Madonna of Nagasaki, Defacement 9 August 1945. In the morning of 9 August 1945, the B-29 Superfortress ‘Bock’s Car’ flies over the city of Kokura. This city is the primary target of ‘Fat Man’, the second American atomic bomb. Fat Man contains a plutonium core, which is more powerful than the uranium core of ‘Little Boy’, the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima three days before. ‘Bock’s Car’ circles above Kokura for 45 minutes, because a layer of clouds prohibits the bombardment. Having crossed the city three times without finding an opening, pilot Charles W. Sweeney diverts to Nagasaki, only to find it obscured as well. But at 11:00 the clouds break open and the bombardier can visually target Nagasaki. By that time, the plane is running out of fuel, so Sweeney decides to drop the bomb almost immediately. Fat Man explodes more than 2.5 kilometers from the projected hypocenter, right above Urikami Cathedral, then the biggest Catholic church in Southeast Asia. Among the estimated 40,000 to 75,000 casualties are 8,500 of Nagasaki’s 12,000 parishioners, who constituted the largest concentration of baptized Christians in Japan at that time. Two months later, a Japanese Catholic priest discharged from military service visits the ruins of the cathedral. After an hour of praying and looking for a memento, he notices the scorched head of the Madonna lying in the debris.
28 x 39 cm
GERT JAN KOCKEN
FISSION

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