CAMP 14 - Total Control Zone


“Our sole purpose was to follow the rules of the work camp and then die.  People on the outside call this place the “Total Control Zone”.  We knew nothing of the outside.  All we knew was that our parents and our forefathers were guilty and we had to work hard in order to make up for it.  Sometimes new people entered the camp but I never saw anyone pardoned for their crime and allowed leave.  So none of us thought we would ever leave this place.  Sometimes people tried to escape, driven by fear of starving or being beaten, but they were publicly executed and became the object of hate for those of us who were left behind.”

Shin Dong Huyk

Shin Dong-Huyk was born November 19th 1983 as a political prisoner in an northcorean reeducation camp. He was a child of two prisoners who have been maried by order of the wardens. He spent his his entire chi ldhood and youth  in camp 14, in truth a death camp. Forced labor since he was six years old, hunger, beatings and torture. Always at the mercy of the wardens. He knew nothing of the world outside the barbed-wire fences. He thinks everybody is living in that way.  At the age of 23, with the help of an older prisoner, he succeeds in escaping. For months he journeys through North Korea and China and f inally to South Korea, where he encounters a world completely strange to him.

Camp 14 – Total Control Zone reveals  the dramatic live of  Shin. Animations bring Shin’s memories to life and Director Marc Wiese was able to get two former north corean high officers,  who were involved in the prison camp system, to testimony in front of the camera:

Hyuk Kwon commanded the guards in Camp 22, where he abused, tortured and killed. The prisoners were enemies of the state in his eyes; they could be killed like animals. He got an extra ration of meat and two bottles of alcohol for every execution. Kwon filmed exclusive footage inside the camp.

Oh Yangnam worked for the secret police service in North Korea, where he arrested hundreds of people und deported them to the camps. The deportations were followed by interrogations and torture. Oh now lives in South Korea and the thought of a reunification scares him. The former victims of his torture     might come and find him, he says.

Today Shin lives in South Corea, He colaborates with tze human righjts organisation LINK and travels from time to time to interbnational coinferences. But till today he didn’t arrive in the free world. His sould is still imprisoned.  When Shin is lonely he sometimes wishes he could go back. Back to North Korea and back to the structured life inside the camp.