About Us

ABOUT US


Since January 2019, the “Virtual Memorial” project provides an interactive online multi-media platform that educates future generations and memorializes the mass atrocities committed under Khmer Rouge ruling. The project provides Cambodian youth with access to video testimonials of Khmer Rouge survivors, as well as relevant documentaries, photos, paintings, and archival documents. This window into the past is vital in shaping the upcoming generations’ perceptions of historical events as well as their hopes for the future.

Meta House, Cambodia’s first independent arts, media and communication center, is spearheading this project under the umbrella of the international NGO, Cambodian-German Cultural Organization (KDKG). “Virtual Memorial” is supported by the German “Institute for Foreign Relations” (Institut fuer Auslandsbeziehungen/IFA) through the ZIVIC fund (https://www.ifa.de/en/). During the first project stage, the stories of around 20 Khmer Rouge survivors are documented and made accessible online since the end of 2019. In the following years, Meta House will continue to interview as many survivors as possible, in close cooperation with other NGOs and donors, in an attempt to create a complete holistic record. This complete record can then be viewed by future generations that otherwise would not have the opportunities to physically meet survivors and learn from their experiences.

The violent power that shattered Cambodian society has scattered the nation and left a profound sense of dislocation. There needs to an extensive bibliographic, photographic, and geographic database of information related to the actions of the Khmer Rouge regime. In reconstructing a historical narrative of the events before, during, and after the Khmer Rouge era, Cambodia will have a firm foundation upon which it can rebuild its society to a better, brighter future.

There have been similar projects based on the dreadful Holocaust genocide in Germany. Programs such as the Shoah Foundation (https://sfi.usc.edu/) and the Fortunoff Video Archive (https://fortunoff.library.yale.edu/) provide open access to in-depth audiovisual testimonies of survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides. At the Freie Universitat in Berlin, the Center for Digital Systems (https://www.zwangsarbeit-archiv.de/en/projekt/beschreibung/index.html) has digitized video and audio recordings of the history of forced labor in Germany. The “Forced Labor. Memory and History” project began in 2007 and was completed for online viewing by 2009, with few changes to the online platform in order to ensure quality user functionality. All three programs have access to educational materials and provide a variety of languages for translation. Educational exercises can be done privately through developed web apps or in classrooms, as instructed by DVD’s paired with a teacher’s manual.

Meta House focuses on the symbiotic relationship between multi-media digital technology and education in the self-learning sector of Phnom Penh. The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications plans to transition Cambodian society to a digital economy by 2023. As skills in advanced technology and communication have increased to vital importance around the globe, Meta House is providing opportunities for young Cambodians to explore and hone their skills within this field. The Phnom Penh Post recently published the article ‘Schools need modern methods’ and quoted Hang Chuon Naron, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, expressing his belief that “it is important that we teach people how to analyze rather than just repeat facts”. The “Virtual Memorial” project creates the perfect opportunity for Cambodians of all ages to gain real substantial experience in the field of media.

Moreover, the Virtual Memorial Project provides not only an opportunity for Cambodians to advance their technological skills, but it also gives access to a priceless experience. The invaluable knowledge gained from listening to first person accounts of the Khmer Rouge era portray emotion, information, and sincerity — elements that would otherwise be lost. Without a virtual memorial dedicated to archiving the experiences of the generations that endured brutal reign of the Khmer Rouge, their stories will become altered and fade into myth. It is vital that Cambodians do them justice and ensure that their stories and experiences will never be forgotten and never repeated.

Two generations after the Khmer Rouge seized power in Cambodia, the Kingdom’s brutal past is largely hidden from young Cambodians. Survivor testimonies are firsthand accounts from individuals who lived through the genocide. They help to empathize with the human and inhuman dimensions of important moments in history. In the framework of our project, Cambodian filmmakers such as Sao Sopheak(photo) set out to record the voices of Cambodians from all walks of life to ensure that future generations can learn from the past and that history does not repeat itself.

The recent history of Cambodia and Germany has many similarities, as both countries had to come to terms with genocide and trauma. Since 2007, the Cambodian-German Cultural Center Meta House Phnom Penh (photo) showcases a unique blend of art, education and social engagement. Cambodian and foreign experts tackle Cambodia’s recent past and the Pol Pot legacy through groundbreaking projects, which include interactive theatre, intergenerational dialogues, film screenings, as well as photo and art exhibitions in schools and universities nationwide.

From 2015-2018, Meta House has implemented two judicial reparation projects under the umbrella of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (ECCC), directly benefiting over 2000 Khmer Rouge survivors and over 50,000 students. The “Courageous Turtle” project (photo by Anders Jiraz) promoted peace, memoralization and reconciliation through community theatre, intergenerational dialogues, video and photo projects. The different activities received support from the European Commission and the German Institute for Foreign Relations (IFA) through the German Foreign Office.

Two generations after the Khmer Rouge seized power in Cambodia, the Kingdom’s brutal past is largely hidden from young Cambodians. Survivor testimonies are firsthand accounts from individuals who lived through the genocide. They help to empathize with the human and inhuman dimensions of important moments in history. In the framework of our project, Cambodian filmmakers such as Sao Sopheak(photo) set out to record the voices of Cambodians from all walks of life to ensure that future generations can learn from the past and that history does not repeat itself.

The recent history of Cambodia and Germany has many similarities, as both countries had to come to terms with genocide and trauma. Since 2007, the Cambodian-German Cultural Center Meta House Phnom Penh (photo) showcases a unique blend of art, education and social engagement. Cambodian and foreign experts tackle Cambodia’s recent past and the Pol Pot legacy through groundbreaking projects, which include interactive theatre, intergenerational dialogues, film screenings, as well as photo and art exhibitions in schools and universities nationwide.

From 2015-2018, Meta House has implemented two judicial reparation projects under the umbrella of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (ECCC), directly benefiting over 2000 Khmer Rouge survivors and over 50,000 students. The “Courageous Turtle” project (photo by Anders Jiraz) promoted peace, memoralization and reconciliation through community theatre, intergenerational dialogues, video and photo projects. The different activities received support from the European Commission and the German Institute for Foreign Relations (IFA) through the German Foreign Office.

This website contains material that may be disturbing. User discretion is advised. Information or opinions expressed here are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of Meta House Phnom Penh, NGO KDKG and its employees.
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