Nguyen Thi Nguyet Anh's 1963 and 1966 arrest and torture

SR 2070
Beep tone
Roll 70, Vietnam Project.
525 Take 1. Interview with Nguyen Thi Nguyet Anh.
Please tell us how you were first arrested, how you took care of revolutionary cadres, how you were imprisoned for eight months beginning in June 1963 and how they tortured you.
Nguyen Thi Nguyet Anh:
I was an inhabitant of Da Nang. I lived with other sisters who participated in revolutionary activities. We organized clandestine activities, provided communication between the revolutionary base area and the city and carried out political struggles against the enemy.
In 1963 we killed a local despot who was the cruelest in the village of Thanh Son. We rigged a grenade in his motorcycle and it exploded, killing him. The enemy came and surrounded me at the Cho Con marketplace and arrested me there, shackling my hands up right there.
After they arrested me and a number of my friends, they tortured us extremely barbarously. They had me tortured every night around midnight. They put electrodes on my ears and turned on the electricity. I got a shock and fell down, then they pulled me up to my feet and turned on the electricity again and again I fell down.
They went on in this way, forcing me to write down on paper that I fed the Viet Cong and killed the local despot. But I refused to admit to anything in spite of all the torturing. My hatred for the enemy and my love for the country were so profound that I was determined never to supply them with any information at all. We were resolute in protecting our revolutionary infrastructures and we never volunteered any information.
And so they kept me for eight months at the Gia Long Police Headquarters, the Thanh Binh Jail and then the central prison. And during this eight months they continued with their torturing and electric shocks every night, starting around midnight.
Next to me was a young man who was subject to soap water torture every night. They poured soap water down his throat and then jumped on his belly, causing the soap water to spurt out again. Next to me on the other side was a young girl who was subjected to the same torture.
This was done while they were trying to extract information from me since it was meant to intimidate me. They were torturing these two persons on either side of me in order to frighten me into telling them what they wanted.
The young girl who was lying next to me was also tortured in this way: they were drinking beer, then all of a sudden they broke a beer bottle and thrust the broken bottle up the vagina of the girl, saying: "If you do not come out with the information, we will subject you to the same tortures as these two persons on either side of you." This meant that I would be given the soap water torture as well as having the beer bottle thrust into my vagina.
This was how cruel the tortures were under Ngo Dinh Diem and his two brothers, Ngo Dinh Can and Ngo Dinh Nhu. During the 1963 period they imprisoned me for eight months, but I refused to give them any information at all. As a result, no infrastructure in this city was disclosed.
And so, eight months later I was released. The enemy were unable to arrest anyone else besides the initial group which was arrested at the same time with me.
426, Take 1
What about your second arrest?
Nguyen Thi Nguyet Anh:
Is this a question from Elizabeth?
No, this is my question.
Nguyen Thi Nguyet Anh:
I was arrested the second time in...1966. In my house there was a girl who was a courier. She went back to her native village and on the way back to the city the secret police followed her and arrested her.
After they arrested the girl, they came to my house that night to arrest me. They arrested me and closed the door behind them. The dogs barked very fiercely. I realized that I could not escape and had to allow them to arrest me.
I knew that when the girl did not come back in time she would certainly have been arrested along the road by the secret police. So that night when they arrested me they shut me up in one place, and the girl in another place. And the first thing they did to me was to direct the glaring lights on my face, forcing me to write down my confession.
But I refused to volunteer any information. So they brought out a big and long whip and beat me on my behind and on my head repeatedly. They beat me so hard that I was knocked down to the floor. While they were beating me up, they were also roughing up two other persons, one man and one woman.
This time, while they were torturing me, there was an American adviser standing next to them. The American was as big as that and he was observing them. He was looking on while his henchmen roughed me up.
I was beaten up for twenty-one nights in succession. But I still did not give them any information at all. They forced me to confess that I had connection with the Viet Cong and worked as a smuggler of contraband into the city. I refused to make such a statement.
And so they began to insert needles into the tips of my ten fingers, saying that if I did not write down what they wanted and did not admit that I was a Viet Cong then they would continue to insert the needles.
But I was determined not to say anything at all because I was extremely angry at the enemy and I loved my country so much. This was because every day bombs and shells and the blood and bones of my people continued to appear before my eyes. Hence, my outrage was to the extreme and I would never come out with any information at all.
And so they subjected me to another form of torture. They tied my nipples to electric wires and then gave me electric shocks, knocking me to the floor every time they did that. Every time I sat up after I was knocked down, they said that if they did not get the necessary information they would continue with the torture.
There were always two American advisers standing on either side of me. On the twenty-first night of the torture, another American adviser appeared on the scene. And so the two of them were standing on either side of me while their henchmen tortured me. The Americans laughed joyfully as I was being tortured. But I refused to come out with any information at all.
After this initial torturing session, they sent me to the Gia Long police headquarters and had me tortured there, then they sent me to the interrogation center of Thanh Binh and then dispatched me to the arsenal and imprisoned me there for six months.
After six months of imprisonment and of refusing to give them any kind of information at all on our organizations and infrastructures, they released me. After I was released, I continued with my revolutionary activities until the day the city of Da Nang was liberated.

Liberation of Da Nang

527, Take 1
Nguyen Thi Nguyet Anh:
By 1975 when we attacked Quang Tri and caused the enemy to run away, the inhabitants of Quang Tri and Hue came down here and crowded into this city. On the southern front, that is on the Central Highland, the enemy was also defeated. Therefore, the entire American and puppet ranks disintegrated. Their soldiers wanted to throw away their weapons and flee.
As for us, the organizers within this city, we saw that the city inhabitants were talking a lot about the large influx of people into this city and the defeat of the enemy forces in this and that place. The inhabitants could see that a glorious victory would soon come and so they were very heartened. The American and puppet soldiers who crowded into this city were extremely worried.
By the 29th of March, 1975, I had prepared 200 Liberation Front flags in order to celebrate the liberation of the city. In fact, we had prepared for everything down to the smallest detail. Then a convoy of eighteen trucks appeared on Hoang Dieu Street, which was the street I lived on, in order to go to the countryside to bring in the revolutionary leaders such as Brother Vo Chi Cong so that they could take over the command of the city.
At that time, the American and puppet troops could not flee by air. Only a small group of generals and colonels could flee this way. The rest got log jammed here. They also could not all escape by sea. This was because the boats could take only so many passengers.
And the population who got crowded into this city took the flags which we had sewn and hoisted them up in order to welcome the Liberation forces in. When the tanks came in with a Liberation soldier sitting on top each of them waving a flag, the throngs on either side of the streets clapped and cheered.
And the puppet troops who fell into pieces in the city, stripped themselves of their uniforms, boots, and weapons and piled these things up as high as hills in the middle of the streets. They also yelled out their greetings to the Liberation Forces. The city population was very enthusiastic and was clearly overjoyed. This was because there had been twenty-four years of continuous war.
And so when peace came, the joy of the inhabitants of Da Nang was indescribable. The inhabitants lined the streets to greet the incoming tanks. They were so overjoyed that they lifted the Liberation soldiers on their shoulders like this while others tried to touch them and to take over the Liberation flags to wave them.
The American puppet armed forces disintegrated. They piled up their uniforms and weapons in big heaps and put on civilian clothes and went out there to greet the Liberation soldiers like all of us.
As for us women, our hope and desire for twenty-four years of struggle against the United States... The reason why we participated in the revolution in the first place was because our people always had to suffer a lot, the blood of your children and brothers and sisters had to shed continuously, we were forced to leave our villages and came into the city by the American destruction and repression in the countryside, our villages were razed and bulldozed over and our villagers were forced to crowd into the city to service the Americans. And so when liberation came about, it was impossible to describe the joy of the women in Da Nang. The most joyous day for us was the day the city was liberated.