Exhibition Honoring Martyrs Held at Hoa Lo Prison Relics

This exhibition honors the 76th anniversary of Vietnam War Invalids and Martyrs Day (July 27, 1947 - 2023) with a showcase of photographs.

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The Hoa Lo Prison Relic Site is currently hosting a captivating thematic exhibition titled “Green Sprouts on the Rocks”. This extraordinary exhibition is set to run until September 30, offering visitors a unique and thought-provoking experience. Immerse yourself in the compelling narrative of this exhibition and discover the fascinating stories it has to offer.

The inaugural ceremony took place on July 20, featuring esteemed individuals such as former revolutionary inmates of Hoa Lo Prison and veterans who valiantly fought in Vietnam’s historic battles – both the anti-French war (1945-1954) and the anti-American war (1954-1975).

 The opening ceremony of the thematic exhibition at the Hoa Lo Prison Relic Site was held on July 20. Photo courtesy of the Relic Site

Gratitude to Vietnamese heroes and fallen soldiers

The exhibition has been meticulously organized to honor the sacrifices made by heroes in the pursuit of our nation’s independence and freedom. Its purpose is to instill a sense of national pride and impart valuable knowledge about the patriotic traditions of Vietnam to the younger generation.

During the opening ceremony of the exhibition, visitors at Hoa Lo Prison were able to witness a captivating depiction of the actions carried out by Hanoi students during the anti-French resistance war in Hanoi from 1949 to 1950.

Over the course of this period, numerous students from Hanoi actively participated in the patriotic movement, notably the Bat Sat Youth Intelligence Team.

The exhibition features three distinct sections: “Youth in the Prion,” “The Flames in the Southern City,” and “Unforgettable Memories.”

The “Youth in Prison” exhibit showcases a collection of historical documents and compelling images that recount the poignant experiences of the courageous teenagers belonging to the Bat Sat Youth Intelligence Team. Operating from December 19, 1946, till mid-1948, these individuals faced tremendous challenges within the prison system.

A re-enactment depicting the patriotic movements of Hanoi students during the French Resistance War 1945-1954. Photo: Hoa Lo Prison Relic Site

“The Flames in the Southern City” showcases compelling content focusing on the historical context of the anti-American war in South Vietnam, prior to 1975. During this period, passionate and patriotic students from the Southern region actively participated in numerous anti-war initiatives, including class strikes, demonstrations, and impactful musical performances, all advocating for peace within the nation.”

“The collection of ‘Unforgettable Memories’ comprises compelling images that capture the remarkable bravery and resilience displayed by the Vietnamese army and people during two challenging wars, as they fought relentlessly for the unification and territorial integrity of our nation.”

The Hoa Lo Prison, established in 1886 by French colonialists, was renowned as one of Vietnam’s most severe penitentiaries, alongside Con Dao and Son La prisons. Within its walls, numerous Vietnamese patriots were imprisoned, and tragically lost their lives, while steadfastly fighting for their country’s independence, freedom, and lasting peace.

The current Hoa Lo Prison Relic Site, situated in the Hoan Kiem District of Hanoi, is hosting a public thematic exhibition in its courtyard. Visitors are welcome to attend and explore the exhibition.

 The space of the exhibition. Photo: Hoa Lo Prison Relic Site

There is an interesting phenomenon happening in Hanoi, Vietnam. Children, often called “little spies”, are becoming integral participants in the surveillance of their neighborhoods. They quietly gather information about their surroundings and report back to the adults in their communities.

The Bat Sat Youth Intelligence Team is renowned as the inaugural army of young scouts in the history of Vietnam.

The Formation of the Hanoi Intelligence Team in 1947

During the temporary occupation of Hanoi by the French in 1947, a group of young Vietnamese individuals were selected and trained to gather crucial information in the area. Initially consisting of just five members, this group eventually grew into a substantial intelligence team located in the heart of the capital.

The aforementioned group of courageous youths adeptly navigated through perilous enemy lines and triumphantly fulfilled their assigned missions. Regrettably, numerous individuals from this brave cohort were apprehended and incarcerated by the French colonialists at Hoa Lo prison.

According to Pham Thang, author of the book “Teenage Intelligence Team” (Kim Dong Publishing House, Reprinted in 2021), the Bat Sat team achieved numerous significant accomplishments over its two years of service. These achievements included the establishment of revolutionary bases within the families of intellectuals, workers, and students in Hanoi, gathering secret enemy information, providing guidance for commanders, and more.

The cover of the book “Teenage Intelligence Team”, Kim Dong Publishing House, Reprinted in 2021

On the night of February 19, 1946, five members of the Bat Sat team – Tran Van, Tran Van Thuc, Tran Van Sam (Tran Van Thuc’s younger brother), Pham Thang, and a boy named Chuc – embarked on a daring journey to Hanoi. Armed with nothing more than a small compass and limited provisions, these individuals displayed great courage.

According to Thang’s book, the youths encountered challenges while navigating through the uneven and wet surroundings of the muddy rice fields. They often slipped and stumbled upon morning glory beds, while the oldest boy even got trapped in a deep muddy field and misplaced his compass.

Reflecting on the momentous occasion, Thang expressed his gratitude, stating, “We were immensely honored to partake in such a remarkable undertaking. Despite our tender age, we were filled with boundless exhilaration akin to embarking on a thrilling quest.”

As a matter of fact, we experienced occasional apprehension, characterized by childlike fears of misplacing our compass, becoming disoriented, or encountering malevolent forces.

The accomplishments of the Bat Sat Youth Intelligence Team were later documented by Pham Thang in the renowned children’s history book titled “Teenage Intelligence Team”. Initially published in 1976.

The book has been reprinted numerous times since its initial release and has gained a reputation as one of Vietnam’s most beloved children’s history books.