HOF072: Nguyen Ngoc Duy

Nguyen Ngoc Duy grew up in the countryside in the central Vietnam province of Quang Ngai, where life was in constant upheaval due to the war. After the Tet Offensive in 1968, when his father had to briefly go into hiding or risk death, the family decided to seek safety in the south.

Two years after the fall of Saigon, the 17-year-old Nguyen was called to do military service. He decided to go underground instead, seeking protection from fellow Catholic parishioners and scrounging for food during a period of widespread shortage. During those three years in hiding, Nguyen also tried to join efforts to escape the country, offering his services to organizers and even reluctantly taking his mother’s wedding jewellery that she had given him. His mother had said to him: “these are the last pieces of my wedding souvenirs, son, please make sure they buy your freedom”.