|Hiroshima | AP/Catholic Herald|
The Jesuits priests Hugo Lassalle, Hubert Schiffer, Wilhelm Kleinsorge, and Hubert Cieslik were at the rectory of the church of Our Lady of the Assumption, one of the few buildings that resisted the bomb blast.—CNA
Father Hubert Schiffer (1915 – March 27, 1982) was one of eight German Jesuits who survived the nuclear bomb "Little Boy" dropped on Hiroshima. He was only eight blocks away from ground zero when the explosion occurred. [...] The group of Jesuits survived not only the explosion, but also the effects of the radiation (the doctors were amazed they did not present any radiation illness).
According to the account of Jesuit priest Fr. John Seimes, who had been on the outskirts of the city:
They were in their rooms at the Parish House—it was a quarter after eight, exactly the time when we had heard the explosion in Nagatsuke—when came the intense light and immediately thereafter the sound of breaking windows, walls and furniture. They were showered with glass splinters and fragments of wreckage. Father Schiffer was buried beneath a portion of a wall and suffered a severe head injury. The Father Superior received most of the splinters in his back and lower extremity from which he bled copiously. Everything was thrown about in the rooms themselves, but the wooden framework of the house remained intact.
Another account adds that he had just finished saying Mass, and had gone to eat breakfast when the bomb hit:
Suddenly, a terrific explosion filled the air with one bursting thunderstroke. An invisible force lifted me from the chair, hurled me through the air, shook me, battered me, whirled me round and round like a leaf in a gust of autumn wind.
He looked around, and there were no buildings left except for the church house.
(T)he only physical harm to Fr. Shiffer was that he could feel a few pieces of glass in the back of his neck. It's also said that after the surrender of Japan, the American army doctors explained to him that his body would begin to deteriorate because of the radiation; yet to the doctors' amazement, Fr. Schiffer's body appeared to contain no elevated radiation or ill-effects from the bomb. In fact, he lived for another 33 years in good health, and was present at the Eucharistic Congress held in Philadelphia in 1976. At that time, all eight members of the Jesuit community from Hiroshima were still alive.
The surprising survival of the Jesuits in Hiroshima is similar to that reported in Nagasaki, where a Franciscan friary built by St. Maximilian Kolbe also went unaffected. Since the bombs were dropped, the priests have been examined over 200 times by scientists. Each time the priests repeated the same explanation for their survival:
We believe that we survived because we were living the message of Fatima. We lived and prayed the Rosary in that home.