In World War II, where countless civilians and military personnel died, the mission of photographers was to record the most heartbreaking part of these cases.
The touching story of the boy carrying his brother in World War II
Joe O’Donnell, was the man who captured – among so many images – a boy of about 10 years old, carrying on his back his little brother who died in Nagasaki.
As seen in the photograph, the little boy is seen carrying the child, with a rather upright posture, denoting military influence. Something he had seen for many years in his country. In view of the fact that the baby was dead, the older one was carrying him to the cremation.
According to international media, O’Donnel photographed millions of moments during the war, but this would be one of the ones that left the most marks on him.
Years later, a Japanese interviewer spoke with the artist to tell about that shocking moment. “I saw a boy about ten years old walking. He was carrying a baby on his back. In those days in Japan, we often saw children playing with their little brothers or sisters on their backs, but this boy was clearly different. I could see that he had come to this place for a serious reason. He wore no shoes. He had a hard face. The little head was tilted back as if the baby was sound asleep. The boy stayed there for five or ten minutes.”
“The men in white masks approached him and silently began to remove the rope holding the baby. It was then that I saw that the baby was already dead. The men held the body by the hands and feet and placed it over the fire. The boy stood there motionless, watching the flames. He was biting his lower lip so hard that it glistened with blood. The flame burned like the sun. The boy turned and walked away in silence.”
In social networks, the image of the little boy carrying his dead brother, is being used to invite reflection, of the value of life, of family.
Of that ‘weight’ that ceases to be, when love is the driving force. That snapshot is seen on the Internet accompanied by a touching phrase, when asked if it was not too much weight to run away, he said: “it is not a weight, he is my brother”.