Memories of former war prisoners in Phu Quoc

by VTV419 August 2015 Last updated at 13:30 PM

Phu Quoc prison (photo: Vietnam Discovery)
Phu Quoc prison (photo: Vietnam Discovery) - On the outskirts of Hanoi stands a unique museum operated by former war prisoners that were incarcerated by the US on Phu Quoc Island.

On display are hundreds of objects and models, recreating the war crimes of the enemy and honouring the brave soldiers who made sacrifices while in prison.

Nguyen Trong Du from Hanoi was a POW in Phu Quoc Prison 40 years ago. He and his friends can’t help but get emotional when visiting some of their war memorabilia.

There is a party flag and a portrait of Uncle Ho that he and his comrades made together as they marked the funeral for Ho Chi Minh when he died in 1969. Without paper and paint, the prisoners had to find another way to create them.

Nguyen Trong Du said: "We used the gauze and blood from our comrades to make the red background. For the hammer and sickle, we used yellow vitamin pills, mixed with rice soup to draw them".

And this is a model of a prisoner tortured in Phu Quoc. It was built by Nguyen Van Khai, and based on his vivid memory of the death of a party branch secretary who suffered harsh torture while refusing to admit to party activities in the prison.

Nguyen Van Khai, another rormer POW in Phu Quoc War Prison, said: "After we buried our comrade, all the prisoners joined a hunger strike against the cruel use of torture. After that, their leaders accepted to our proposals, to give us better food, to stop the inhumane treatment, and to treat us better".

These are a part of a collection of artefacts at the Prisoners of War Museum, built by former prisoners in Phu Quoc. They have travelled many parts of the country to meet other war prisoners and families to collect the objects. With the hope that the brave stories of their late comrades live on, these veterans also volunteer to work as museum guides.

Phu Quoc Prison detained about 40,000 prisoners of war, mostly from 1967 to 1973. Some 4,000 soldiers died here. After the signing of the Paris Peace Accords, all of those who were alive were released. They were the heroes who sacrificed their whole life for the nation's independence. Ngoc Le, from Vietnam Television, Hanoi.

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