnom Pehn filled with Mass Graves

Killing Fields of Phnom Pehn filled with Mass Graves

Driving through the dusty countryside of Cambodia looking out over the rice paddies and lonesome palm trees scattered about it was hard to believe that we were on our way to the famous Killing Fields of Cambodia. I tried to find out more about what happened here before I arrived and watched Roland Joffé’s movie “The Killing Fields”. It was shocking and could hardly believe that things like that really happened. This was a big eye opener to what went on in Cambodia and I really wanted to see where this massacre took place.

Killing Fields of Phnom Pehn filled with Mass Graves
The huge Choeung Ek memorial

“Choeung Ek”, just outside Phnom Pehn, is one of thousands of Killing fields around the country where the Khmer Rouge practiced genocide. Horrified and fascinated at the same time I walked around the mass graves and could still see untouched graves in between. People were brought to the Killing Fields from all over and were then killed and dumped in mass graves. All the people who did not die at “Tuol Sleng” from torture were transported here and then killed. They did not actually shoot everyone, most were bludgeoned to death and their bodies were then covered in lime to prevent the whole place from smelling like rotting corpses.

It is a soccer-field-sized area surrounded by farmland, which contains mass graves for perhaps 20 000 Cambodians, many of whom were tortured before being killed. I read that the bordering trees held nooses for hangings.

Right in the middle of this place of death they built a memorial to those murdered in the fields. A white tower in which they house the sculls of people whom they have dug up so far from the mass graves. They haven’t even dug up al of the mass graves yet.

Killing Fields of Phnom Pehn filled with Mass Graves
Sculls fill the gruesome Choeung Ek memorial

Having seen enough human cruelty and genocide I left the killing fields stunned and silent.

After seeing all this death and realising how cruel people can be towards each other my mom and I were too shocked to even attempt talking to each other. I cannot believe that anybody can actually do this to another human being.

Killing Fields of Phnom Pehn filled with Mass Graves
Such a shocking and disturbing sight


  1. I thought it possible that you had visited the Killing Fields and I looked it up, and yes, you had! A horrific place. I have always had a sense that in man’s true nature lies a need for war and peace is a mere aberration. The longer I live the more I believe this. When I lived and worked in London I marched against the unknown (at that time) war in Cambodia. It was illegal, illicit and mainly down to Kissinger. Word got out but it seemed so ridiculous that America would bomb a country it wasn’t at war with, that only a few believed it. Our march didn’t achieve much because of the disbelief, but maybe a seed was planted.


  2. After seeing the retention facility in Phnom Penh, I opted for the Russian market rather than visiting the killing fields as I couldn’t bear more evidence of the cruelty that occurred there.


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