Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocidal Crimes (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)
S-21 was a secret prison operated by the Pol Pot regime in the capital city of Phnom Penh from mid-1975 through the end of 1978. Individuals accused of treason, along with their families, were brought to S-21 where they were photographed upon arrival. They were tortured until they confessed to whatever crime their captors charged them with, and then executed. The prisoners’ photographs and completed confessions formed dossiers that were submitted to Khmer Rouge authorities, so that proof of the elimination of “traitors” was established. Of the 14,200 people imprisoned at S-21, which held between 1,000 and 1,500 at any one time, only 7 are know to have survived. After Phnom Penh was liberated by the Vietnamese Army in 1979, S-21 was transformed into The Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide.
Alf also has a travelogue of the horrifying museum: “All of these are from the torture chamber run by Pol Pot in Cambodia. It was formerly a high school. I first visited it in 1991 and have a large number of photographs of the place that are no longer on public view. When we went there the place was still mined and we needed an armed guard. We were on our way to North Korea at the time. I will post some of the North Korean photos later….”
Torture Museum (San Gimignano, Italy)
Alf provides an excellent pictorial exploration of this most tremendous Italian museum – which collects torture and execution equipment used throughout history. I happened to catch a travelling exhibition of only a few selections from this museum – and believe me, the wince-factor is HIGH!
Medieval Crime Museum (Rothenburg, Germany)
TandoMando highly recommends this site: “If anyone gets to the medieval walled town of Rotenburg ob der Tauber, in the Rhine valley, I highly recommend the museum of torture and death! It’s located at the far end of the entrance to the city. They have all the standard medieval torture devices like iron maidens, stretching racks, large metal hoods worn for various transgressions, for all manner of punishment meted out way back in the day. Some were positively bizarre, including one that was basically a table to which the victim was tied, and had a spike that went in the anus, forced into the body so far it resulted in death.” Sounds like my cup o’ tea!
The London Dungeon (London, England)
Sara writes to rave about The London Dungeon: “If you’re ever in London, England, the ‘London Dungeon’ is an absolutely amazing museum portraying the former brutality and astounding history of England and surrounding area. As soon as you enter you’re greeted with a group of talented actors that escort you into the building, then you proceed through the museum where there are tons of incredible exhibits of murders, tortures, and pretty much everything else macabre that has happened in this country’s past. Then you go into London’s famous prison system from the past centuries (including a trial, where you are charged and sentenced to death). Once you enter the prison, there you are shown real survivng torture intruments and structures. After that you are taken on mini boat ride and are shown more ways to perform an execution, The London Towers infamous ‘Traitors Gate’, and so on and so forth. Then the best part of the tour, the recreation of Whitechapel in the 1880’s where Jack The Ripper played. London’s claim to fame. You walk along dirty streets and beside you are the bodies of the prostitutes he killed strewn about. Then you go through a speculation to who Jack The Ripper really was. Then you witness the hanging of the man, from underneath the gallows. It looked and sounded so real, I thought I actually heard a neck snapping. And then comes the grand finally of the tour. ‘Theatre Of The Guillotine’, where you are a witness to a public execution. When the blade comes down a warm liquid is sprayed lightly over the crowd. When you start the exit, you’re hostly proudly proclaims to you, “Don’t worry, what you were sprayed with was not blood, it was urine.” The air even changes when you go into different parts of the tour, just for effectiveness. For example when you enter the prison, the air changes to a damp, stank, very cold air. The little details are what makes this museum so great. I highly recommend this museum as one of the top in the world.”