T HE only person to have taken film footage of the Khmer Rouge takeover of Phnom
Penh on April 17, l975 is back in town for the first time in 20
Christophe Froehder of the German ARD television network is in
Cambodia to produce a documentary centered on the upcoming 20th anniversary of
the fateful event that brought about the almost four year Khmer Rouge reign of
Froehder visited Cambodia three times during the Lon Nol era as
an ARD TV journalist. His last visit had him arriving in Phnom Penh on April 14,
l975 on the final flight from Thailand before regular air service to Bangkok was
cut off. At that time he was the only passenger on the plane.
I'd been in war zones before," says Froehder. "I just got off the plane, got my
camera out and started shooting."
Froehder spent three days in Phnom Penh
and captured on film the arrival of the first Khmer Rouge cadre driving down the
streets of Phnom Penh before he sought refuge in the French Embassy compound,
along with other foreigners who remained in the capital.
eventually driven to the Thai border and released by the Khmer
Since his recent arrival in Phnom Penh, Froehder has been
attempting to locate some of the people he filmed two decades ago.
To his great surprise he found Hok Bo, 53, a fireman who like all Phnom Penh
residents was forced to leave the city. Bo survived the Khmer Rouge era and
returned to take up his previous position with the city's fire department, where
he has continued to work.