Memories of nuclear bomb survivors - Part 2 Chapter 6

Pictures of the inferno


The city burned for days, leaving masses of white skeletons in the ashes, piled at the roadsides. Sometimes you were forced to step on them in order to get past. I remember a white skull, the body still buried under the soil – probably some person had been unable to escape from the collapsed house in time and had been burned to death in the flames. There were mountains of corpses along the riverbank. The wounded had obviously been craving for water, but had had to give up, exhausted.
On the bridge over the River Inasa there were swarms of people, some sitting down, exhausted, others lying on their stomachs. They were lying side by side, sometimes even on top of each other. All were injured and urgently needed help. One man, charred black, was holding a hand up to the sky. It was a heartbreaking sight.

Still today l can’t forget a dead woman, leaning over the rails of the bridge and holding her baby in her arms. She was headless, but still held her child to her breast. In the burnt out tram, piles of corpses were lying in front of the doors. Here and there I saw people burning the corpses of their relatives. It was not a real cremation ceremony, being more suited to animals in other circumstances. It must have been so mortifying for them to cremate their loved ones in such a way. A small boy was collecting bones out of the ashes one by one, and putting them into a teapot, using it as an urn. My chest felt as if it would burst at this sight. Were the bones perhaps those of his parents?
While writing this report, l am again tortured by the thought that the whole Taniguchi family, who had been so friendly to me, had had to perish. I am incredibly sorry for them. Since the war, l have never been able to return to Inasa or visit the site where the Taniguchi’s house had stood.
Ever since, l have been filled with the remorse, pain, sadness and anger, which had arisen when witnessing the scenes of hell beyond all human imagination, when l had been unable to do anything against them. I locked all this resentment into my heart and continued to live, the only thing l could do.