When the Enola Gay dropped the first ever wartime use of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, a shock wave travelling three miles per second completely annihilated everything within a one mile radius, instantly leveling the city and setting anything that remained ablaze. One building stood miraculously upright through the chaos: a Jesuit presbytery with priests inside.
Situated just eight blocks from ground zero was the Jesuit Church of Our Lady’s Assumption, and close by the two story presbytery. In the midst of destruction, four German priests inside the parish home at the time of the bombing were found unscathed: Fathers Lassalle, Kleinsorge, Cieslik, and Schiffer.
All four had only minor injuries, mainly scrapes, splinters, and some glass shards from broken windows. Despite surviving the initial blast, they were told by Army doctors they would soon develop radiation poisoning and their bodies would begin to deteriorate. To the amazement of the doctors, they suffered no ill-effects and all lived out the rest of their days, never developing any long term complications. Father Schiffer recounted the nightmare that was August 6th, 1945:
“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.”
Dr. Stephen Rinehart of the Department of Defense studied their miraculous survival and concluded that “what happened to those Jesuits at Hiroshima defies all human logic from the laws of physics as understood today.” Whenever Father Schiffer was asked how he and his fellow Jesuit priests could have survived the initial bombing and suffer no ill-effects from the radiation, he always replied:
“We were under the special protection of God. We survived because we were living the message of Fatima. We lived and prayed the Rosary daily in that home. “
Watch below an eye witness testimony from one of the Jesuit priests that survived the bombing of Hiroshima: