Hiroshima Peace Programme

“Activities” section on 1st August contained “Peace Programme”, so in the morning we came to Hiroshima, taking our breakfast and lunch with us. It appeared that we don’t go there with single team or unit, but with the whole sub camp – the district of our Jamboree town. After two hours we saw the city, which no one would say that it was a ruin only 70 years ago. Impressive, tall buildings, modern architecture, trams (Hiroshima is one of the last big Japanese cities which still have tramway), large parks shimmering with many shades of green, where walkers stroll blithely – all of this seemed to contradict with our image of the city, built from scratch.

Standing in line to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and looking around we have found one building, outstanding from others. It was on the other side of the river, dilapidated, partly destroyed, with the remains of the dome, but still in quite good condition. It was  the more surprising, that during the raid it was located only 150 metres from the epicentre, and everything within the radius of 400 metres was melted by the temperature up to 300 000 Celsius degrees. Within a kilometre people were burning on fire, up to 3.5 kilometres from the place of explosion were experiencing severe burns, but for some reason “Genbaku Domu” (“Atomic Bomb Dome”) has survived. This building, left in the same state since the explosion, became a symbol of a tragedy, which has touched this city on 6th August 1945 and reminds of the death of 70 000 people who died due to the one button, pressed in the right time. Nobody knows, why this building, designed in 1915 by Jan Letzel still stand to this day.

The museum had a huge impression on us. Walking through the corridors built in the shape of ruins and  watching drastic exhibits, we realised gradually, how terrifying and cruel atomic bomb is. In one of the first cabinet were the sculptures of people with melting skin, who were walking straight with outstretched arms through the ruins, flames and the piles of corpses. The next exhibit was a model of destroyed city with a red ball above it, which was an equivalent of the fireball, which appeared above Hiroshima in the moment of explosion. Under it, among the ashes, stood the faithful copy of Genbaku Domu. Scraps of clothing, pictures of people with severe burns – all of it seemed to say “never again!”.

After leaving the museum we went to the park, where we found the sculpture of Sadako Sasaki. Sasaki was 2 years old, when the bomb exploded, but she managed to survive it unscathed. Unfortunately, 10 years later she was diagnosed with leukaemia caused by radiation sickness. According to Japanese legend, the one who makes a thousand paper cranes, can expect that one of his dreams will come true. During her stay in a hospital, she was making them, wishing to recover. Her friends were helping her in origami and apparently they managed to exceed the number required in the legend. Sadly it did not help and the girl died ten months after the diagnosis. People touched by her story build the monument commemorating children who died as a consequence of bombing. To this day, students of Japanese primary schools make paper cranes as a sign of solidarity with Sadako Sasaki and others, the youngest victims of the “Little Boy”.