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Gender Female  Age at time of bombing 8 
Recorded on 2011.9.25  Age at time of recording 74 
Location at time of bombing Hiroshima(Direct exposure Distance from the bombing hypocenter:3.5km) 
Location when exposed to the bombing Hiroshima City Furuta-machi [Current Nishi-ku,Hiroshima City] 
Status at time of bombing Elementary student 
Occupational status at time of bombing Furuta Elementary School 
Hall site Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims 
Dubbed in English/
With English subtitles
With English subtitles 

Sachi KOMURA RUMMEL was 8 when she was exposed to the atomic bomb in Furuta-cho, Hiroshima, 3.5 km from the hypocenter. She was hit by a sudden, strong blast while playing on the school ground at Furuta Elementary School.
The black rain began as she was on her way home, decorating her clothes with black spots. Her father worked in downtown Hiroshima. He came home late that night, but he collapsed on the doorstep and died ten days later. Her aunt had left to do wartime labor service and remains missing. Ms. Rummel lives in Canada. She shares her experiences of the atom bomb with primary school children when they learn about peace.
【Life Before the A-Bomb 】
My house was on a hillside in Takasu, Hiroshima City. I was living with my parents, grandmother, and my five-month-old brother. My father's younger sister and my cousin, her four-and-a-half-year-old son, lived with us too.
Back then, when our neighbors left for the war, we all sent them off. I still remember those scenes, and things like making a bucket brigade for anti-air raid drills with our neighbors.
【Situation at the Time of the Bombing】
It was a clear, beautiful blue sky. I was playing on the school ground when the bomb fell. Suddenly there was a flash. I don't remember any sounds. But the blast...it was something like a dust storm or maybe smoke. It blew around me and for a moment I couldn't see anything.
After a while, I heard children screaming. Everyone who had been outside was struggling to go into the classrooms. I suppose windows were broken and the classrooms were messed up.
I had been playing under a tree to avoid the heat. Thanks to that, I wasn't directly in the path of the flash from the bomb. I clearly remember walking home on a mountain road, trying desperately to keep up with the leader of our neighborhood association.
At first we all walked together. I was holding my friend's hand so that we wouldn't get separated. Then the rain started. My friend, Ms. Fujita, and I went into an air-raid shelter. I think we wanted to get out of the rain, but we wound up getting separated from the others.
I don't know how long the rain lasted. We left the air-raid shelter after the rain eased off. I don't remember how, but I managed to get home. My clothes were stained with black spots from the rain. My mother tried to wash them out but it didn't work.
I don't know the exact place, but my father worked at a company in downtown Hiroshima. My aunt had gone downtown to do wartime labor service. My mother was a resident of Takasu, so actually she was the one who was supposed to go for the work. But she had a five-month-old baby, so my aunt went instead. She didn't come back.
My father was exposed to the bomb in the city. He lost consciousness for a moment. When he came to, he was surrounded by rubble, and the lower half of his body was buried. He called out to his colleagues, but no one replied. He couldn't see anyone. He was completely pinned down. Then the fire approached. He thought he was going to die.
My father couldn't escape, but by chance he found a shovel and was able to clear the area around himself. But a large beam had fallen on his chest and he couldn't move. He thought he would die. But then he found a saw. He used a piece of wood or a stick to drag the saw within reach. He was able to use it to cut the beam and free himself.
He came home late that night. He stood at the doorway asking, "Is everybody OK?" and then collapsed. My mother was desperate. She was small, weighing only about 40 kg. It was a struggle, but she was able to drag my tall father inside. The house was in a mess with debris all over the place. The flooring was broken and falling apart. But we made a space for a bed and let my father rest. He suffered from nausea and diarrhea, and couldn't eat very much so my mother made a watery rice soup for him. She put it into my father's mouth with a spoon.
My mother wanted to take him to a hospital, but there weren't any. Furuta Elementary School was serving as a first aid station. My mother borrowed a handcart and took my father there several times. But every time she went, the number of injured people had grown. His turn never came so she would give up and go home. The next day she would try again, but it was the same.
My aunt didn't come home, so my mother went downtown to look for her. My mother asked around trying to get information as to her whereabouts. She'd use the information, walking east and west looking for my aunt. But she never found her. Later on, I think we found her name on a list of the dead.
【My Father's Death】
The war ended on August 15th. We all listened to the broadcast of the voice of Emperor Hirohito. My father was very happy, saying that the war was finally over and Japan would become a peaceful country.  But his condition grew worse and I think he knew he would die soon.
There was a small hill we called "tsukiyama" in back of our house. We hid many things under it, like food and a safe with cash and stock certificates. My father told us, "Don't worry. Even if I die, there is enough here to keep you for the rest of your lives." Those were his last words. My father died on August 16th.             
It was the middle of summer so we had to take care the body right away. But there was no crematory. In a nearby park, people had dug many holes. They would put firewood in one, and then a body on a mattress, and cover it with a white cloth. Then they poured gasoline over the body and set it on fire. People were doing that in the park, and my father was one of those burned there.
I couldn't accept my father's death. When they poured on the gasoline and lit the fire, even as a small child I knew that he would be gone forever. I cried out, resisting and screaming, "don't burn him!"
【Subsequent Health Problems】
My mother became a widow, and the following year my grandmother passed away. My mother went looking for my aunt for many days, so she must have been exposed to a lot of radiation.
After my father and my aunt died, my mother had to raise my aunt's child. But he was adopted by relatives who didn't have a son. My mother went through a lot. I believe that the emotional stress, even if not the immediate cause, made her sick. My mother lost mobility when I was about 12. We didn't know the cause, but for the next three years or so, she spent most of her time in her bed.
I think she was 70 when she was diagnosed with stomach cancer. She was in and out of Hiroshima University Hospital for a while and had surgery, but she passed away.
I wasn't a very healthy child from birth, but after being exposed to the bomb, I developed a rash all over my body. My body was always itchy and bled from scratching. While sleeping, I used to wear gloves my mother had made for me. Those symptoms continued for a long time. As soon as one place healed, another would start itching and become infected when I scratched. Back then, most people ate food made from soy beans. I heard I was given white rice and other nutritious food instead.
I have two daughters. The older one started to develop rashes around the time she entered her teens. Her red, itchy skin with pus is similar to my symptoms. She is 40 years old now, but still suffers from the rash. She has seen many doctors, but none of them has found the cause. I think I passed on the effects of the bomb to her. It is said that especially first-born children of atomic bomb survivors display many of the same symptoms as their parents.
【Appeal for Peace】
Recently the peace movement has become active. In Canada, 4th, 5th and 6th graders learn about Asia in their Social Studies classes. China, Korea and many other countries are in Asia, but Japan is the most popular. Many people associate Japan with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. I receive requests from elementary schools to talk about my experience as a survivor. I used to decline all such requests. However, I'm already 74, and not many survivors can talk about their experience in English. So if I'm asked, I go and tell my story, including what I heard from my father.
It takes time and courage for people who went through a sad or traumatic experience to talk about it. Even if survivors talk, their misery probably cannot be understood by others. Even if I hear the stories of other survivors, I probably won't understand their true feelings. Especially without understanding from others, it was so painful to share my experience that I just locked it up inside. But when I gave it a try, I was surprised by how calm I was when I spoke. After that, I became able to share my story.
Nuclear war must be prevented at all costs. Not just nuclear war, but things using nuclear technology like nuclear power, too. Do they truly contribute to peace for humanity? We need to recognize that while nuclear technology might be good for the economy or for national prosperity, it also has negative aspects. We need to think about those, too.
Translation: Akiko Ogawa and Yurie Benjamin
Supervision: Ronni Alexander
Coordination: NET-GTAS (Network of Translators for the Globalization of the Testimonies of Atomic Bomb Survivors)

*Many more memoirs can be viewed at both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Peace Memorial Halls.
*These contents are updated periodically.
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