Results 1-3of 3 Reviews
Gravesend, United Kingdom
October 24, 2009
From journal Vietnam a Fairly New Holiday Destination. Go before the Masses
July 17, 2008
From journal Quirky but Delicious Hanoi
Bayside, New York
May 2, 2005
The doorway is not in any way a preview of what is to come; in fact, it looks more like the entrance to a hotel. Until you get inside. Those who can read French will be smacked in the face with the following notice posted at regular intervals throughout the prison: "Hoa Lo Prison – A Crime by French Colonialists toward jailed Patriots and Revolutionaries". There goes la grande histoire d’amour between the two! Horrific were the renditions and actual leg iron clamps to which the prisoners were confined, days at a time. Another wonderful French invention, the guillotine, made its way into the prison, and was used for most executions. There was a particular record of the beheading of certain Vietnamese patriots by the names of Nguyen Thai Hoc, Pho Duc Chinh (both in 1930) and between 1930 and 1932, Nguyen Duc Canh , Ho Ngoc Lan and Nguyen Hoang Ton.
You will find photographs and scale models of the original structure which was quite ambitious in size; as you weave through the rooms and in and out of courtyards, an actual part of a sewer and its door are on display; in 1951, more than a dozen death row inmates escaped through it, some of which were able to join the resistance movement against the French. Also outdoors are oversized bronze carvings depicting violence against the prisoners, showing some tied to chairs with heavy ropes, others tied to ladders with ropes around limbs and torso. Look up, and you’ll understand the reasons for underground escapes: the walls are exceptionally high and copiously crowned with shards of broken glass.
Let’s move on to the American section, albeit small, but the exhibit might elicit a chuckle or two. Several photographs of captured soldiers are featured, with an emphasis placed on John McCain’s personal and military apparel that earned a separate glass case. What is impossible to swallow though is yet another photograph of American G.I.’s cooking chicken, looking as if they were guests of Emeril Lagasse. Another showcase delineates all the items given to the prisoners for their comfort and well being. Though some of the translated material leaves much to be desired, it wishes to convey that the North Vietnamese not only treated their prisoners humanely, but also with special leniency as they were released from Hoa Lo in February of 1973. This is a must-see.
From journal Chao Ban Vietnam!!