Special schools in prison

An exhibition being held at Hoa Lo Prison Relic, is displaying special documents and artifacts, sparking admiration of the resilience and will of Vietnam’s revolutionary soldiers, who overcame the hardships of life in a colonial prison and turned it into a surreptitious place of learning.



This is a foreign language book Nguyen Tien Ha, whose real name is Tran Huu Thoa, used to teach during his imprisonment at Hoa Lo Prison in 1951 and 1952. Active in the revolution prior to 1945, Ha is 93 years old this year but still clearly remembers the revolutionary activities held in this “hell on earth”, where he taught History, English, and French to fellow inmates.

Le Van Ba, whose real name is Tran Khac Can, has papers from a secret operation in Hanoi in 1953-1954, including an ID card with a fake name, Hoang Dinh Tam.

In many places fitting the description “hell on earth”, classes were opened under the leadership of the Party branch: “School behind bars” at Hoa Lo Prison, “School in the mountains” at Son La Prison, “School in the middle of the sea” at Con Dao Prison, and “School on the sand” at the Phu Quoc Detention Center. All had a key role to play in raising spirits and turning prisons into schools for revolutionary soldiers.

In an inaugural program, the Hoa Lo Prison Relic Management Board has also launched a support program for children in the Hope Class at the National Hospital of Paediatrics, to promote a love of knowledge among children in difficult circumstances.

The exhibition will run until December 30 at Hoa Lo Prison in Hanoi./.