Prum Thuch, Doctor

Thuch disappeared during the 1975 evacuation of Phnom Penh. He was born in Prey Veng Province, and after he finished high school, studied medicine in Phnom Penh. His met his wife Hao Vanna when he was visiting Battambang Province. After they were married, they rented a flat along Kampuchea Krom Street in the capital. He worked in Preh Ket To Mea Lea Hospital, but also opened a clinic to earn extra money. His wife supervised the clinic, and their family was well off.

On April 17, 1975, Thuch left Phnom Penh with his wife, children, parents, and siblings. They traveled along National Road 1. In the middle of the journey, he went off with his wife and children, and said that his parents should go in a different direction. He didn’t want to go back to his home village because the people there knew about his status. He asked me to look after his parents. Then Thuch disappeared.

Tuch’s parents, two of his siblings and I went to his home village in Prey Veng.

During the regime, we moved from one village to another in order to find a better place that had more food. All of the people in my family were base people; Thuch had been the only one of us who was a new person.

Thuch’s mother died from fever during the regime. She also lacked medical care and food. Five months after her death, his father suffered from a stroke and died. His older sister Thau was next; she died from illness. His last sister Sap was sent to live in a new village with her three children. They disappeared. I think she was killed by the Angkar. Many villagers who were sent there never returned.

Thuch’s wife and children are now living in the United States. In 1983, Vanna sent me a letter saying that Thuch died a long time ago. Her children look like their father, she said. At that time, the political situation in Cambodia was not peaceful yet, so I did not reply to her. Then, I lost her address. I hope that Thuch is still alive. If he is, he will come back to his home village. I also hope that one day I will find his wife’s address in America so I can send Thuch’s photo to her.

Prum Tuch’s confession states that he entered Tuol Sleng Prison on January 10, 1976.