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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Tsutomu Umegaki (male)
'Chokubaku'  1.7 km from the hypocenter / 16 years old at the time / current resident of Hyogo

The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages. We mobilized students who had gone to the factory suddenly found ourselves being hurried back to school. It was about noon on the 6th (4 hours after the atom bomb had been dropped) when we arrived back at our alma mater. We were speechless. The school building and the dormitory, which had been the center of our life until that morning, were completely burned to the ground. Scattered among pieces of the outline of the buildings' concrete foundations were roof tiles, which during that time had been burned reddish brown on one side. I recall that as I looked carefully through the rubble, I spotted bone fragments among it.

I was ordered to go to the Women's Higher Normal School in Senda-machi to assist the rescue efforts there, but it was a disastrous scene - the ground covered here and there with pupils who had collapsed from greivous injuries, as well as pupils trapped moaning beneath the school. Soon after, the approach of roaring flames forced us to flee. Just at the end I managed to escape carrying one of the students across my back.

Searching for my classmates, I went into the city. There were bodies piled up in the river and in the fire cisterns. The moans of victims rose out of Mt Hiji's many air-raid shelters, and the cries of the injured gave me the feeling that the whole mountain was groaning in agony.

I would like to make this appeal to the next generation. I want you to break with the status quo, in which the Japanese government won't take the lead in bringing about the total elimination of nuclear weapons because the American government tells it not to. And I want you to put a stop to that movement which is trying to change the Japanese Constitution for the worse. We older generation, the victims of the atom bomb, are growing weaker and can't accomplish everything we want to do. But with whatever small power remains to us, we will keep fighting for the total abolition of nuclear weapons for as long as we live.