Hiroshima Bombing Accounts

HIROSHIMA_WITNESS_No.1-1

 

The first atomic bomb actually used in war time was dropped

on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 killing 130,000 to 150,000 people

by the end of the year. Those who survived the bombing are

rapidly aging now at struggling for many years. The Hiroshima

Peace and Culture Foundation has decided the new video tape, the

testimony of 108 bomb victims to commemorate the International

Peace Year 1986 to record the precious experiences of these

survivors to be handed down to the future generations.

Mr. Hiroshi Sawachika was 28 years old when the bomb was

dropped. He was an army doctor stationed at the army

headquarters in Ujina. When he was exposed, he was inside the

building at the headquarters, 4.1 km from the hypocenter. Being

rather far from the hypocenter, he was not seriously injured.

Afterwards, he was very busy getting medical treatment to the

survivors.

MR. SAWACHIKA : I was in my office. I had just entered the room

and said "Good morning." to colleagues and I was about to

approach my desk when outside it suddenly turned bright red. I

felt very hot on my cheeks. Being the chief of the room, I

shouted to the young men and women in the room that they should

evacuate. As soon as I cried, I felt weightless as if I were an

astronaut. I was then unconscious for 20 or 30 seconds. When I

came to, I realized that everybody including myself was lying at

one side of the room. Nobody was standing. The desks and chairs

had also blown off to one side. At the windows, there was no

window glass and the window frames had been blown out as well. I

went to the windows to find out where the bombing had taken

place. And I saw the mushroom cloud over the gas company. The

sound and shock somehow suggested that the bomb had been dropped

right over the gas company. I still had no idea what had

happened. And I kept looking towards the gas company. After a

while, I realized that my white shirt was red all over. I

thought it was funny because I was not injured at all. I looked

around and then realized that the girl lying near by was heavily

injured, with lots of broken glass stuck all over her body. Her

blood had splashed and made stains on my shirt. In a few

minutes, I heard my name called. I was told to go to the

headquarters where there were lots of injured persons waiting. I

went there and I started to give treatment with the help of

nurses and medical course men. We first treated the office

personnel for their injuries. Most of them had broken glass and

pieces of wood stuck into them. We treated them one after

another. Afterwards, we heard the strange noise. It sounded as

if a large flock of mosquitoes were coming from a distance. We

looked out of the window to find out what was happening. We saw

that citizens from the town were marching towards us. They

looked unusual. We understood that the injured citizens were

coming towards us for treatment. But while, we thought that

there should be Red Cross Hospitals and another big hospitals in

the center of the town. So why should they come here, I

wondered, instead of going there. At that time, I did not know

that the center of the town had been so heavily damaged. After a

while, with the guide of the hospital personnel, the injured

persons reached our headquarters. With lots of injured people

arriving, we realized just how serious the matter was. We

decided that we should treat them also. Soon afterwards, we

learned that many of them had badly burned. As they came to us,

they held their hands aloft. They looked like they were ghosts.

We made the tincture for that treatment by mixing edible peanut

oil and something. We had to work in a mechanical manner in

order to treat so many patients. We provided one room for the

heavily injured and another for the slightly injured. A

treatment was limited to the first aid because there were no

facilities for the patients to be hospitalized. Later on, when I

felt that I could leave the work to other staff for a moment, I

walked out of the treatment room and went into the another room

to see what had happened. When I stepped inside, I found the

room filled with the smell that was quite similar to the smell of

dried squid when it has been grilled. The smell was quite

strong. It's a sad reality that the smell human beings produce

when they are burned is the same as that of the dried squid when

it is grilled. The squid - we like so much to eat. It was a

strange feeling, a feeling that I had never had before. I can

still remember that smell quite clearly. Afterwards, I came back

to the treatment room and walked through the roads of people who

were either seriously injured or waiting to be treated. When I

felt someone touch my leg, it was a pregnant woman. She said

that she was about to die in a few hours. She said, "I know that

I am going to die. But I can feel that my baby is moving inside.

It wants to get out of the room. I don't mind if I had died.

But if the baby is delivered now, it does not have to die with

me. Please help my baby live." There were no obstetricians

there. There was no delivery room. There was no time to take

care of her baby. All I could do was to tell her that I would

come back later when everything was ready for her and her baby.

Thus I cheered her up and she looks so happy. But I have to

return to the treatment work. So I resumed to work taking care

of the injured one by one. There were so many patients. I felt

as if I was fighting against the limited time. It was late in

the afternoon towards the evening. And image of that pregnant

woman never left my mind. Later, I went to the place where I had

found her before, she was still there lying in the same place. I

patted her on the shoulder, but she said nothing. The person

lying next to her said that a short while ago, she had become

silent. I still recalled this incident partly because I was not

able to fulfill the last wish of this dying young woman. I also

remember her because I had a chance to talk with her however

short it was.

INTERVIEWER : How many patients did you treat on August 6?

ANSWER : Well, at least 2 or 3 thousands on that very day if you

include those patients whom I gave all directions to. I felt

that as if once that day started, it never ended. I had to keep

on and on treating the patients forever. It was the longest day

of my life. Later on, when I had time to reflect on that day, I

came to realize that we, doctors learned a lot through the

experience, through the suffering of all those people. It's true

that the lack of medical knowledge, medical facilities,

integrated organization and so on prevented us from giving

sufficient medical treatment. Still there was a lot for us,

medical doctors to learn on that day. I learned that the nuclear

weapons which gnaw the minds and bodies of human beings should

never be used. Even the slightest idea using nuclear arms should

be completely exterminated the minds of human beings. Otherwise,

we will repeat the same tragedy. And we will never stop being

ashamed of ourselves.

--

Gary S. Trujillo gst@gnosys.svle.ma.us

Somerville, Massachusetts

90/07/30 10:39:26 SYSOP HIROSHIMA_WITNESS_No.2-1

 

Mr. Akira Onogi was 16 years old when the bomb was dropped.

He was at home 1.2 km away from center of explosion. The house

was under the shade of the warehouse, which protected him from

the first blast. All five members of the Onogi family

miraculously survived in immediate fire at their house.

MR. ONOGI : I was in the second year of junior high school and

was mobilized work with my classmates at the Eba Plant,

Mitsubishi shipbuilding. On the day when A-bomb was dropped, I

happened to be taking the day off and I was staying at home. I

was reading lying on the floor with a friend of mine. Under the

eaves I saw blue flash of light just like a spark made by a train

or some short circuit. Next, a stemlike blast came.

INTERVIEWER : From which direction?

ANSWER : Well, I'm not sure, anyway, when the blast came, my

friend and I were blown into another room. I was unconscious for

a while, and when I came to, I found myself in the dark.

Thinking my house was directly hit by a bomb, I removed red soil

and roof tiles covering me by hand and for the first time I saw

the sky. I managed to go out to open space and I looked around

wondering what my family were doing. I found that all the houses

around there had collapsed for as far as I could see.

INTERVIEWER : All the houses?

ANSWER : Yes, well, I couldn't see anyone around me but I heard

somebody shouting "Help! Help!" from somewhere. The cries were

actually from underground as I was walking on. Since no choose

were available, I'd just dug out red soil and roof tiles by hand

to help my family; my mother, my three sisters and a child of one

of my sisters. Then, I looked next door and I saw the father of

neighboring family standing almost naked. His skin was peeling

off all over his body and was hanging from finger tips. I talked

to him but he was too exhausted to give me a reply. He was

looking for his family desperately. The person in this picture

was a neighbor of us. I think the family's name was the

Matsumotos. When we were escaping from the edge of the bridge,

we found this small girl crying and she asked us to help her

mother. Just beside the girl, her mother was trapped by a fallen

beam on top of the lower half of her body. Together with

neighbors, we tried hard to remove the beam, but it was

impossible without any tools. Finally a fire broke out

endangering us. So we had no choice but to leave her. She was

conscious and we deeply bowed to her with clasped hands to

apologize to her and then we left. About one hour later, it

started raining heavily. There were large drops of black rain.

I was wearing a short sleeve shirt and shorts and it was

freezing. Everybody was shivering. We warmed ourselves up

around the burning fire in the middle of the summer.

INTERVIEWER : You mean the fire did not distinguish by the rain?

ANSWER : That's right. The fire didn't subside it at all. What

impressed my very strongly was a 5 or 6 year-old-boy with his

right leg cut at the thigh. He was hopping on his left foot to

cross over the bridge. I can still record this scene very

clearly. The water of the river we looking at now is very clean

and clear, but on the day of bombing, all the houses along this

river were blown by the blast with their pillars, beams and

pieces of furniture blown into the river or hanging off the

bridges. The river was also filled with dead people blown by the

blast and with survivors who came here to seek water. Anyway I

could not see the surface of the water at all. Many injured

people with peeled skin were crying out for help. Obviously they

were looking at us and we could hardly turn our eyes toward the

river.

INTERVIEWER : Wasn't it possible to help them?

ANSWER : No, there were too many people. We took care of the

people around us by using the clothes of dead people as bandages,

especially for those who were terribly wounded. By that time we

somehow became insensible all those awful things. After a while,

the fire reached the river bank and we decided to leave the

river. We crossed over this railway bridge and escaped in the

direction along the railway. The houses on both sides of the

railroad were burning and railway was the hollow in the fire. I

thought I was going to die here. It was such an awful

experience. You know for about 10 years after bombing I always

felt paralyzed we never saw the sparks made by trains or

lightning. Also even at home, I could not sit beside the windows

because I had seen so many people badly wounded by pieces of

glass. So I always sat with the wall behind me for about 10

years. It was some sort of instinct to self-preservation.

--

Gary S. Trujillo gst@gnosys.svle.ma.us

Somerville, Massachusetts

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