Schmoe House, a new facility conveying the peace efforts of foreign nationals, opens in Hiroshima

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

A meeting hall built for A-bomb survivors by the late Floyd Schmoe, an American pacifist, in Naka Ward’s Eba Nihonmatsu district, will open today, November 1, as Schmoe House, an exhibition facility affiliated with Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. An opening ceremony was held at the site on October 31, with members of Mr. Schmoe’s family in attendance.

Built in 1951, the one-story wooden building has a floor space of about 55 square meters. Among the 21 houses and meeting halls that Mr. Schmoe and his volunteers constructed from 1949 to 1953, this building is the only one still surviving. With 23 artifacts and photographs on display, Schmoe House conveys the contributions of six foreign nationals, including Mr. Schmoe, who lent their support to the reconstruction of the city after the war.

About 80 people, local residents among them, attended the ceremony. Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui remarked, “The warm assistance received from inside and outside Japan gave the citizens of Hiroshima a ray of hope. I’m hoping visitors to Schmoe House will be inspired with thoughts for peace.”

Wilfred Schmoe, 85, Mr. Schmoe’s second son and a resident of the U.S. state of Wyoming, along with two grandsons of Mr. Schmoe, attended the ceremony. Eyeing photographs showing his father’s favorite hammer and his father at work, Wilfred Schmoe said, “My father was saddened by the atomic bombing and he wanted to do something to help, however small it might be.”

The City of Hiroshima named Floyd Schmoe an Honorary Citizen of Hiroshima in 1983. He passed away in 2001 at the age of 105.

Schmoe House is Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum’s first affiliated exhibition facility. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Mondays, and admission is free.

(Originally published on November 1, 2012)