Archive & Research

When the United Front for National Salvation of Kampuchea and Vietnamese troops liberated Phnom Penh in early 1979, S-21 prison staff fled, leaving behind thousands of written and photographic records. Al​l together more than 6,147 photographs were left; although many more, however, were lost or destroyed over the years. A project to clean and preserve the negatives was undertaken by US photographer Doug Niven and Chris Riley.

Currently, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum has the original negatives and a catalogue of the 5,847 remaining negatives. Cornell University also has one of the catalogues, and the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-CAM) and Yale University have incorporated scanned versions of these images into their databases.

In 1997, Doug Niven identified and located the prison photographer, Nhem En, who had been living in a Khmer Rouge stronghold since 1979. After Nhem En was found, many other former prison staff have been identified and have been interviewed, adding to our knowledge of this piece of awful history.

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