Basement printing press in Saigon that operated right under
French noses 1
Basement printing press in Saigon that operated right under French noses

The printing facility, also known as Cellar B, is in House No.122/8, 10 Ngo Gia Tu Street, District 10. Vietnam’s National Association of Defense Supporters used it in 1954 for printing revolutionary propaganda materials during the resistance against the French.

Today the house is a national historical monument where local and international visitors come to pay their respect.

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The small house is divided into two sections. One was used as a living area where the secret basement was built and the other was a guitar making shop used as a front to allay suspicion.

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Hong Loc, the custodian of the monument, shows the secret behind the wooden cabinet door. When the door is opened and the closet bottom pushed aside, a wooden ladder appears leading to the cellar.

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The way down to the clandestine printing press is down this ladder.

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A wax figure at a writing desk in the cellar.

This was where Vietnam’s National Association of Defense Supporters printed documents and leaflets during the French resistance.

Historical records show digging of the cellar began on February 3, 1952, and completed on May 19 the same year. It is around 11 sq.m and 1.7 m high and can accommodate 20 people.

In 1957 the association hid the cellar so it wouldn’t be found by the colonialists after one of its other facilities was compromised. Only after the country’s unification in 1975 was it restored.

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Replicas of some documents with revolutionary propaganda.

The job of core members of the association was to listen to the news on Hanoi Radio, print it and distribute around Saigon. Some was printed for internal use only.

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A typing machine the soldiers used.

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A then copying machine.

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Guitar frames served as a cover during the years the press operated clandestinely.

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There is also a well to ventilate the cellar.

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Pictures of officers and soldiers who worked at the press in Cellar B.

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A painting that recreates what the monument looked like in 1954.