Germans mark Hiroshima anniversary with vigils

4th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

4 August 2005, COLOGNE - Candlelight vigils, memorial services, the tolling of bells and more than 200 other events throughout Germany will mark the 60th anniversary of the day the atom bomb fell on Hiroshima.

4 August 2005

COLOGNE - Candlelight vigils, memorial services, the tolling of bells and more than 200 other events throughout Germany will mark the 60th anniversary of the day the atom bomb fell on Hiroshima.

In Berlin and some 50 other cities, religious and anti-nuclear peace groups will stage a 'Night of the 100,000 Candles' vigil at town squares, church yards and other meeting places.

The vigil will be timed to culminate at 15 minutes past midnight German time Saturday. At the same moment in Japan, 8:15 a.m. local time, thousands will take part in Hiroshima's commemorations.

The commemorations mark the moment on a warm summer's morning when the Little Boy bomb exploded 600 metres above the city of Hiroshima at 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945.

Around 140,000 people, or more than half of Hiroshima's population at the time, died in the atomic bombing - either immediately or in the months that followed from horrific burns or radiation.

Three days after Hiroshima, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, killing another 70,000 people.

Emperor Hirohito made an unprecedented radio address to the nation on August 15 to announce Japan's surrender.

Over the years, more than 300,000 deaths have been attributed to the bombings.

In Berlin Friday night, candles will lighted on the plaza surrounding the war-ruined Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in the heart of the German capital.

The church, itself a war memorial, will form the backdrop for a concert, exhibitions, documentary films, poetry readings and speeches.

Also in Berlin, the Peace Bell in the Friedrichshain People's Park will toll during memorial services.

The Night of the 100,000 Candles will also be observed at the U.S. Army's European Command headquarters in Stuttgart.

The vigil will be repeated in scores of cities and towns large and small throughout Germany.

The events are being planned by religious and anti-nuclear groups along with the German-Japanese Peace Forum and the European Peace Forum.

Europe's largest Japanese community in Europe lives in the Dusseldorf area where a Japanese club official said that, while no official commemorations are planned, the day would be marked by Japanese individually.

"Naturally the dropping of the atomic bombs is an issue for all of us," said Japanese Club head Goro Hiyama in Dusseldorf. "And individuals will remember the victims in silence and read Japanese news accounts."

Some 11,000 Japanese citizens live in North Rhine-Westphalia, more than 8,000 of them in the Dusseldorf area.

Among events with Japanese participation is the opening on Saturday of a photographic exhibit of images from the bombings in Dortmund, sponsored by the local German-Japanese Society. The German- Japanese Friends Circle in Wuppertal is also planning a Day of Hope and Peace.

DPA

Subject: German news

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