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Vo Thi Sau, a heroine of the armed forces
01/08/2017

Ms Vo Thi Sau was the only woman who was exiled to Con Dao Island and executed here in time of French Viet Nam war. Her indomitable example has become the pride of youth in our country. She exists in the heart of the Viet Nam people as a heroine who sacrificed her life for independence and freedom of the country and happiness of the people.

Ms Vo Thi Sau's grave in Con Dao

Heroine Vo Thi Sau was born in home of revolution

Ms Vo Thi Sau was born in 1933 in Phuoc Tho commune, Dat Do district ( Dat Do district, Ba Ria - Vung Tau province now). Her parents are Mr. Vo Van Hoi and Ms. Nguyen Thi Dau. They have six children. Sau is the fifth daughter in the family (southerner called her ms sixth ).

Her hometown has majestic Chau Vien mountain, surrounded by Long Hai sea, romantic Ky Van cape, Long Ban pagoda with majestic architecture and full of ethnic nuance, Long My commune ( heroic Phuoc Hoi now), one of the first revolutionary bases of  BRVT province. This commune is next Phuoc Hai commune, where the first communist party of BRVT area was born (1934). At that time, Ms Vo Thi Sau was one year old.

Dat Do is a place that has such rich revolutionary tradition. It born Vo Thi Sau heroine. Growing up in a miserable country, she witnessed the French invaders and their Vietnamese agents killing their compatriots, destroying their homeland. So she soon had hatred of the enemy.

 In 1947 (14 years old), she joined the Redemptorist Police at Dat Do District to punish villains and protect her villagers. Since then, she became a reconnaissance combatant with the duty of killing villains.

An example of the heroine teenage girl

She bravely used a grenade to attack a rally organized by the enemy at the Dat Do market on 14th July 1948. This battle made the chief of province Le Thanh Tuong ashamed with the Western. Compatriots in Dat Do all praised Viet Minh that they are so excellent. Ms Vo Thi Sau was praised in the entire team.

She brought the grenade into the Work House to kill Governor Tong, a wicked lackey in 1949. Governor Tong has just barely escaped death in that battle but he was seized with panic. She was unluckily seized in a grenade attack to kill some wicked persons such as Ca suot and Ca Day in a market-day leading up to Tet holiday in February 1950. The enemy used all tortures but did not exploit anything from her. After that, they took her to detention in Chi Hoa prison (Saigon).

At the trial of the French enemy, she affirmed: "Patriot who fight against colonial invaders has no sin!"

The judge rattled the bell and sentenced her:"Death penalty, confiscate all property."

She screamed at the face of the stadholder:

"I still have some garbage cans in Chi Hoa prison you go there to confiscated those!"

A group of redcap rushed to handcuff her and pulled her out. Her voice is still ringing.

 "Down the French colonialist.

The Resistance definitely won ...! "

The French colonialist did not dare to execute the death sentence teen girl so they continued to confine her in Chi Hoa Prison.

The French took her to Con Dao on 21st January 1952. There  was no female prisoner on Con Dao those days. They detained her in Co Department (Judicial Police). She sings throughout that night. She sings the heroic songs of a time of the resistance such as “Len Dang” , “Cung nhau di hung binh”, “Tien Quan ca” ...

In order to show a clear spirit to promote the war and also to avenge the defeats, the French colonialist killed a series of revolutionary soldiers in Con Dao. They executed two rounds for 14 persons. They continued to shoot two persons, including Ms. Vo Thi Sau in the third round on January 23, 1952.

The chief warden and the head of Co department escorted her to the office of the chief warden. After stadholder of the judge completed the procedure to complete the sentence, the pastor said:

"Now I baptize you ..."

She interrupted his words:

"I'm not guilty. Only those who are about to execute me are guilty ...! "

The pastor patiently persuaded her:

"What do you regret before dying?"

She answered:

"I just regret not destroying all the colonial robbers and their agents ...!"

Thousands of prisoners in Banh I, Banh III were sobbing all that night when they heard the footsteps of Ms Sau going to the execution grounds. All of them stood up to sing the song “Chien sy ca”. It was a song that at that time the political prisoners used to send off their comrades.

Going to the execution grounds, the judge asked her: "What do you require before dying ?".

She asked: "Do not blindfold me. Let my eyes  are seen my country until the last moment and I have the courage to look directly into your guns. " She began singing high. She sang “Tien Quan Ca” song. The voice of the daughter of Dat Do was eager and flied very high. She did not hear the judge reading the order to execute the death penalty. She also did not hear captain Le Duong commanding the troops to shoot her. She still sang avidly...

When the commander ordered the soldiers to fire, she stopped singing and shouted:

“Down with the French colonialist!

Vietnam’s independence year by year!

Viva Ho Chi Minh !

Her scream made the executioners come to halt. Seven shots were fired desultorily. Ms Vo Thi Sau still standed there. Her eyes arrogantly glared at them. The head of execution group, Le Duong did not command the second salvo but he withdrew his gun, came up silently to shoot into the ear of Ms Sau.

She bravely sacrificed her life at 7 am on January 23, 1952 (the 27th of December according to lunar calendar). The French also fired comrade Ho Van Nam from Vinh Long in the same day. At present, Con Dao Monument Management Board has kept the book "Death control" of Con Dao prison. This book has full of name, age and date of execution of those prisoners. Tomb of Comrade Ho Van Nam is made right next to the tomb of Sister Vo Thi Sau.

Group of prisoners who work as bricklayers (in Banh I prison) tried to cast a cement stele for her that very evening. Hearing about that, the lord of island, Jarty personally led the soldiers to smash the stele and level the grave in the next morning.

But the tomb was re-emblazoned higher than before and another cement stele was placed solemnly on the tomb in the next morning. Lord Jarty ordered head of warders, Pasi to command 20 soldiers carrying ten bundles of rattan to terrorize the group of bricklayers. They dragged each one out to beat. All of the prisoners were injured but no one declare.

After that event, many prisoners had to stay at the infirmary.The suspects were fined in cells. But those who work as slave labor still sneaked lump of cement to rebuild the stele and the grave of Ms Sau.

No one can remember how many stele were erected on her tomb and did not know how many times the lord of island commands their agents destroy the tomb. But the warders can not understand that every time they leveled the tomb then it appears again as if nothing had happened. They began to spread that: "Ms Sau is very sacred, no one can break her grave, they also rumor that she has come back, she will turn to wring the neck of sassy persons ..." An unquestionable explanation is that the direct commanders  breaking or directly beat her tombstone usually died abruptly or go crazy just few days later. So all of the guards and the prisoners relating came to halt.

Sister Vo Thi Sau is a loyal daughter, a comrade who is loved and respected by the people. Her life and career have been recorded in the history of the Communist Party of Vietnam, history of Southern women, history of Ba Ria - Vung Tau province, history of Dat Do district and history of Con Dao prison . Sister Vo Thi Sau's name and career have also been honored among the typical characters of encyclopedia of People’s Police of Vietnam. She was also recognized by President Ho Chi Minh as a heroine martyr of the nation.

The President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam signed the Decision No. 149 / KT / CTN to award the title of "Heroine of the People's Armed Forces of Vietnam" for Ms. Vo Thi Sau on 2nd August, 1993.

Along with characters such as Kim Dong, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Nguyen Viet Xuan ..., image of Ms Vo Thi Sau was also printed in the stamps as a heroic proof of the unyielding, stoical mirror. Her name is named many roads, schools, parks, scholarships ... all over the country.

The statue of Mrs. Vo Thi Sau was also built 6 meters high in Dat Do town. The tomb of sister Sau is the most visited tomb in Con Dao. Vo Thi Sau altar at the Con Dao Temple is also frequented by local people and visitors

In the field of culture and art, her name and her images are also mentioned in literature, poetry, music, painting, sculpture ... with famous works such as Legend On Con Son Island by Phan Thi Thanh Nhan; Grateful to Vo Thi Sau of Musician Nguyen Duc Toan; Vo Thi Sau, a maiden and legend of Dr. Nguyen Dinh Thong; Film of  Dat Do’ daughter of Le Dan...

The Management Board of the embellishment and construction of Hang Duong cemetery continued to restore the tomb more solemn in 1994. But anyone who knew her tomb before can not forget the image of a tomb arranged by thousands of large stones with many incense sticks, with fresh forest flowers. They can also not forget the stele made of any material obtained by the prisoners.

Con Dao people celebrated the annual death anniversary of Ms. Vo Thi Sau in a solemn manner and honored to commemorate the spirit and merits of the heroine maiden on January 23rd .