UNODA Update

Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) meet UN tour guides and interns

14 May 2012 — Three hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) from Hiroshima, Ms. Shigeko Sasamori, Ms. Toshiko Tanaka and Ms. Reiko Yamada, met with UN Tour Guides and interns in New York to share their testimonies of the horrors they experienced in August 1945.

There are a dwindling number of people alive today who survived the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Many, like the above-mentioned survivors have dedicated their lives to peace, and despite their age they continue to work with diligence and vigour in support of nuclear disarmament. They tell their stories in order to help the younger generations understand the true reality of nuclear weapons.

Atomic bomb survivors

Atomic bomb survivors: Ms. Toshiko Tanaka, Ms. Reiko Yamada, and Ms. Shigeko Sasamori
(Photo credit: Paule Saviano)

The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) has organized similar briefings twice a year in collaboration with Hibakusha Stories, a non-governmental organisation which brings atomic bomb survivors to New York City high schools to tell their stories.

About these survivors:

Ms. Sasamori was 13 Years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. She heard the sound of a plane overhead — seconds later she was knocked unconscious by the blast. She was so badly burned that she was unrecognizable. Ms. Sasamori repeated her name and address over and over until she was finally found by her father.

Until recently Ms. Toshiko never talked about her dire experience of the atomic bomb even to her own children. After 67 years, she now talks about her experiences in public. She does not want any of her children and future generations to experience what she has been through.

Atomic bomb survivor

Ms. Shigeko Sasamori sharing her testimony with UN Tour Guides (Photo credit: Paule Saviano)

Even 67 years after the bombing, Ms. Yamada still vividly remembers those who desperately cried for help: their cries and memories are not gone; she is still tormented with remorse that she could not help them. Many survivors also are suffering from the after-effects of radiation and she sincerely hopes that people all over the world understand how a single atomic bomb could destroy a city and kill a large number of people indiscriminately and cruelly.

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