Stone monument for A-bomb victims ready in Potsdam, Germany

by Junichiro Hayashi, Staff Writer

A completion ceremony involving the stone monument for the victims of the atomic bombs will be held in the city of Potsdam, Germany on July 25. During World War II, then U.S. President Harry S. Truman stayed in this German city and held a conference with leaders of other nations, including the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, to discuss various war-related issues, such as the terms of surrender for Japan. While in Potsdam, on July 25, 65 years ago, President Truman issued the order to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

The stone monument stands in Hiroshima Platz, a square in front of the residence where the president stayed during the conference. The fieldstone monument is about nine meters wide and weighs 36 tons. In front of the stone will be a plaque in which two A-bombed stones from Hiroshima and Nagasaki are incorporated. This plaque (1.8 meters by 2.9 meters), will carry the inscription "A prayer for a world without nuclear weapons" in three languages: Japanese, German, and English.

The ceremony will be sponsored by the city of Potsdam and a local citizens' group, the Association to Build Hiroshima Square (Platz) in Potsdam. Two people from Hiroshima will attend the ceremony, including Tetsuo Kaneko, 62, a former member of the House of Representatives, who was involved in sending some 720,000 yen donated by Japanese citizens at the end of June. After the ceremony, about 10 lanterns will be floated on a nearby lake. The lanterns are decorated with various pictures including that of the A-bomb Dome.

(Originally published on July 22, 2010)

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