The priests who miraculously survived the atomic bombs in Japan
On August 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb in history was dropped on Hiroshima in Japan. It exploded with a dazzling flash, creating a giant fireball, which vaporized virtually everything and everyone within a radius of about a mile from the point of impact. It is estimated that up to 80,000 people were killed directly by the explosion, and by the end of the year that figure had risen significantly higher due to injuries and radiation effects. Over two-thirds of the city’s buildings were completely destroyed. But in the midst of this terrible bloodbath, something remarkable happened: there was a community of Jesuit fathers living in a house near the parish church, which was less than a mile away from the point of detonation, well within the radius of total devastation. All eight members of this community were virtually unharmed by the bomb. Their houses remained standing, while the buildings around were leveled to the ground.
Fr. Hubert Schiffer, a German Jesuit, was one of these survivors. He was 30 years old at the time of the explosion, and lived to the age of 63 in good health. In later years, he traveled to recount his experience, and this is his testimony recorded in 1976, when all eight Jesuits were still alive: On August 6, 1945, after reading The Mass, and just sitting down for breakfast when there was a bright flash of light. Since Hiroshima had military facilities, he assumed that there must have been some kind of explosion at the port, but almost immediately the following happened: “An amazing explosion filled the air with a bursting thunderclap. An invisible force lifted me from the chair, threw me through the air, shook me, beat me, and I swirled around and around… “He then got up off the ground and looked around but saw nothing in any direction. Everything had been destroyed.
He had some minor injuries, but nothing serious, and later investigations by U.S. Army doctors and scientists showed that neither he nor his companions had suffered radiation injuries. Along with the other Jesuits, Fr Schiffer “believed that we survived because we lived by fatima’s message. We prayed the rosary daily in that home. “
Father Schiffer and the other Jesuits were repeatedly examined and interviewed by scientists, doctors, and others who did not understand why they had escaped harm. Father Schiffer reportedly said he himself had been interviewed 200 times. When asked why they think they were spared, when so many others died either from the explosion or from the subsequent radiation, Father Schiffer spoke for himself and for his companions: “We believe we survived because we lived by Fatima’s message. We lived and prayed the rosary daily in our community.”