Gariwo: the gardens of the Righteous

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Claire Ly 1946

the Cambodian genocide testimony in "Back from Hell"

Claire Ly was born in Cambodia on October 25, 1946, in a well-to-do family of businessmen. Graduate in Law and Philosophy, she became a teacher and then a Ministry of Public Education law officer. She was deported in 1975 to a forced-labour camp, where she was detained until 1979, when, at the moment of the regime collapse, she went to France. Hiding her well-to-do origins, she managed to survive with her two children, thanks to the Khmer Rouge’s identification as “labour primary force”. In those years, her husband, father and brothers were killed. She found in her self the strength and courage to resist, also through Christianity conversion.

Claire Ly describes her tenacious fight for survival in the book Back from Hell, a precious testimony of the Cambodian genocide. A tree and a memorial stone are dedicated to her in the Garden of the Righteous Worldwide, in Milan, since April 17, 2012. 

The difficult defense of human dignity

In communist totalitarianism

The Gulag as the organized system of soviet labor camps was a powerful instrument for the extermination of entire groups of citizens by the communist totalitarian regime, in the USSR since half of the Twenties and then by emulation of the other countries of the communist bloc, both in Europe and in the Far East.
Through terror, the regime exerted an iron grip over the population who completely submitted to the regime. 

For those who opposed the regime the question was not about risking their lives to rescue other human beings, but to save their true identity at the cost of their life. Through this, indirectly, other lives were saved and this courageous kind of moral resistance contributed to the collapse of the Soviet empire, which collapsed at the end of 1989.