Ethiopia III Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

"Return to Ethiopia" Trip

September 22 - October 7, 2012

50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps in Ethiopia


October 6 - Saturday

Red Terror Museum -  Addis Ababa 


 Darrel and Betty Hagberg reluctantly visited the Red Terror Martyrís Memorial to try to understand history of the fall of Emperor Haile Selassie and of the activities of the Derg (the Committee) from 1974 until 1991. The museum is located just off Meskal Square in Addis Ababa.

The Derg was the short name for the Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces, Police, and Territorial Army, a committee of military officers that took power and ruled Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Between 1975 and 1987, the Derg imprisoned, tortured and executed tens of thousands of its perceived opponents without trial. About 400,000 died in the civil war against the Derg and another million died of starvation. The Derg rounded up many educated people and students and shot them without trial. Many students trained by the Peace Corps were a particular a target for elimination by the Derg.

 The Derg imprisoned Haile Selassie in September 1974 and later several military officers strangled him in bed in August 1975. They dumped his body into a latrine located on the Jubilee Palace Grounds. His remains were later covered over by a concrete slab. After the Red Terror, Selassie bones were eventually recovered and he was given an official funeral in 2000. He is buried in a crypt in the Holy Trinity Cathedral along side his wife in Addis Ababa (see the photo section on the Trinity Cathedral).

Even to this day, the many atrocities of the Derg are still to be uncovered and the museum continues to update the history of this tragic period of the country of Ethiopia.


(Important note: All photographs, except where mentioned,  are copyrighted as of October 8, 2012, by Darrel and Betty Hagberg. Please request permission to use and please credit them).


The entrance to the Red Terror Martyrís Memorial Museum.


A statue dedicated to the victims of the Derg.


at Our guide awaiting our visit on a quite afternoon.


Betty hesitates for a moment before entering the museum while the guide is encouraging us to enter.


Our guide explaining the seven spontaneous uprising against the Derg after they massacred many innocent people. At the time, our guide was an innocent victim of the Derg. His only crime was that he was a student. During his incarceration, he was regularly tortured.



Our guide discussing the history and lead up to the overthrow of Haile Selassie by the military.


The Derg is shown reading the arrest warrant against Haile Selassie in the Jubilee Palace.


After his arrest, Emperor Haile Selassie is humiliated by being forced to ride in his chauffer's small Volkswagen in front of Jubilee Palace.


After murdering the competition, Mengistu consolidated his power and launched the terror by declaring the opposition party as enemies of the state. Symbolic of the blood bath to come, he throws a bottle of blood before the crowd of supporters.




Exhibit  showing Pro-Derg Propaganda.


Because of a lack of support to the Derg by the United States Government, the Communists are invited into Ethiopia. Castro is delighted to help.



A Derg Military Parade in Meskal Square.


Civilian Ethiopian Communist Commissars lead troops into village after villager to eliminate potential enemies of the state.


Victims cringe before their execution.


Many bewildered victims never understood why they were selected for death.





The three military leaders of the Derg (in center photo) soon became one, Mengistu (top photo).


One of the many cells used during the Derg.


Cheaply made Russian assault rifles resulted in many deaths under the Derg.


Ethiopia First, sounds familiar!


A Communist inspired torturing technique employed throughout Ethiopia.


A simple but effective Communist invention.


Items used in torture of the victims.


Short list of torture methods used by the Derg.



The Derg tried to end freedom of speech.


Duplicating machine which helped to inspire the people of Ethiopia to revolt against the Derg.


Exhibit on a typical mass grave.


Findings from a mass grave.


A memorial to the victims.


The Communist doing what they are good at.


Victims of the Derg.


Victims of the Derg.


Victims of the Derg.


Photographs of the victims of the Derg are being added everyday.


Haunting memories of the innocent victims.


Promising futures ended by the Derg.


Members of the Derg facing the Death Sentence after the fall.


A list of the victims being read to the Derg.


A monument to the Derg still stands in Addis Addis.


Detail of the Communist  monument.


Old cannon located in Addis Ababa.


Click below for more Photos of the trip

September 22 Ethiopian Embassy Reception
September 23 Dulles Airport
September 24 Addis Ababa Airport Reception
September 24 Addis Ababa City Views
September 24 Hebir Restaurant Dinner Show - Addis Ababa
September 25 Addis Ababa City Views
September 25 Ethiopian President Welcome
September 25 Kotebe College for Teachers - Addis Ababa
September 25 US Embassy Reception
September 26 Ethnological Museum - Addis Ababa
September 26 Saint George Cathedral - Addis Ababa
September 26 Mercato Market Place - Addis Ababa
September 26 Meskel Celebrations - Addis Ababa
September 27 National Museum - Addis Ababa
September 27 Mount Entoto Overlook - Addis Ababa
September 27 Trinity Cathedral - Addis Ababa
September 27 Debre Berhan
September 28 Debre Berhan
September 28 Ankober
September 29 Lalibella and Market
September 29 Yemrehanna Kristos Church, Bilbilla
September 30 Churches of Lalibella
October 01 Stelae Field - Axum
October 01 Tombs of Kaleb and Gebre Meskel - Axum
October 01 The Enzana Stone - Axum
October 01 Queen of Sheba's Palace - Axum
October 01 Monastic Complex of Saint Mary of Zion - Axum
October 02 Mai Shum (Queen of Sheba's Swimming Pool - Axum
October 02 Fasilo Ghebbi (Royal Enclosure) - Gondar
October 02 Debre Birhan Selassie Church - Gondar
October 02 Wolieka (Falasha Village) - Gondar
October 03 Fasilidas's Pool - Gondar
October 03 Barhar Dar
October  04 Blue Nile Falls - Barhar Dar
October  04 Lake Tana - Barhar Dar
October  04 Church of Ura Kidane Mihret - Barhar Dar
October  05 Dire Dawa - Harar
October 06 Red Terror Museum - Addis Ababa
October 06 Babile - Harar - Dire Dawa
October 07 Dire Dawa
October 07 Farewell Dinner at Crown Hotel - Addis Ababa


Click below for more Ethiopia Web Site features

Map of Ethiopia and Eritrea (circa 1964)
Ethiopia III Trainees Book
In Country Assignments, 1964-1966
Photo Memories of Ethiopia
Ethiopian Art and Culture
Ethiopia III's Attending the 50th Reunion
Books on Ethiopia
Ethiopian Artifact Exhibition
Return to Home Page


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Ethiopia III Official Web Site

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Betty McLaughlin Hagberg, Web Master

Updated on 11 November 2012