Forty years have past since the signing of the Paris peace accords in January of 1973 and for the Americans, the war in Vietnam had come to a close. With the agreement finalized the repatriation of all prisoners of war would now commence. This included not only the 700 plus Americans held in Hanoi and at Loc Ninh, but also the thousands of NVA (North Vietnam Regular Army) and VC (Viet Cong) captives held by the South Vietnamese Army. To the people of Vietnam, from both the South and North, the safe return of their prisoners was just as important to them as was the return of the American prisoners to us.
Photographs in this collection document the camps and repatriation of enemy prisoners of war held by South Vietnamese government. The majority of captives, over 30,000, were held at Phu Quoc Interment Camp, an enormous facility on the island Phu Quoc, 30 miles off the coast of South Vietnam. The images depict daily life in the camp, intimate photographs of prisoners, and the documentation of their eventual repatriation to the North. Once the process of repatriation began, (it occurred at numerous locations in South Vietnam for the Viet Cong), the North Vietnamese Army Regulars were released at the Demilitarized Zone which bordered the Thach Han River in Quang Tri Province.
Once released to the North and reissued NVA uniforms it became readily apparent to us present that within short order these able bodied, former prisoners would once again be ready to fight another day. With the fall of Saigon two years later there’s no doubt that some of these former Prisoner's of War were there to see that day.
Technical Data: Cameras: Nikon FTN, Nikon Nikomat: Lenses: Nikkor 24mm to 200mm; Films Kodak Plus-X, Kodak Tri-X. Developer, Kodak D-76