“In the fall of 1982, six months after I arrived in Berlin, I started to have doubts about my job. Most importantly I felt we were engaging in certain activities to achieve specific intelligence goals without regard to the risk, no matter if it cost lives or pushed us closer to nuclear war. I felt we were sacrificing our morality for an end result. In the media we were presented with distorted statistics that gave the impression that the West was doomed and that we would be overwhelmed by sheer force of numbers in the event of war. But it was never mentioned that those statistics were often negated by Western technology. ”
Jens Karney, code-named “Kid,” was one of a pair of agents the Stasi had used to infiltrate the US military in West Berlin during the 1980’s. American authorities estimated the damage that he had caused by betraying secrets at $14.5 billion.
..August 2016.. ..New York..
Earlier this week I received the sad news that Mrs. Yoshiko Hashimoto passed away in February at the age of 94. Mrs. Hashimoto was the first Tokyo fire bombing survivor I photographed.
I photographed her in an cemetery containing the unidentified bones of many who died when Tokyo was razed on March 10th, 1945. At the time of the firebombings Mrs. Hashimoto was 24 years old. Running with her younger sisters and her infant son scrapped onto her back, Mrs. Hashimoto was chased by the ravenous fires for hours. Her younger sister was engulfed by the inferno when she ran into a stampede of fleeing people. Finally at the end of a burning labyrinth, Mrs. Hashimoto was corned on a bridge. Her only option for survival was a desperate jump far below into the frigid Tatagawa River with her son still on her back. The high tide allowed them to be carried by a strong current towards floating wooden debris.
“As the changed face of my neighborhood passed me in a blur. I could hardly recognize it through my aching eyes. I couldn’t feel sadness or surprise. I just pulled along on that cart while clinging my boy to my chest.”
Her testimony about the surviving the destruction of Tokyo was brutal. The last time I saw Mrs. Hashimoto was walking in Asakusa in 2010. I will always remember her and I consider myself lucky that she shared her story with me. It was an honor to have known her.