HOF006: Dourn Sam

Born on 1953 in Battambang, Cambodia, Dourn was born from a family with a military history, which meant he had to hide this information from the Khmer Rouge or risk punishment for him and his family. When asked by a fellow villager to escape towards the Thai border, he agreed. During their escape, he and his companions witnessed first hand the horrors of land mines, to which some of his own party succumbed.

Once he arrived into Thailand, the Thai officials distrusted him and imprisoned him as a prisoner of war for accusations of being affiliated with the Khmer Rouge. He was tortured and beaten an inch from his life. He was sent to the local hospital and soon after, the American Red Cross arrived at the camp and negotiated his release.

In 1978, he applied for refugee status with the Canadian officials and three months later, he found himself on a plane to Ottawa. He remembers fondly of his relationships in his earlier years in Canada and has since married with two children.