The image of a suicide soldier holding a lunge mine, ready to destroy enemy tanks. Photo courtesy of the organiser
HÀ NỘI — In 1946, the streets of Hà Nội were the scene of 60 days of intense fighting between revolutionaries under President Hồ Chí Minh and the French colonial forces. Now, an exhibition on the battle is being broadcast on the social media channels of the Hỏa Lò Prison.
According to the organiser, the exhibition, which is called Lời Thề Quyết Tử (The Vow of Fighting to the Death), is to celebrate Việt Nam's Cultural Heritage Day on November 23, the 75th anniversary of the National Resistance Day on December 19, and 77 years since the establishment of the Việt Nam People's Army on December 22.
The exhibition consists of three main themes: “Hồ Chí Minh’s appeal for national resistance”, “Hà Nội standing up” and “Forward to Hà Nội”.
Responding to President Hồ Chí Minh’s call for resistance, the people of the capital rose up to fight against the French. The army and people of Hà Nội fought bitterly to achieve the country's independence.
The scene has been painstakingly recreated, from anti-vehicle obstacles made of tables, chairs, doors and sandbags, to the chiselled walls creating secret paths, house-to-house, through the heart of the city.
These walls are imprinted with slogans written by soldiers and people: "Live and die with the capital", "It is better to die with honour than to live with shame", "Forever Thăng Long – Hà Nội".
Placed in the most solemn position is the image of a suicide soldier, standing ready with a lunge mine to destroy enemy tanks.
The event will be broadcast until the end of March 2022 on the prison museums Facebook page, as well as on the exclusive radio channel "Time travel" on Spotify and Apple Podcast.
Hỏa Lò Prison was constructed between 1886 and 1901 and was originally named Maison Centrale. It was considered one of the three most savage prisons in Việt Nam, along with Côn Đảo and Sơn La prisons.
Hỏa Lò was designed to hold around 500 prisoners; however, by the 1930s, the number of prisoners had soared to approximately 2,000. Most of them were political prisoners.
Between 1964 and 1973 the prison was used to house hundreds of American pilots who were shot down during bombing raids against North Việt Nam, including John McCain, former US Presidential candidate, and Douglas Peter Peterson, who later became the first US ambassador to Việt Nam.
In 1993 the government retained part of Hỏa Lò Prison to transform it into a museum.
Hỏa Lò Prison, which has also gone by the monikers 'Hell on Earth'; 'The School for Patriots' and the 'Hanoi Hilton', is located at 1 Hỏa Lò Street, in the centre of Hà Nội.
The prison gained notoriety as a French prison for political prisoners.
There is a memorial monument dedicated to the Vietnamese patriots and revolutionary fighters who were interned at the prison.
This is also a 'Red Address' to educate Vietnamese people from all walks of life, especially the younger generations, on the patriotic and revolutionary traditions of those who sacrificed for the sake of the nation’s independence and freedom.
The exhibition runs till the end of March at Hỏa Lò Prison relic site, No 1 Hỏa Lò Street in downtown Hà Nội VNS