Chamreun Tan primarily grew up in Battambang City in Cambodia. He was working as a police officer in Phnom Penh City on April 17, 1975 when the Khmer Rouge came to power. He became separated from his parents and siblings and was sent to the village Phum Chhouk to work for the Khmer Rouge until 1979. He married in 1981. Tan attempted to leave Cambodia more than once and was sent back, eventually living in Thai refugee camps until coming to the United States in 1984. He has held a variety of jobs here and is currently a financial worker for Ramsey County.
Channy Som lived in Battambang with her family when the Khmer Rouge came to power. They were made to leave their home and live in the forest before they were separated and put into work camps. She now lives in St. Paul with two siblings and works in catering. One sister is in a refugee camp in Thailand and two others are still in Cambodia with their father.
Choup Lat was a farmer in Battambang Province when the Khmer Rouge came to power on April 17, 1975. Along with his wife and children, he was sent to a different village, and forced to work long days with very little food. They arrived at Khao I Dang refugee camp in Thailand in 1979 and came to America shortly thereafter.
Interview with Cy Thao in which he describes his work as a former Minnesota State Representative, his efforts as a Hmong business entrepreneur and artist and a co-founder of the Center for Hmong Arts and Talents.
Interview with Dr. Chia Youyee Vang in which she describes her work as a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and as the author of ""Reconstructing Community in Diaspora"" and ""Hmong in Minnesota.""
One of 13 children, Henry Nelson was born in 1954 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In 1975, he was a student living in Battambang. The Khmer Rouge came into town and captured his father who was a captain in the army. He is presumed to have been executed. Nelson and his remaining family members were sent out into the jungle with the rest of the village and made to work in work camps. He survived multiple attempts on his life before escaping to Thailand. Nelson worked with the Vietnamese and other groups as an interpreter. He came to the United States in 1982 and was eventually reunited with one sister in Minnesota.
Interview with Ka Zoua Kong-Thao in which she discusses her work with the St. Paul Board of Education, as founder and President of the Hmong Education and Resources Today organization and as Chief Operations office at the Hmong Community School of Excellence.
Khon Kong was a lieutenant in the army in Cambodia at the beginning of the Pol Pot regime in 1975. He had to leave behind his wife and five children who are believed to have been killed. He was sent to work camps in Battambang Province to work in rice fields and to take care of orphaned children. Kong had to lie about his prior service in the army to avoid being killed by the Khmer Rouge. After the fall of the Khmer Rouge, he was in the Khao I Dang refugee camp in Thailand and came to America in 1981. He came to Minnesota after living with a sponsor in Missouri and Texas to find a better job. He held factory jobs, then went to school and became a social worker.
Lar Munstock was born in Svay Rieng Province in Cambodia. She was a teacher living in Phnom Penh in 1975 when the Khmer Rouge came to power. Her three children were living with her ex-husband. She was sent to an education camp away from all of her family and was eventually reunited with them. They were moved around many times during the regime and tried to flee to Thailand but were sent back to Cambodia. She came to Minnesota in 1981.
Loeung Bun grew up in Mongkol Borei and Battambang in Cambodia. Orphaned at 16, he taught himself to be a musician. He plays a number of Cambodian stringed instruments. He traveled with a band and was living in Sisophon with his family when the Khmer Rouge came to power in 1975. The family was separated and Loeung Bun's life was spared so he could play music in performances by the Khmer Rouge. Cambodians in the audience were often killed as part of the performances. From 1979 to December 1981, he lived in a number of Thai refugee camps, then he came to Minnesota. He describes being taken advantage of by sponsor and a landlord. His wife and two daughters currently live in the United States. His son still lives in Cambodia.
Interview with Mao Her in which she discusses her work as a registered nurse with Ramsey County Public Health. She also discusses the her work as the founder of the Hmong Professional Healthcare Coalition and as a TV and radio host.
Monoram Hang was a nine-year-old living in Phnom Penh when the Khmer Rouge came to power in Cambodia. His father was a Commander in the Army and was killed almost immediately. His mother had given birth only two days before and the whole family was made to leave their home and walk out of the city about 50 kilometers into the jungle. They were split up and sent to different work camps. Hang describes the children's team and the conditions in the camp. In 1984 or 1985, his brother helped him cross into Thailand where he lived without permission in a refugee camp. He then received medical training and met his American sponsor, coming to Minnesota in 1988.
Samphoun Em was nineteen years old at the time the Khmer Rouge came to power in Cambodia. He and his family were evacuated from their village and were separated. He and two siblings were sent to work in a camp about 50 kilometers from his home village. Many people, including his sister, starved to death. He developed asthma and required medicine so he escaped to a refugee camp in Thailand and later immigrated to America.
In 1975, Seng Prom was living in Battambang City with his younger siblings while his parents lived on a farm outside of the city. He was an unlicensed primary school teacher. The Khmer Rouge separated the family into different camps, working in agriculture or building dams for most of the daylight hours with very little food. He arrived in Thailand in 1979 and corresponded with a man in St. Paul who served as his sponsor to come to Minnesota in 1981. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Why Minnesota.
Sok Yorm and Phorm Phrong are a married couple who lived and grew up in Battambang. In 1975, they were farmers and had two children, ages 11 and 12. They were separated by the Khmer Rouge and not allowed to see one another. Mr. Yorm had to bury three dead bodies from their village who were killed by the Khmer Rouge. The family was reunited after the Vietnamese entered Cambodia in 1979 and spent five years in Khao I Dang refugee camp. Their eldest daughter was delayed in coming to America, but they are all now living in Minnesota.
Sova Niev was born in 1968. She, her parents and four siblings were sent by the Khmer Rouge to a different village and were then separated into different work camps. She survived despite not receiving any treatment when she was very ill. Her mother and brother were beaten by the Khmer Rouge for attempting to grow and find other sources of food and both of them eventually passed away while they were still in the Khmer Rouge camps. Niev came to the United States in 1982 and has worked for the Khmer Association in Minnesota. She visited Cambodia in 1992.
Thaly Chhour was displaced from her home village during the fighting that preceded the Khmer Rouge regime. She moved with her family to Phnom Penh City where they lived until 1975. She was 14 when the Khmer Rouge came to power. Her father and brothers died in 1976. Her sisters and mother survived, despite starvation and repeated illnesses, but were not better off in the refugee camps near the Thai-Cambodian border. After they arrived at Khao I Dang refugee camp, they were sponsored to come to the United States. Chhour describes her experience adapting to life in Minnesota.
Interview with Xang Vang in which he discusses his work as a CIA operative during the Secret War in Laos 1961-1975 and his work in Minnesota as the Executive Director of the Lao Family Community of Minnesota. He also worked as a Hmong business entrepreneur and one of the first Hmong growers to sell produce at the St. Paul Farmers Market.
Y Nor was 55 years old when the Khmer Rouge regime began in 1975. One of his sons was studying in Europe at the time. He was separated from his two eldest sons and they were killed. Two of his daughters died of illness and starvation. He and his wife and four surviving children were split up at various times in different work camps. Y Nor worked digging canals and building dams and maintaining rice and sugar plantations. He did not receive adequate medical attention for infections. They escaped to Khao I Dang refugee camp, then were transferred to Chonburi camp and then came to Minnesota.
Yoeuth Yan was a student in 1975 when the Khmer Rouge regime began. He was sent out of Battambang City and was not allowed to join his family in Posat Province. He fell ill with malaria while working on the youth mobile team and, after recovering, was able to locate his mother and siblings. He then learned that his father had been taken by the Khmer Rouge and killed. Yan became sick with malaria again, but was still made to work in various camps throughout the regime including a reeducation" camp. After the Vietnamese soldiers arrived in 1979