Khmer Rouge Biographical Questionnaire
Introductory Note by Ben Kiernan
From 1975, with the victory of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, its membership grew in size. As the Organization (Angkar) recruited Party members, or officers of the Santebal, its secret police, most members and new recruits had to complete an eleven-page biographical form. Most of this form was taken up by thirty-two questions seeking information about the applicants family members. There were ten questions concerning the applicants spouse, four about their children, seven on the applicants parents, six on the parents-in-law, five sought information about the applicants siblings, and another five on his/her friends. (Tuol Sleng Personnel Files, copies held by Cambodian Genocide Program, Yale University, Folder 1, document 1, pp. 5-11.) Informing on ones family and friends was required behavior in the Khmer Rouge movement.
For instance, in the section of the form devoted to parents, the 14,000 Party members were asked: What kind of political, economic, material or emotional influence or attachment do they [your parents] have over you, comrade? What influence or power do you, comrade, have on your parents? In the section entitled, On Natural Children, the Security forces required prospective Party members, security police, and prison warders to state the sex and age of their children, how many of them were married and working, the nature of their occupations and their class membership, whether they had joined a political organization, whether they had joined the revolution, and the nature of their attitude or behavior toward the revolution. Applicants were asked for their revolutionary views on loving, hating and raising children. The final question was: What kind of influence, power or attachment do your children have over you, comrade? (For a slightly different translation, see Ben Kiernan, Introduction, in Dith Pran and Kim De Paul, eds.,Children of Cambodia’s Killing Fields, Yale University Press, 1997, p. xiv.)
In the Santebal archives, discovered by the Cambodian Genocide Program in 1996 and now held at the Documentation Center of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, approximately 11,000 of these and other biographical questionnaires have been located. The Santebal apparently kept a copy of a biographical form filled in by each Party member. This archive constitutes a rich lode of research material on the organization that presided over the Cambodian genocide. It is now being catalogued by the Documentation Center of Cambodia and studied by researchers of the Cambodian Genocide Program. With the help of Yale University’s Sterling Memorial Library, Cornell University Library, and the Southeast Asia Microform project (a subcommittee of the Association for Asian Studies Committee on Research Materials on Southeast Asia, administered through the Center for Research Libraries), the CGP expects microfilm copies of the full Santebal archive to become available in 1999. In the meantime, we are publishing the CGPs translation of the Khmer Rouge Biographical Questionnaire.
A Khmer Rouge Personal Life History QuestionnaireExamining the Revolutionary Biography of Comrade ______
I. About Yourself
1. Original name: Revolutionary name:
2. Place, day, month and year of birth:
3. Sex female or male? Ethnicity:
4. Married or single?
5. Occupation and original class before joining the revolution:
6. Occupation and class after joining the revolution:
7. Had you joined any political organizations prior to joining the revolution? Reason for joining these organizations…
8. When did you join the revolution? Where? Who brought you to join? Reason for joining the revolution…
9. When did you join the Kampuchean Communist Youth League (SYK), the Kampuchean Peasants Association (SKK), the Union (SHC), Democratic Workers and Laborers Association (SKPP) ? Where? Who brought you to join? Reason for joining these organizations…
10. When did you join the Party? Where? Who authorized you to join? Reason for joining the Party…
11. What position have you obtained since joining the revolution?
12. What was your educational level during the old regime? In the new regime? What diplomas do you have?
13. What kinds of people did you live and work among? workers, farmers, intellectuals, capitalists, women, monks? What is your understanding of these groups?
14. Have you studied about the revolution at a seminar or school? What did you study?
15. How many times did Angkar examine and discuss your personal biography and revolutionary lifestyle? How long did it take to both prepare and present it?
16. How clearly do you know your character? To what level? How well do you know your strengths and weaknesses? How have you changed your non-revolutionary character and weaknesses? What is the result?
II. About Your Husband or Wife, if you have one
1. Original name: Revolutionary Name:
3. Place, day, month and year of birth:
4. Occupation and original class before marriage:
5. Occupation and class after marriage:
6. Did [he/she] used to join a political organization? What is [his/her] political attitude toward the revolution?
7. Has [she/he] joined the revolution, yet? When did [she/he] join? Which organization? Currently has what position in the revolution?
8. Does [your spouse] have any political, economic or emotional influence or power over comrade [you]? To what level [extent]?
9. Do you, comrade, have any political, economic, emotional influence or power over your spouse?
10. What is your worldview about love, hatred and marriage? What kind of attachments do these have over you, comrade?
III. About Your Biological Children
1. How many children do you have? How many girls? How many boys? How old are they?
2. How many of them are working or married? What work do they do? What class are they? Have they joined any political organizations? Have they joined the revolution, yet? What is their attitude toward the revolution?
3. How many are dependent [on you] and not yet married? What do they do? Have they joined any political organizations? Have they joined the revolution, yet? What is their attitude toward the revolution?
4. What is your standpoint concerning revolutionary worldview in relation to love, hatred, and raising of children?
5. What kind of influence, power and attachment do the children have over you, comrade?
IV. About Your Biological Parents
1. Original name: father/mother Revolutionary name: father/mother
2. Ethnicity: father mother
3. Place, day, month, year of birth, age, living or deceased
4. Occupation and class:
5. Political involvement: Have they joined any political organizations? What is their attitude toward the revolution?
6. What kind of political, economic, material, emotional influence, power and attachment do they have over you, comrade?
7. What influence or power do you, comrade, have on your parents?
V. About Your Parents-in-Law
1. Original name: father-in-law/mother-in-law
Revolutionary name: father-in-law/mother-in-law
2. Place, day, month, year of birth, age, living or deceased
3. Occupation and class:
4. Political involvement: Have they joined any political organizations? What is their attitude toward the revolution?
5. What kind of political, economic, material, emotional influence, power and attachment do they have over you, comrade?
6. What influence or power do you, comrade, have on your parents-in-law?
VI. About Your Biological Siblings
1. How many siblings do you have? How many sisters? How many brothers? How old are they?
2. Occupation and class of each:
3. Political involvement: Which political organizations have they joined? Have they joined the revolution, yet? What is their attitude toward the revolution?
4. What influence or attachment do they have over you, comrade?
5. What influence do you, comrade, have over each of your biological siblings?
VII. Close Friends and Social Environment You Enjoy Outside of Revolutionary Organizations
1. What very close friends do you have? How many?
2. Occupation and social class of each:
3. Political involvement: What is the political attitude of each toward the revolution?
4. What influence do they have over you, comrade?
5. Which social setting do you most enjoy being part of: workers, farmers, intellectuals, petty bourgeoisie, capitalists, aristocrats, feudalists, foreigners? What political, economic, emotional influence do these groups have over you, comrade?