29. This Holocaust Should Not Happen Again

  At 8:15 on August 6, 1945, the A-bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. It was a tragedy that we can never recall without shuddering.
Masako was a sixth grader at Oshiba Elementary School. Before the class started that morning, she was playing with her friends in the school yard. Then the bomb flashed. Instantly, her wrist and foot got burned. She frantically came home. My wife hastily treated her burns, but did not think them so bad. By that time, the conflagration had started and spread through the central part of the city. There was a rumor that another bomb would be dropped. So, we were evacuated toward Nagatsuka with our neighbors.

  In those days I was an employee at Hiroshima Telecommunication Office in the Transport Division, but on August 1, I was assigned, by the Communication Ministry, to work at Army Radio Signal Communication Regiment under Imperial Headquarters, and I was expected to work there as a temporary employee until August 15. I was on a night shift on August 5, and on the morning of the 6th, I was relieved by a man on duty, so I left my work place in the cave in Mt. Ujina. (The Communications Regiment had transferred into the cave of Mt. Ujina because of the intensified air raids.)

  I took a street car at Ujina terminal station to go home. When I came to Hiroshima Higher School(the present Senior High School attached to Hiroshima University), I noticed a bright light that flashed. After that, I experienced a lot of things to write about, but I will not refer to them since I am afraid that it would counter the point of this memorial report. I got home around 5:00 p.m.

  To my surprise, I found everything in my neighborhood, including my house, was completely burned. I could see nobody there, and was dumfounded. Then my family and neighbors came back. My wife was pushing a large cart with Masako on it. Masako's wrist and foot were burned, but we did not think her burns were very bad. We made a makeshift shack with pillars and tin plates saved from burning to prepare a place for us to stay for that day and thereafter.

  The next day, while treating her burns, my wife noticed something white in Masako's hair. Looking more closely, she found that a fragment of slate had pierced her head. (The slate roof was blown down and hit her head, and its fragment pierced her head.) I took her, on my back, to a first-aid station in Oshiba Elementary School and tried to get a doctor to see her. However, there was no doctor there and only a few nurses were treating hundreds of the injured. We had no choice but to wait for an army surgeon to come. They told us that he would come a few days later.

  While we were staying at school, the air-raid warnings were often issued. Every time we heard air-raid warning, I put Masako on my back to evacuate into the air-raid shelter in the school yard. Some injured suddenly stopped talking and expired. Many were infested with maggots on their backs.
On August 12, an army surgeon finally came to treat us. After examining her, he said that the fragment of cement had pierced so deeply, that she was likely to suffer meningitis even after it was taken out. Anyhow, we had a doctor take it out of her injury. After that operation she was well for a few days, but around the 16th, purple spots began to appear on her neck, and her gums began to bleed. She gradually lost her consciousness and finally passed away at the age of 12. It was on August 21.

  The A-bomb is a murderous weapon which science has developed. It could indiscriminately annihilate human beings, whether they are combatants or noncombatants. I strongly hope such a holocaust as the A-bombing would not happen again.

Written by Asaaki Yoshida (Itsukaichi-cho, Saiki-gun)

Death in the Atomic boming :
Masako Yoshida (a sixth grader at Oshiba Elementary School)