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Messages from Hiroshima

Japanese version

Hanzo Suzuki (male)
'Nyushi hibaku'  / 19 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. I was stationed at Ujina-machi 10-chome as an Akatsuki Corps marine in 1945. On the day of the A-bomb I was 19 years old and heading to Yokogawa-cho. It was during the morning rush hour and I had been unable to board the streetcar, so I was walking. Some corps members who had left ahead of me were later missing, burned or killed. I escaped death behind a schoolyard bomb shelter. It was a hellish scene at the school, as the white shirts of students injured by glass fragments stained red with blood and some of the students ran about crying with burns over half their bodies. In the afternoon corps members who had left earlier arrived at Yokogawa-cho from Yokogawa Warehouse with burns over their entire bodies. Ordinary citizens and people with burn injuries gathered in the warehouse. We received word that we should send food there and take in corps members who had been burned as well as others.

From around 4:00 p.m., in order to take corps member K of Aioi and other critically burned people to Ninoshima, Island I ran all night carrying food and a stretcher. Headed for Yokogawa-cho, where a foundry pile of coke was burning red, I crossed the Kamiya-cho intersection and passed through the center of Hiroshima, which was littered with burned bodies. Then I doubled back at Yokogawa-cho to send burned corps members and others to Ujina-machi. I crossed over the Yokogawa Railway bridge as a shortcut and heard burn victims who had gathered at the base of the bridge moaning and calling out for help. But there was nothing that could be done.

I spent the next day searching for missing corps member U from Funai District in Kyoto Prefecture. "A man in military boots" was not enough to identify him amongst all the charred bodies and people with burn injuries. On the third day, I was transferred to Yokogawa-cho. Since there were no barracks, we dug a trench and made a triangle-shaped roof with some galvanized sheets we found in the ruins. I lived in that half cellar until November, when I was demobilized. My mission was to make a first aid station, although peoples' heads and feet got wet when it rained, and to accommodate burn victims and recover dead bodies. A young pregnant mother breathed her last while hugging her child close. There were a few people with burns all over their bodies in a concrete tank of water, their eyes wide open. Next to stoves, sinks and baths in the burned out ruins were charred torsos, large and small, all that remained of the people who'd been there. These people were deprived of their modest lives in a second. There was no God, no Buddha. Only sheer misery. I wondered who would ever avenge this despair.

Corps member S from Shizuoka Prefecture, who was engaged in medical service, was totally black all over. He was like human coal, able to neither to eat nor drink. He suffered a torturous death. The girl in the iron-wheeled cart with maggots on her back, the burn victim I saw being carried whose prone body had been exposed to radiation and whose hair was falling out - I wondered if they could ever survive. I wished them luck. This tragedy must never be repeated.

After demobilization, my health was badly affected. The diarrhea would not stop, my lymph glands swelled up and my liver was damaged. From March 1946 until around 1955, I consulted Dr. Kikuchi of Kyoto University at Fukuchiyama Army Hospital. Later, I was repeatedly hospitalized at Itami City Hospital, and at the Kaibara and Amagasaki Prefectural Hospitals in Hyogo Prefecture for kidney disease and cataracts. Currently I go to Amagasaki Prefectural Hospital. I now have a physical disability status of grade 3, type 1 with nursing care. I am not receiving a nursing allowance.