Henry Nelson: Becoming Minnesotan

Male silhouette.

One of 13 children, Henry Nelson was born Chaophan Raksmey in 1954 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In 1975, he was a student living in Battambang. The Khmer Rouge came into town and captured his father who was a captain in the army. He is presumed to have been executed. Nelson and his remaining family members were sent out into the jungle with the rest of the village and made to work in work camps. He survived multiple attempts on his life before escaping to Thailand. Nelson worked with the Vietnamese and other groups as an interpreter. He came to the United States in 1982 and was eventually reunited with one sister in Minnesota. Nelson changed his name several times while on the run from the Khmer Rouge; he took the name Henry Nelson when he became a U.S. citizen.

Full interview

  • Full name - Henry Nelson
  • Age - 38
  • Date of interview - 08.13.1992
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Refugee
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