“Hiroshima Flier and a Survivor Meet Again on Bomb Anniversary: Disagrees With Priest,” The New York Times (August 7, 1957)


Hiroshima Flier and Survivor article

MEMORIES THAT ARE HARD TO FORGET: The Rev. Hubert Schiffer and Maj. Robert Lewis, Air Force Reserve, relive through photographs the dropping of atomic bomb on Hiroshima.  Major Lewis was co-pilot of Enola Gay. Father Schiffer, a German missionary, was only eight blocks from center of blast. They met yesterday ad Fordham University.

The American co-pilot of the plane that dropped the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima and a German Jesuit Priest that lived through the blast met as good friends yesterday, but they differed on the use of nuclear weapons.

They held a reunion on the Fordham University Campus in the Bronx to mark the twelfth anniversary of the exploding of the first atomic bomb on an enemy city.  The priest, the Rev. Herbert Schiffer, is completing studies for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in economics.  The flier, Robert Lewis, a major in the Air Force Reserve, is personnel manager of the Henry L. Heide Candy Company.

Father Schiffer, a 42-year-old native of Dusseldorf, Germany, recalled that he was reading a Japanese newspaper in a missionary compound eight blocks from ground zero when the blast devastated Hiroshima. Half of its more than 300,000 residents were killed or wounded.

He was asked how he felt about the use of nuclear bombs in a possible war with Russia.  He replied that if attacked he had “the right and distinct duty” to defend himself and that the same was true for a country. He continued:

“Since the Soviets are known crooks-and we have ample proof of that-I would drop the bomb first if war was started.”

Disagrees with Priest

Mr. Lewis, who is 39 years old and lives with his wife and four children in Old Tappan, N.J., said that he did not agree that this nation should be the first to drop a nuclear bomb. He said that such weapons “should never be dropped except as a last resort, and then only on military targets.”

Both men agreed that Americans should not have any feelings of guilt about dropping the atomic bomb in World War II.  But Mr. Lewis said:

“I have often thought since the war ended how nice it would be in a war if all the men would get out in a field and do the fighting and let the women and children stay in protected areas in towns.”

Father Schiffer went to Fordham in 1950. He said he wanted to meet the pilot who dropped the Hiroshima bomb, and finally located Mr. Lewis through the American Legion publishing office here. Since their first meeting seven years ago they have been “very fast friends” he said.

The priest said that he expected to return to Japan later this year to teach economics at Sophia University in Tokyo. Mr. Lewis noted that the Enola Gay, the B-52 that carried the Hiroshima bomb, was now owned by the Smithsonian Institution.”



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