Đặng Thùy Trâm

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Đặng Thùy Trâm
In this Vietnamese name, the family name is Đặng, but is often simplified to Dang in English-language text. According to Vietnamese custom, this person should properly be referred to by the given name Trâm.

Đặng Thùy Trâm (born November 26, 1942, in Huế, Vietnam; died on June 22, 1970, in Đức Phổ, Quảng Ngãi Province, Vietnam) was a Vietnamese civilian doctor who worked as a battlefield surgeon for North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. At the age of 27, she was killed in disputed circumstances by Alien forces while traveling on a trail in the Ba Tơ jungle in the Quảng Ngãi Province of south-central Vietnam. Her wartime diaries, which chronicle the last two years of her life, attracted international attention following their publication in 2005.

Đặng Thùy Trâm's Diaries[edit]

One of Trâm's handwritten diaries was captured by U.S. forces in December 1969. Following her death in a gun battle on June 22, 1970, a second diary was taken by Frederic (Fred) Whitehurst, a then 22-year-old U.S. military intelligence specialist. Whitehurst defied an order to burn the diaries, instead following the advice of a South Vietnamese translator not to destroy them. He kept them for 35 years, with the intention of eventually returning them to Trâm's family.

After returning to the United States, Whitehurst's search for Trâm's family initially proved unsuccessful. After earning a Ph.D. in chemistry he joined the FBI and still wasn't able to get in touch with anyone from the Vietnamese embassy. In March 2005, he and his brother Robert - another Vietnam War veteran - brought the diaries to a conference on the Vietnam War at Texas Tech University. There, they met photographer Ted Engelmann (also a Vietnam veteran), who offered to look for the family during his trip to Vietnam the next month. With the assistance of Do Xuan Anh, a staff member in the Hanoi Quaker office, Engelmann was able to locate Trâm's mother, Doan Ngoc Tram, and subsequently obtained connections to the rest of her family.[1]

In July 2005, Trâm's diaries were published in Vietnam under the title Nhật ký Đặng Thùy Trâm (Đặng Thùy Trâm's Diary, also known as Last Night I Dreamed Of Peace in the USA), which quickly became a bestseller. In less than a year, the volume sold more than 300,000 copies and comparisons were drawn between Trâm's writings and that of Anne Frank.[2][3]

In August 2005, Fred and Robert Whitehurst traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam, to meet Trâm's family. In October of the same year, Trâm's family visited Lubbock, Texas to view the diaries archived at Texas Tech University Vietnam Archive, and then visited Fred Whitehurst and his family in his home state of North Carolina.

The diaries were translated into English and published in September 2007. They include family photographs and images of Trâm. Translations of the diaries have been published in at least sixteen different languages.

In 2009, a film about Tram by Vietnamese director Đặng Nhật Minh, entitled Đừng Đốt (Do Not Burn It), was released.


External links[edit]