The villager's note and testimony / People of Hesaka village

5. Rescue Operations in My House

There was a flash and boom shortly after eight o'clock in the morning of August 6 in Hesaka. When I came to myself, my house was damaged. The ceilings were curled up, glass and paper doors were broken into fragments and roof tiles were blown off. At around 10 o'clock, there were long lines of people in front of my house who were walking, holding their arms up in front of them. They couldn't let them down because burned skin was drooping. The upper parts of their bodies were clear red. It seemed that mercurochrome had been put on them. After a while, the lines changed into people whose bodies were covered with white ointment. Mercurochrome seemed to have run out. (Mrs. Teramoto's speech)

I was working for the temporary office for building houses for company employees during the war and went to Koda-cho August 5 on business. On the morning of August 6, I was heading back to Hiroshima by train. At Yaguchi station, my train crossed the one coming from Hiroshima, and I was surprised at the people's appearances on the train.

When I arrived at Hesaka Station, the station house was broken. When I got home, my house was also damaged. After we cleaned it up, we had three big straw bags of rubble, glass and so on.

At that time, we had been told from the town office that private houses should accommodate soldiers for emergencies. Eight soldiers who were A-bombed came to my house on August 6. As I was an area chief at that time, my house was the first to take in soldiers. But soldiers came one after another and I asked others to accept them.

My mother, who died in 1946, made special ointment good for burns and put it on people's backs by hand. Big blisters were seeping and maggots were crawling on their backs. She also gave them tea with pickled plum and gruel. They gave off strong odors and pus fell onto the tatami mats. In a few days, they left my house. Because they didn't have any clothes, we gave them our shirts and pajamas.

There was a silkworm factory near my house and it accommodated civilians. On August 7, my house began to be used as a military police office. They said my house looked convenient because it was located alongside the road. Eight sick people were put in the eight-tatami-mat room and some policemen in the six-tatami-mat room and hallway.

Sick people in each house and school died one after another, and dead bodies were left here and there. We asked the military police if we could bury them in the grounds, but they said cremation was better. We carried them to the hill by stretcher, collected firewood from each house and cremated them. Many bodies were still lying along the road and we stepped them over when we visited our ancestors' graves before and during the Bon Festival season. They seemed to have been placed like that so that their families and relatives could easily identify them. We also found a lot of bodies under the floor of the school. Because it was cooler under the floor, people seemed to have entered there and died.

After the war ended, the police left my house. But from time to time they came back to get blankets, soy sauce and shoes that the Army had asked to keep in my barn. Finally I found everything was gone.

In the summer of 1946, Mr. Sugihara, who stayed in my house after the A-bombing, and his mother, visited us to show their thanks. As his face had been burned and festered after the A-bombing, I couldn't recognize him because his face was completely healed. But Mr. Sugihara remembered each member of my family well. I told him that my mother, who had taken care of sick people, died in May, and he was really sorry about that. (speech)

Kiyoto Teramoto