Vietnamese Interpreter, Food Demonstrator, Rock Climber

My Journey to America – The Journey Began

Re-education Camp

When a company was worth $100,000 or more, the government took over.  For each big company, the owners were required to retire. The government recruited the owners, bosses, and supervisors to re-education camps called trại học tập cải tạo – Kinh tế mới (new economy).  The family will go camping as well to learn how to grow their own vegetables.  My mom’s boss company was a service company.  The government searched his house for any worthwhile items such as gold or valuable merchandise. They confiscated all valuable items.1976-hoc-tap-cai-tao
All old soldiers who fought against northern Vietnam had to go to re-education camps. Re-education camp was considered by the new government as a place where individuals can be rehabilitated into society through education and socially constructive labor.
Soldiers, non-commissioned officers, and rank-and-file personnel went to reform study, on June 11-13, 1975 for 8 hours from 8 am to 4 pm. While other higher-ranking officers were confined to their sites and not allowed to go home until the courses were completed from ten days for low ranking officers to one month for high ranking officers.
1976-hoc-tap-cai-tao-tay-ninhMy father was in the service. Luckily he completed his service as a Lieutenant a month after I was born in 1968. Because he was a citizen for seven years and worked as a clerk at a tax office, my dad served three days at a re-education camp.

The re-education camps were also a location for prisoners. The inmates were subjected to political indoctrination and intense labor such as minefield sweeping, cutting trees, planting corns and crops, clearing the jungle, digging wells, latrines, garbage pits, and constructing barracks. They were poorly nourished and received very little to no medical care. Deaths from starvation and disease occurred frequently.
To read more about the re-education camps, please visit

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