Hiroshima Survivor praises Pope Francis and condemns use of nuclear weapons

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Setsuko Thurlow is a Hiroshima Survivor. During one of the General Audiences, she was able to present a Hiroshima “Flame of Peace” candle to Pope Francis, along with this request.

“Holy Father, please will you blow out this flame so there will never again be another Nagasaki, so there will never be again another Hiroshima?”

She was 13, working for the military, when the US dropped the uranium atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. Even to this very day she remembers vividly the aftermath of the explosion.

Hirohsima Survivor
“Human beings just burned so badly, just unrecognizably burnt. Hair was standing up, parts of the body missing and some people carrying their own eye balls in their hands.” “It was a quiet city. It was like a city of death, people just shuffling, whispering, asking for water.”

The Hiroshima bomb destroyed the city and killed thousands upon thousands of people immediately. Three days later the US dropped a plutonium bomb on Nagasaki.

Many more people died years later from the radiation exposure; and others like Thurlow still have to take special medication. 

She says there was no justification to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan had already opened up negotiations with the US during WWII; and it was more of an opportunity for the US to try out their new two types of atom bombs.

Hirohsima Survivor
“Japan was finished by that time. I was there. I witnessed it. People were practically starving and I heard hundreds of thousands of soldiers were waiting for their food.” “Food never arrived, ammunition never arrived. This is because most of the ships had been sunk by the US and most of the planes were blow up.” “International law does not permit this. The soldiers fight against soldiers, but soldiers do not kill women, children, babies and the elderly.”

For her, Pope Francis and the Vatican have been important in condemning the use of nuclear weapons; and was even one of the first to sign the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

During his meeting with participants at the nuclear disarmament conference in 2017, Pope Francis even had this to say about atomic weapons.

“International relations cannot be dominated by military strength, mutual intimidation and the flaunting of war arsenals. Weapons of mass destruction, particularly atomic, create nothing more than a false sense of security and cannot constitute the basis of peaceful coexistence between members of the human family.”

According Setsuko Thurlow, despite talking to the Japanese government they are not interested in prohibiting nuclear weapons because of its relationship with the US. 

She travels around the world giving testimony about the horrors of nuclear weapon in hopes future generations can prevent it from ever happening again. 

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