The War Remnants Museum is one of the most popular museums in Vietnam. In our youth, the images of the Vietnam War have dominated the day. However, the images were mostly filtered by the Americans and the comments influenced by their policies. Here one has the possibility to take a look at this war from a Vietnamese perspective.
Besides American military equipment, there is a large collection of images showing the war crimes of the Americans and their South Vietnamese allies.
In the outdoor area of the museum is an exhibition of various guns, tanks, helicopters, and airplanes. Between you find unexploded and defused ammunition. The exhibition gives a small impression of the technical effort, with which the United States attempted to win this war.
The reproduction of a torture prison, of which there were several in South Vietnam, gives an insight into the torture practices during the war. The best-known prisons are Con Dao (Con Son) and Phu Quoc. Most were already built by the French.
During the Vietnam War, they were expanded with American support and operated by the South Vietnamese. The cells were very small and usually occupied with five prisoners.
The prisoners were tied up with steel brackets at the legs. This restricted the freedom of movement so that the prisoners could not stretch themselves out, but could only crouch.
But there was still an increase. Low iron cages wrapped with barbed wire. The prisoner injured himself with every movement. One put the cages out in the open so that they were exposed to sun during the day and to cold during the night. Often during cold one poured water over them, the so-called called tiger wash.
200,000 prisoners were thus held, of which 20,000 died. Many who survived had crippled hands and legs, so they could only move crawling.
In one room you see the last guillotine of Vietnam. The last man who died executed in the guillotine was Hoang Le Kha, whose real name was Hoang Le Can. He was secretary of the district committee of Duong Minh Chau. He died on 3 March 1960 at the age of 43 by the government of Ngo Dinh Diem.
In this part, photographs document the war crimes of the Americans and South Vietnamese. Many photos are from the Japanese Vietnam war journalist Bunyo Ishikawa, who donated many pictures of his collection to the museum in 1998.
Besides the many victims, the war crimes of the Tiger Force, the task force Baker of My Lai and the defoliation action with Agent Orange, as well as the bombardments with napalm are primarily stressed.
Agent Orange still has an effect until today and mutilated newborns and premature deaths are the consequence. It is scandalous to this day that the investigations of these incidents were protracted largely or completely suppressed.
Practically none of the perpetrators was convicted. The primarily responsible for My Lai got away with 44 months house arrest. Till now, the USA could not make their way to any reasonable compensation payments either.
The museum provides a comprehensive testimony of the events in the Vietnam War. Unimaginable atrocities were committed and then covered up. The US has finally lost its claim to the moral authority in this world, which they acquired after the Second World War.
But it is also fair to notice that North Vietnam, respectively the Viet Cong also committed war crimes, which are not mentioned here, of course. These crimes were far from the extent of the crimes committed by the Americans in the country. Thus one can by no means dismiss this exhibition as propaganda.
Deeply shaken by so much human suffering, we leave the War Resistance Museum to come back to other thoughts again.
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