In August 1975, four months after taking over the country and entering Phnom Penh, the Khmer Rouge converted the Tuol Svay Prey High School into a "Security Prison 21" (S-21).

Among the prisoners were former members of the Lon Nol regime, soldiers accused of treason, some of the highest ranking Khmer Rouge politicians imprisoned due to the authorities’ discomfort and ordinary people: teachers, students, monks, factory workers… The shadow of suspicion, any indicator that one might be disloyal or an opponent to the Revolution, was enough.

From 1976 to 1979, an estimated 17,000 people were sent to the prison and the interrogation center. Few survived.

Prisoners died as a result of gruesome torture often lasting for several months.

Some were killed in S-21, but most were taken to the Choeung Ek extermination centre (known as the Killing Fields), fifteen kilometres from Phnom Penh.

Today, after forty years, they look to us. Awaiting justice.

Awards and exhibitions

2020.10 - exhibition of photobooks from Poland in #polishparadise2020 at Kaunas Artbook Fair in Kaunas (Lithuania)

2020.09 - exhibition of photobooks from Poland in #polishparadise2020 at Festival Manifesto in Toulouse (France)

2020.09 - exhibition of photobooks from Poland in #polishparadise2020  at International Photography Symposium NIDA2020 (Lithuania)

2020.06 - virtual table presentation of polish photobooks at Riga Photomonth (Latvia)

2019.06 - official selection for Photobooks Show at Athens Photo Festival (Greece)

2019.06 - official selection for photobooks' exhibition at 18th International Festival of Photography "Fotofestiwal 2019" in Łódź (Poland)

2019.06 - honorable mention award in "Photobook of the year 2019" contest in Poland

From the jury's justification: "We distinguish Sławek Pliszka 'S-21' among low-volume books. A coherent and suggestive graphic form goes hand in hand with a controversial and important story. Finding a topic and a way to tell this difficult story has been perfectly balanced in this publication".

Sample pages:

Photography: Sławek Pliszka

Book design: Natalia Mikołajczuk / books-n-stories

Printing: Enaf Warsaw

Binding: Poligrafia Bracia Szymańscy

Print run: 50 copies

Pages: 48

Warsaw 2018

ISBN: 978-83-952919-0-6

Out of stock

Photos of the book's sample pages by Natalia Mikołajczuk

Using Format