Open main menu
Memorial statute to Đặng Thùy 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 doctor. She worked as a battlefield surgeon for the People's Army of Vietnam and Vietcong during the Vietnam War. At age 27, she and another colleague were killed by a patrol from the US 4th Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment in a Free-fire zone while traveling on a trail in the Ba Tơ jungle in Quảng Ngãi Province.[1] Her wartime diaries, which chronicle the last two years of her life, attracted international attention following their publication in 2005.



One of Trâm's handwritten diaries was captured by US 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 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, but was unable to reach anyone from the Vietnamese embassy. In March 2005, he and his brother Robert - another Vietnam veteran - brought the diaries to a conference 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. 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 reached the rest of her family.[2]

In July 2005, Trâm's diaries were published in Vietnam under the title Nhật ký Đặng Thùy Trâm (Đặng Thùy Trâm's Diary (Last Night I Dreamed Of Peace)), 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.[3][4]

In August 2005, Fred and Robert Whitehurst traveled to Hanoi to meet Trâm's family. In October of that year, Trâm's family visited Lubbock, Texas to view the diaries archived at Texas Tech University Vietnam Archive,[5] and then visited Fred Whitehurst and his family.

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 linksEdit



  1. ^ Hastings, Max (2018). Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975. Harper. p. 561. ISBN 9780062405661.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 27, 2009. Retrieved December 26, 2010.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Vietcong Doctor's Diary of War, Sacrifice - OhmyNews International". Retrieved 2016-05-19.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 6, 2008. Retrieved December 26, 2010.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Vietnam Archive Archived September 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine