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Testimonies from Hiroshima

By Sakhal

In the Hell Pit

What happened in the "hell pit" of Hiroshima? Testimonies gathered during the subsequent years were numerous, but few of them were in situation of giving an idea of the cataclysm provoked by the atomic explosion. In the moment that clocks indicated 8:15 hours in the morning, the bomb exploded at 660 meters over the center of the city "a fireball more than hundred meters diameter". Contrarily to was said in many of the first descriptions, those that were under the fireball didn't hear any noise. Actually, nobody was sure of what they had seen. To some the fireball seemed blue, while pink, red or brown to others. The heat emanated from the fireball melted the granite on the ground in a radius of at least one kilometer from the "zero point". According to scientists, this heat could raise to almost 300000 Celsius degrees. This fire had a maximum duration of a fraction of second, but the heat continued being lethal. The effects of this fire were the least predictable ones. If a person was next to a wall, the light printed his/her silhouette on the wall. An instant after the explosion, a thunder followed, causing the total destruction. In a radius of at least three kilometers, in a fraction of second everything exploded and collapsed. Out of this area, some survivors could refer to their rescuers what they had seen and heard. Captain Hiseo Sematoo, in a testimony gathered by John Toland, was removing his boots in his bureau, one kilometer away from the "first circle". The building fell upon him and immediately was surrounded by flames. He had a terrible fear of ending his days charred, after having survived in Manchuria, China, Singapore, Malaca and New Guinea. He raised his eyes towards the sky and saw a yellow whirlwind that skyrocketed towards the athmosphere. Then he looked down, and the ground appeared totally flat so far as his sight could reach. "Everything had disappeared, even the high Castle of Hiroshima and the huge Headquarters of the 2nd Army". Then he went out and headed towards the Ota river. There he found hundreds of persons with their hair and skin carbonized. They were the patients of the military hospital. With them were the nurses, who desperately and vainly tried to do something to help them. Not far from the district on which the catholic church was, 350 girls were surprised by the explosion when they were working outdoors. They were the students of a feminine school, and had their heads uncovered. The ones that looked towards the lightning were doomed. One of them covered her face with her arms and probably went unconscious, since she remained in that position during some time. When she recovered, she discovered that everything had changed in the surrounding world. There was no living beings nor standing buildings, but only a sea of debris. All her clothes had disappeared with the exception of a piece of underwear that was flaming in one of her sides. She tried to extinguish the flames hitting them with her hand, and discovered that the skin of her hands came off.

The man that was nuked two times

Engineer Enemon Kawaguki was known by his energy in the entirety of the immense Mitsubishi factory. At his fourty years he seemed indefatigable and never had stopped practicing sports, not even in the moments in which the work was overwhelming. That morning he was already in his bureau when the noise of an aircraft distracted him. It was certainly an American bomber, and despite the sirens hadn't been activated, the workers of the factory were already approaching the shelters. Kawaguki was getting late when he was shocked by an unexpected blaze. Later, when he would try to give an answer to many interrogants, he was never able to explain what had happened. Probably he had lost consciousness. Or maybe he was deafened by the extreme agitation of the air. He was almost five kilometers far from the "zero point" and suddenly he found himself naked in the middle of a factory unexpectedly deserted, where flames arised tall and furious. The engineer discovered that he was wounded - an iron piece had hit him and a gable had opened a breach in his back -, but when he noticed that "a wind glowing like a oxyhydrogen flame" was raising, blowing from the center of Hiroshima towards the sea, he started to flee, first towards the sea, then by the part of the river that surrounded the facilities. Kuwaguki started to swim to the opposite shore only to discover that the hell had been triggered there as well. He remained long time in the water, and his sportive training allowed him to perform more times the crossing. Finally, he went out of the water and climbed to a hill. From there - writes Ferdinand Gigon, who took his testimony - saw that the city was an immense brazier that was destroying at once 55000 dwellings. How to flee? And how to remain in that hell? Six hours after the explosion of the bomb, Kuwaguki was exhausting his energy and he finally lied down and got asleep in the shore, until around 5 o'clock. The pain caused by his burns had appeased to some extent, and the sea breeze had returned to him some vigor and relief. At the beginning of the night he arrived to a train station in the periphery, where he found the railways torn away and an abandoned train within the remains. He got inside a wagon and huddle himself. Shudders of coldness shaked his body, but the exposition and the hunger were worse than the coldness. He woke up two days later, without being able to remember anything, in a train that advanced slowly. Nurses were taking care of persons that were more severely wounded that him. The train seemed to never stop, but the morning of the 9th August it arrived to Nagasaki. Kawaguki went off the train by himself and headed towards the center of the city. Nagasaki had ignored until then the nightmare of the war and was an intact and quiet city. Kawaguki felt like in a dream, and didn't dared to separate from his five or six companions, that were astonished like him. While he walked towards Yunin Maki, Kawaguki heard the sound of an aircraft and instintively raised his eyes towards the sky. Overwhelmed by an irresistible panic, he threw himself into a gutter, ditching himself into the mud as much as possible. Paralized by terror, he looked from time to time at the sky, while those that passed by the place looked at him surprised. The bomb fell at almost four kilometers from where Kawaguki was now, and he saw again the blinding blaze of the atomic sun, the horror of the fungus ascending to the atmosphere, the sea of ruins and the horror of death. "To know two times the hell in few days is too much for a man, and almost snatches sanity from him.". During years, engineer Kawaguki, a brilliant technician that had been very appreciated as a projectist in the Mitsubishi industrial complex, would roam like a desperate, unable to concentrate, going adrift on the course of life. He would continue desperately fleeing until his death, with the terror of seeing appear in the horizon the silhouette of a B-29 with his load of death. His wandering ended in 1957, with his body full of pustules, distinct consequence of atomic contamination. He died with the number 163641 in a hospital bed, being one of the very few verified cases of atomic cancer in Nagasaki.

The B-29 Enola Gay and its "work" in Hiroshima.

Testimonies from Hiroshima

Testimonies from Hiroshima
Categories: Narrations - Events - World War Two - 20th Century - [General]


Website: Military History

Article submitted: 2014-03-19

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