Bas Relief at Hoa Loa, Hanoi Hilton Prison - The original purpose of Hoa Loa Prison or the "Hanoi Hilton"
was for the French colonial system detaining of Vietnamese criminals which usually meant anti-colonial activists seen as heroes by the Vietnamese’.The prisoners themselves named it Hoa Lo meaning 'fiery furnace”. After the French left it was used to incarcerate a new line of inmates. During the American War, US forces pilots were detained in the during its period serving as a prisoner of war camp. During the Vietnam War the prison got a new nickname: the Hanoi Hilton. Memoirs by former inmates speak of torture, murder and medical neglect. The Vietnamese maintain that American prisoners were well treated. Surviving the Hanoi Hilton boosted the career of US Republican Senator from Arizona John McCain.