Camp III (Phu Son Camp)

Saturday - 16/07/2022 00:42
Bagne II was built by the French colonialists in 1908 and completed in 1916. In the period of the former South government, its name was changed to Jail 2. Then it was called Camp III. After the Paris Peace Accords in 1973, it was called Phu Son Camp.
Camp III was started to be built in 1925 (in 1928 as written in some documents). French colonialists continued to build prison camp III (Bagne III) on the land of Cui Camp, about 1km from the town center. Bagne III has 12 prisons, which were built in three parallel rows. It was completed in 1939 and it was a place to keep classes of prisoners captured during the second white terror period of the French colonialists since the World War. Since 1946, Bagne III was badly damaged and not eligible to keep prisoners. In July 1959, after renovation, it was named Camp IV. The former South government brought here a number of political prisoners fighting against communist secession from Camp I and used the Tiger Cage as a discipline area to terrorize. After 5 years of long-term raiding and persecution, the former South government could not subdue the spirit of the confined political prisoners (without a sentence), they had to give up the trick of forcibly seceding the Communists and changed the name of Prison Camp III to Camp I with the meaning of Communist Camp - the Camp of the unyielding.
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 The name Camp I lasted for 10 years (1964 - 1973). During this time, confined political prisoners here continuously struggled and rose up against the entire prison rules. Typically, a 23-day hunger strike with twelve demands began on June 6, 1964. Four people who sacrificed bravely were Nguyen Van Nghia (Hanoi), Doan Khoi (Quang Nam), Bui Du (Quang Ngai) and Le Tu Kinh (Quang Nam). When the prison lords accepted the demands, the rest of them could barely breathe. It was the longest, most difficult hunger strike and won decisive victories for the political prisoners of Con Dao.

Contrary to the urgent request of Bagne I which was to fight against the forced labor regime and kill prisoners, that of Bagne II was to unite political trends, fight for improved living standards, and implement the political prison regime, and protect the lives of cadres. Here, comrades organized culture and theory learning, and cadre training, from which many key cadres of the Party and State grew up such as Comrade Nguyen Van Cu, Le Duan, Pham Van Dong, Hoang Quoc Viet, Le Thanh Nghi, Ha Huy Giap…

The cell area of the camp was arranged more sophisticatedly, hidden behind a thick wall and difficult to detect if it was not carefully observed. Detained prisoners here were covered with scabies, exhausted from lack of light, air and nutrition. Additionally, a bad diet resulted in the fact that many people developed severe dysentery and died. The cell area was also called "Communist Nursery Plantation"by the French colonialists because many other parties were brought out and imprisoned with political prisoners to cause conflicts, but they were eventually converted to communists by the Vietnamese Communist Party. This place was used to detain and confine comrade Le Hong Phong, patriot Nguyen An Ninh... Under the harsh regime of the prison, dysentery and the tortures of the enemy, Comrade Le Hong Phong took his last breath in cell number 05 on September 6, 1942.

Source: Department of Culture and Sport of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Provice; Photo: Internet

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