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Neuchâtel or Bishopric ? In 1636
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Dr Marcel Junod (1904-1961)

Witness to Hiroshima
The odyssey of an ICRC delegate Dr. Marcel Junod
© copyright Benoît Junod 2003-2011 and ICRC Archives for some pictures

(Note: Click on any pictures for a larger size image)

Youth, 1904 - 1935

Marcel Junod was born on May 14th 1904, in Neuchâtel, son of Richard Samuel Junod (1868-1919), citizen of Lignières (NE), of a family of Protestant clergymen[1], and Jeanne Marguerite Bonnet (1866 - 1952) of Geneva, from the Bonnet family of Thônex next to Geneva which gave birth to the famous naturalist Charles Bonnet[2].

Pastor R. S. Junod and their 7 children

His father started his pastoral work preaching in villages of miners in Belgium, sent there by the Independent Protestant Church of Neuchâtel. He then carried out his duties in poor rural and urban parishes, first at Chézard-St.-Martin, near Neuchâtel, and then at la Chaux-de-Fonds. Marcel Junod spent his childhood and school years there, with his six brothers and sisters[3] ­ he was the fifth child of his parents. Their life was frugal: aged fourteen, he spent his holidays working in a brick factory.

At the death of her husband in 1919, Mrs Junod decided to return to Geneva with her children. Her son Marcel and his two younger sisters obtained at once the Geneva citizenship of their mother, taking advantage of a law which no longer exists today. They settled in the residential quarter of Florissant, where Mrs Junod, to be able to feed her children, opened a family boarding-house, with the help of her sister Marie-Antoinette Bonnet and a small family capital (the Bonnet were reputed watch-case makers from father to son, and had been owners of the Juvéna watch factory in the early years of the century).

Student in Geneva

Marcel studied at the Collège Calvin (the State High school), where he showed himself to be intelligent and energetic. He had an original turn of mind and a great capacity for communication: he tamed a lizard which he called Chilpéric and which came when he called it. Much concerned by human misery, he took part in the foundation of the ‘Journées de la Faim’ and in 1922 was one of the directors of the Relief Movement for Russian Children. In 1923, the obtained his baccalaureate (‘Maturité’) in Latin and living languages (English, German and Italian). He absolutely craved to study medicine, and had preciously kept the manuscript of his father’s biology class, meticulously written and illustrated, which dates from 1883[4]. Thanks to the generous help of his uncle, Henri-Alexandre Junod[5], his wish came true: having finished his studies in Geneva and in Strasbourg, he obtained his medical degree in 1929 with a thesis on Psoriasis in the medicine of accidents[6]. He decided to specialise in surgery and became an intern in the surgical ward of Prof. E. Kummer at Geneva Cantonal Hospital (today University Hospital of Geneva), then spending four years (1931 - 1935) in the medico-surgical service of the civilian hospitals of Mulhouse, in France, first as intern and the last year, having obtained his diploma in surgery, as head of the surgical clinic, which counted 270 beds.

Intern at the civilian Hospital of Mulhouse

A keen sportsman[7], his free time was spent skiing, meandering down the river Rhône from Geneva to Marseille in a rowboat, on the Mediterranean, playing golf or on horseback. He was passionately fond of music and played practically any musical instrument with talent; later, his interest focused on the piano, and his teacher was to be his cousin, the great pianist Jacqueline Blancard.

The Great conflicts, 1935 - 1945

Arrival of Marcel Junod
and Sidney Brown in
Addis Abeba railway station

Charles Winckel, HM Haile Selassie & Marcel Junod,
early February 1936, in the Dutch Red Cross field
camp near Dessie, HQ of the Negus.

1935. Italy invades Ethiopia. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is looking for a young doctor to send to the field. A friend in Geneva passes the information to Marcel Junod and a couple of weeks later the latter leaves for Africa with Sidney Brown and arrives in Addis Ababa.

His book, Warrior without Weapons (first published in French ­ Le Troisième Combattant ­ in 1947 and translated into half-a-dozen languages) is still today the bedside volume of all young ICRC delegates. Junod recounts, with talent and eloquence, the extraordinary odyssey which brought him first to Ethiopia, where he tried to structure the embryonic Ethiopian Red Cross and to assist the local and foreign Red Cross ambulances[8]. He witnessed the bombing by the Italian air force of the British, Swedish and other Red Cross ambulances which were trying to bring medical aid to civilian and military victims, and the use of poison gas ­ ‘mustard’ gas ­ in flagrant violation of international law[9]. He risked his life on many occasions.

When the Italo-Ethiopian war was over, he was immediately appointed Delegate-General of the ICRC in the murderous whirlwind of the Spanish Civil War[10]. In this capacity, he established with both sides the tenets for ICRC action and convinced them to sign ‘agreements’. He negotiated the first exchanges of hostages in the Basque country, and then countless others. He was then appointed delegate for Republican Spain, with Dr. Roland Marti, first in Valencia and then in Barcelona.

In his office in Barcelona
with Dr. Roland Marti

He played a decisive role in the establishment of the system of circulation of family messages (over five million in total). He obtained the liberation of 5000 prisoners in Barcelona whose lives were threatened during the fighting which preceeded the fall of the city. Leopold Boissier[11] later wrote: “In such a conflict, the Geneva Conventions then in force did not give the delegates of the International Committee the means to fully carry out their mission as neutral intermediaries between the two adversaries. No matter… Marcel Junod, burning with faith, did more than his duty. By his constant intervention in both camps, by his appeal for humanity in what was until then a merciless conflict, he succeeded in saving thousands of lives. Thanks to him, the condemned were spared execution, and hostages, on death row, were saved and exchanged.[12]” Amongst many other such prisoners was Arthur Koestler[13]. It is on the basis of what Marcel Junod was able to wrest from the two sides that the norms of protection in the framework of civil wars were later developed.

On the Valencia road...

When the World War started in 1939, Marcel Junod was first incorporated into the sanitary troops of the Swiss army as medical Lieutenant, but a few days later the ICRC intervened and recuperated him in its service. He was first sent to Germany, where on September 27, 1939 he visited the first camp of Polish prisoners of war. Then, from Berlin, he radiated visiting the camps of allied prisoners of war and civilian internees in Germany, then in Belgium and in France, where he visited German prisoners of war as well. In June 1940, he went to France and then to Germany, to avoid reprisals the Germans threatened to take, claiming that their parachutists were being executed[14]. Soon after, he was able to introduce exchanges of information between French POWs and their families, often displaced, through the ‘clearing’ of the ICRC Agency for Prisoners of War. He then obtained agreement from Berlin that all prisoners be allowed to send a duplicate of the ‘Card of notice of capture’ to the Agency. In 1940, he went to London with Mlle Lucie Odier[15], at the moment of the aerial blocade and of the bombing, to organise the transport by sea of aid to the prisoners of war in Germany.

Visit to war prisoners in Germany

He also went to Sweden, where he organised, with the Swedish Red Cross, a huge relief action in favour of the starving Greek population. In September 1941, he went to Turkey to establish a subsidiary of the Agency dealing with the conflict in Eastern Europe; from there ­ he returned twice to Ankara ­ he was busy developing the transport by ship of famine relief to Greece. Off to Athens, he organised there an operation by which sick Greek children could be hospitalised in Cairo; from there he went to Crete, where he visited camps of POWs in the hands of the Italians. During his third mission to Turkey, he was mandated by the ICRC to try and resolve the problem of Soviet prisoners in Germany and German prisoners in the Soviet Union, due to the fact that the Soviet Union was not a party to the Geneva Conventions. Then back to Berlin, he fought constantly in favour of the respect of the rules of humanitarian law and their development.

Exhausted by four years without the slightest break, he left ICRC service and lived in Geneva, from 1943 to 1944, as a medical expert for the Swiss national insurance society for accidents and professional illnesses. But a few months later, he returned to the ICRC and worked for a year at the institution’s headquarters. In December 1944, he married Eugénie Georgette Perret (1915-1970).

At the ICRC headquarters, with Max Huber and
Pilet-Golaz (Swiss Foreign Minister)

In June 1945, he had to leave his wife ­ expecting a child ­ in Switzerland, as again the ICRC sent him on a mission. This time, as Head of the ICRC delegation to Japan, to replace Dr. Paravicini, who had died over a year earlier. He left for the Far East by the Trans-Siberian railway, and obtained from the Japanese on the way, in Manchuria, the authorisation to visit U. S. Generals Wainwright and Percival, as well as the other American prisoners held by the Japanese.

Hiroshima, 1945

On August 9, 1945, Marcel Junod arrived in Tokyo from Manchuria with his colleague, Margharita Straehler[16]. The ICRC delgation in Tokyo had been without a director for two years and was not functioning. Hearing rumours that two nuclear bombs have been dropped over Japan and that a humanitarian catastrophe existed in Hiroshima, he did not manage to obtain any precise information: the Allied High Command decreed a black-out on the events and the zone was forbidden to foreigners[17]. Swamped by the need to register and bring urgent assistance to the prisoners of war[18] ­ a priority protection task ­ Marcel Junod obtained permission to send to Hiroshima, on the 29th of August, a Swiss businessman resident in Japan, asking him to report on the situation. The following day, August 30th, he received a cable telling him of the extent of the catastrophe:


The same day, Thursday August 30th, Junod received from the Gaimusho[20] a series of photographs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki[21]. Saturday September 1rst, he saw Generals Wainwright, Percival. Fitch and Farrel as well as Colonels Marcus and Oughterman at the New Grand Hotel in Yokohama. The question of urgent relief for Hiroshima was raised[22], but he had to wait until Tuesday September 4th to be able to have a formal appointment at the High Command with General Fitch and Chief Surgeon Colonel B. P. Webster. He asked them insistently to initiate a relief operation[23]. Thanks to the credibility he enjoyed resulting from the service he rendered to the Americans with Wainwright, Percival and the prisoners in Manchuria, he achieved that the question be urgently submitted to General MacArthur who, three days later, authorised him to go to Hiroshima with an American medical enquiry commission, two Japanese doctors, and twelve[24] tons of relief supplies. With six transport planes, he left on September 8th:

One hour after takeoff we followed the coast to the East of Fujiyama, not far from its imposing crater, and overflew the great cities of Japan, Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe which looked to me as huge stains of rust with here and there rare areas which had escaped the usual fire. But this view, although impressive, cannot be compared to the unbelievable sight of the desert of Hiroshima. From up in the sky, this city of 400,000 souls, the town of seven rivers, built on the delta of the Okatawa, seems to have been swept by a supernatural force. Nothing remains but a vast white spot, with a brown belt around it, a remnant of the incendiary fire which followed the atomisation. Far away, near the harbour, a few rare buildings seem untouched, as they were protected by a small hill. After overflying the city, the planes descended rapidly and ten minutes later we landed on the airport of Iwakuni, an old Japanese naval base. The medical supplies are unloaded and General Farrell, chief of the mission, hands them over to me. There is no inventory, but the weight is estimated at fifteen tons. I entrust them to a Japanese naval officer and go that same evening to the Japanese military district where the officers are preparing the visit of the city for the following day. Sunday, September 9th, we visit the devastated city and listen to the accounts of various witnesses…[25]”.

Marcel Junod spent five days in Hiroshima, visiting all the hospitals, ensuring optimal repartition of the medical supplies, checking what was missing and obtaining further ones, and taking part himself directly in urgent medical care as a surgeon[26]. As the infrastructure of Hiroshima was completely destroyed, he slept on the beautiful island of Miyajima, spared by the bomb and also by a typhoon which killed a further 4000 people in Hiroshima a few days after the nuclear explosion…

This humanitarian action brought him the honour of being the only individual who has a monument to his memory in the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park. The seventy-odd photographs he brought back to the ICRC are amongst the first images of the tragedy which reached Europe. In 1982, the ICRC published a text by Marcel Junod on this period in the Review of the International Red Cross entitled The Hiroshima disaster[27].

The post-war period, 1945-1952

Marcel Junod stayed several more months in Japan, until April 1946, to continue his task as head of the ICRC delegation, dealing with the evacuation of prisoners, before returning to Switzerland. His son was born on October 26th 1945, while his father was still in the Far East[28]. In the summer of 1946, like all delegates out of a job as the war was over, he left the ICRC and returned to his profession as a doctor, to further his specialisation as a surgeon. From September 1946 to July 1947, he did a training period at the Laënnec hospital in Paris, in the department of tuberculosis and thoracic surgery of Professor Robert Monod. To reduce his expenses as much as possible ­ he was not the sort of person who accumulated savings ­ his wife and son remained in Switzerland and he stayed in Paris with his sister Mado and her husband, Dr. Maurice Cord. Through the latter ­ a very cultivated person with many contacts in the art world ­ Junod met the Russian painter Pavel Tchelichev, the writer Cilette Ofaire, Colette, and many others. It is during this period that he wrote Warrior Without Weapons, typing the text himself as he had no secretarial help. Max Huber[29] accepted to write the preface and the book was published by Payot in French and by Europa-Verlag in German, followed closely by a Swedish edition, and later by British and American editions (1951)[30]. The book was widely commented on and reviewed in the Swiss and International press and the first edition in French was out of print within three months.

At the end of his training in Paris, Marcel Junod obtained a scholarship from the Swiss -American Foundation to continue his studies in thoracic surgery and left for the USA with his family in October 1947[31]. However, just after his arrival, he met Maurice Pate[32], whom he knew from Geneva, at Lake Success close to New York. Pate convinced him to give up his scholarship and enter UNICEF as a Liaison Officer.

Three months later, in January 1948, Maurice Pate sent Junod as the representative of the world institution for children in China. His family joined him in Nanking by boat via the Philippines. They moved to Beijing, and then to Shanghai, while Marcel Junod tried to accomplish his mission in the complicated context of the Chinese Revolution[33]. It was common knowledge that UNRRA, the most important UN organisation active in the field of relief in China at the time, had squandered its two-year budget ­ 500 Mio US$ ­ because of the civil war, the post-WW2 disorganisation, the Chinese administration, inflation, corruption, etc.. Junod had a 12 Mio US$ budget at his disposal… to assist and bring relief to 67 million children, a number which increased each year by 16 million, minus four to five million new-born babies who died of lock-jaw (tetanus) at birth from lack of basic hygiene. Funds were used essentially to support actions by the best implanted humanitarian organisations. But the situation was desperate: one doctor for 30,000 inhabitants, of which none outside the cities; 15,000 hospital beds (less than the number in London at the time) for 450 million inhabitants. Marcel Junod wanted to organise a campaign for the vaccination of children against tuberculosis, which was causing ravages… but he had only five teams of capable doctors and nurses. He saw nothing but cases of dilapidation of resources: for example five hundred superb units of American X-ray equipment imported by UNRRA at the request of the Chinese Government, of which four hundred and eighty were rotting in a warehouse because there were only 20 Chinese doctors who knew how to use such equipment. Moreover, he was frustrated not to be able to do more for children living in communist territory.

In February 1949, Marcel Junod fell ill of a presumed arterial calcification in the left leg; as his three-and-a-half year old son was also seriously ill from amoebic dysentry, Pate ordered the family back to New York. Junod brought back from China 10 Mio US$ of his budget ­ out of twelve ­ and told Maurice Pate that he would have needed ten years and a budget one thousandfold greater to be able to do something really useful.

Marcel Junod worked another two months at UNICEF, and his son was taken care of at the Mayo clinic. But in April, he was practically no longer able to walk and was urgently brought back to Europe, as all medical checks in New York had drawn a blank. In Geneva, it was his friend the radiologist Pierre Bardet who at last identified an enormous cholesterol cyst in the femoral region, doubled with a calcification of the illiac artery. May 12th 1949, Junod underwent major surgery at the hands of Sir Horace Evans, in London. His convalescence was slow, and he had to renounce the possibility of a job at the World Health Organisation. He understood that he would never recuperate completely and that his ailment would prevent him from working as a surgeon, as he could no longer stand for long hours in an operating theatre. He thought the matter through and found a branch of medicine which he could work in while sitting down: anaesthesia, which was at its beginnings in continental Europe.

Despite his poor state of health, he went to Paris and did training periods in anaesthesia at the Cochin and Brousset hospitals. He obtained his diploma in anaesthesiology from the Faculty of medicine in Paris, but in February a second operation on his leg proved necessary, and was carried out by Professor Leriche in Paris. Knowing that the Americans, and even more so the British, were far ahead on the rest of the world  (and particularly the French) in the field of anaesthetics, he renounced a scholarship to go to the USA and in May 1950 settled in London, living at his sister Milou’s and her husband Victor Ceresole’s[34], until his wife and son joined him. He studied at the Middlesex Hospital with Professors Bernard Johnson and A. J. H. Hewer, becoming their clinical assistant in November 1951, at which time he obtained his F.F.A.R.C.S[35]. diploma.

Return to Geneva, 1952-1961

Marcel Junod had the great honour of receiving in 1950, the Gold Medal for Peace of Prince Carl of Sweden in recognition of his humanitarian work[36]. In 1951, he returned to Geneva, obtained his FMH and opened his cabinet as anaesthesist[37]. In 1953, he succeeded in convincing the medical authorities that it was essential to create a department of anaesthesiology at the Cantonal Hospital, and suggested a structure allowing young anaesthesists to be trained[38]. His proposal was accepted[39] and he directed the department, and practiced medicine ­ his first vocation ­ until his death[40]. He took part in a great number of medical congresses, published numerous articles on research and gave many conferences on his specialty, as well as on the medical effects of atomic radiation.

When he managed to escape for holidays, he returned to Spain where he had friends in Barcelona from the time of the Civil War[41].

On December 12th 1960, he gave his inaugural lecture as Professor of Anaesthetics at the Faculty of Medicine of Geneva University, on Fluothane, its pharmacological action and clinical applications. He started all the preparations for a first major Congress of Anaesthesiology in Geneva, bringing together the Swiss, German and Austrian anaesthesists’ societies. The Congress took place on September 8-10, 1961[42].

On October 23rd, 1952, the ICRC co-opted him into its Committee; his knowledge of field work and qualities as a doctor brought him to be elected Vice-President of the institution in 1959. Early 1953, he settled in Lullier near Jussy[43], a country village near Geneva, and the tranquility he found there enabled him to face the daunting task of a double life between the hospital and the ICRC.

Though he had difficulty walking and used a walking-stick, in 1957 Marcel Junod carried out a mission for the ICRC in Budapest and Vienna, from June 11 to 19, in the framework of relief after the crushing of the Hungarian uprising of 1956. The same year, went on a mission to Cairo and took part in the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in New Delhi. He was present at the commemorative ceremonies of the battle of Solferino in 1959 and the same year carried out a mission for the ICRC in Japan, in the framework of the operations of repatriation of Korean prisoners of war. In 1960 he accompanied President Boissier on an official ICRC visit to the Soviet Union, and carried out a long mission ­ his last ­ in the Far East (Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan), Canada and the U. S. A. visiting national Red Cross societies.

On June 16th, 1961, as he was bringing a patient out from an anaesthesia at the hospital, Marcel Junod succumbed to a massive heart attack. He was buried, as he wished, in the cemetry of the municipality of Jussy[44]. The ICRC received over 3000 messages of sympathy from all over the world. Having earlier been awarded a great number of decorations from national red-cross societies, he was posthumously decorated of the Order of the Sacred Treasure of Japan[45].

The monument in Hiroshima dates from 1979, when with time it was clearly established that Marcel Junod had gone beyond his simple duty in mobilising relief for the victims of the atomic bomb[46]. Since then, the anniversary of his death is the object of a commemorative meeting in front of the monument each year, where the town authorities, the association of doctors of Hiroshima, the boys’ choir of the town and the victims who are still alive ­ the dwindling hibakusya ­ take part.

At Marcel Junod’s funeral, Léopold Boissier wished to “bear witness to the man who was the most accomplished delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross. I say the most accomplished, because in the large phalanx of those who have served or are still serving the cause of relief for the victims of wars and internal strife, none has had so many opportunities to reveal his gifts of self-sacrifice, courage, and humanity.”



Courvoisier, Raymond. Ceux qui ne devaient pas mourir, Laffont ed. Paris 1978 (Vecu Coll.)

Junod, Marcel. Warrior Without Weapons, Jonathan Cape ed. London 1951

Marqués, Pierre. La Croix-Rouge pendant la Guerre d’Espagne (1936-1939) Les missionaires de l’humanitaire, L’Harmattan, ed. 2000

(to be continued)

[1]   Richard Samuel’s father, Henri Junod (1825-1882) was clergyman at the Collégiale de Neuchâtel ( married Marie-Adèle Dubied, 1833-1907). Their other children were:  Ruth Adèle (1858-1901, married Paul Berthoud, clergyman, missionary in South Africa); Rose Henriette Elizabeth (1861-1940, who entered religious orders in Strasbourg and later became director of the Pourtalès Hospital in Neuchâtel); Rose Marie (1862-1938, married Clement Heaton, artist, stained glass craftsman); Henri Alexandre (1863-1934, famous ethnologist, clergyman and missionary in Transvaal, author of the first dictionary of the Thonga language; married 1. Emilie Biolley, 2. Sophie Kern); Charles Daniel ‘Cinebref’ (1865-1941, clergyman, President of the Committee of the International Federation of the Blue Cross, 1929-1941, married Marguerite Robert-Tissot),

[2] Recueil généalogique suisse, first series (Geneva), Vol. 2, pp. 49 et ss. After discovering parthenogenesis and carrying out major research on the transmission of knowledge by flatworms, Charles Bonnet (1721-1786) lost his sight due to excessive use of the microscope. He then dictated to his secretary two remarkable volumes of philosophical palingenesis. Wikipedia link.

[3] from oldest to youngest: Gabrielle (1899-1992, married Philippe Hahn), Pierre (1901-1973, married Françoise Burgy), Samuel (1901-1980, married Marie Hélène Rouvé), Madeleine (‘Mado’, 1903-1990, married Dr. Maurice Cord), Marie Louise (‘Milou’, 1907-1993, married Victor Ceresole), Claire Annette (‘Clairette’, 1908-1993, married Georges James Favre-Bulle)

[4] His father was then 15.

[5] See footnote page 1.  His son, Henri-Philippe (1897-1987), also carried out missions for the ICRC.

6 In 1944, as he hadn’t exercised his profession as a doctor since 1935, he presented again a thesis on Psoriasic arthropathologies and trauma in medicine of accidents.

[7] His nephews Bernard Junod and Peter Ceresole remember that he was constantly advising them, as youngsters, to be sportive and keep in good physical shape. Peter writes: “he used to do a 'strong man' act for me. I was about 11 at the time, and I loved it. He'd call out "Voici l'homme fort du village!" (Here’s the village Hercules!’) and do a strong man display complete with growls.”

[8] The ICRC had offered its services to both parties, but Italy had refused.

[9] He first reported the use of mustard-gas ­ in violation of the Geneva Protocol of 1925 ­ on March 18, 1936. The League of Nations asked the ICRC for proof, in particular Junod’s report, but the institution refused saying that it was in touch with the belligerants on the subject.

[10] The book by Pierre Marqués, La Croix-Rouge pendant la Guerre d’Espagne, 1936-1939, Les Missionnaires de l’Humanitaire, L’Harmattan ed. 2000, gives an in-depth analysis of this conflict. The author writes: “A model of ‘man of action’ appears, of which the prototype was Dr. Junod, whose experience justified his appointment as Delegate-general. When he arrived, one is struck by the abruptness and speed with which decisions are taken, documents are accepted and signed. There are elements of answers, an exceptional talent for negociation justifying a posteriori the trust of the ICRC. … Debating the mission and expertise of the Delegate-general in the negociations, essentially in the nationalist zone, must not hide the influence which he had on the doctrine and philosophy of the ICRC itself.” (Op. cit. pp 378/379, original in French)

[11] 1893-1968, President of the ICRC 1955-1964

[12] Eulogy of Dr. Marcel Junod, June 20th 1961 (ICRC archives)

[13] (1905-1983) Koestler speaks of Marcel Junod in his Spanish Testament, etc.

[14] Claude Pilloud, ICRC delegate and friend of Junod wrote: “In 1940, still a newcomer in the Red Cross, I had the priviledge of taking part in a mission under his direction. … On June 17, 1940, when the radio had just announced the request for armistice of the French Government, we left Geneva in the afternoon by car to try and reach Bordeaux and obtain permission to visit the few hundred German prisoners of war whose treatment was bound to condition that of hundreds of thousands of French POWs. In an atmosphere of rout, we frayed our way with difficulty through the masses of refugees clogging up the roads. But Junod did not lose heart; he drove all through the night and refused to take any rest: one must hurry and intervene before the prisoners are freed by the German troops. Finally, after two gruelling days on the road, we reach Bordeaux; Junod found the persons responsible, convinced them and the following day, already, we visited the German officers’ camp and could give Geneva reassuring news; immediately afterwards, we visited other camps and left for home without stopping, arriving exhausted in Geneva. But he didn’t stop, and left immediately for Berlin, where he went to plead the cause of the French prisoners of war.” (Journal de Genève, 18.06.61)

[15] A great Red Cross personality and later member of the ICRC Committee.

[16] Having lived most of her youth in Yokohama, where her father was a businessman, Miss Marguerite Straehler (1898-19--) played from her arrival in Tokyo a key role in the logistics of the ICRC delegation. She had a great technical experience of work in favour of POWs as she worked from 1939 onwards at the Central Agency for Prisoners of War of the ICRC and was head of its department for American POWs in Japanese hands. She spoke Japanese fluently.

[17] It was only a year later (Sept. 10 to 13 1946), when a major article by John Hersey appeared in the New York Herald Tribune (reprinted from The New Yorker), that the U. S. population really became aware of the extent of the horror of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

[18] That same day - August 29th - the Evening Standard titled “Japs give us full list of prisoners”, sub-titling “Names of prisoners of war and internees in the Tokyo area are now in Allied hands. The full list was supplied today by Dr Marcel Junod, the Swiss Delegate for the International Red Cross in Tokyo.”

[19] Cable from Bilfinger of 30.08.45 (ICRC archives).

[20] Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

[21] These are the ones, completed by some from Dr. Matsunaga, which he brought back to Geneva.

[22] And probably also for Nagasaki.

[23] Marcel Junod kept his agendas in which he noted quite precisely his professional activities. For this period he wrote:

Tuesday 4.9, ”Looked at my agenda… So much to do, no time to write. Démarche to Général Fitch for Hiroshima. Big arrival of troops ­ the bulldozer in action.

Wednesday 5.9: Alexis Johnson, Consul.

Thursday 6.9: Col. Sams gives me a copy of a memo addressed to the Jap.(anese) Gov.(ernor). Sends 12 tons medical supplies under our control.

Friday 7.9: Prof.Tzusuki, Dr. Motohashi, Cap. Flick, Cap. Nolen, Gen. Farrell, Gen. Newman, Morrison physicist, Col. Oughterson (?) Slept at Myashima, island of the sanctuary.

Saturday 8.9: Départure for Hiroshima at 9,30. Gen. arrived at Tokyo. Arrival over Hiroshima at 12.00. Scene of G. Moi. (?) quite accurate. Arrival IWAKUNI airfield. Medical supplies déposited. Slept Myashima.

Sunday 9.9: Visit Hiroshima. Hospitals, see personal notes. Bomb on Hiroshima, the vast city, fell at 8h15, 6 August. At the station, the clock with stopped hands marks exactly the time.

Monday 10.9: Received by Gov. Hiroshima Gensho Takano, Dr. Kitajima, Min. of Public health. The Governor lost his wife. He looks like knocked out by all this affair and prob. refused to receive the Am. gentlemen. My journalist lost his brother and his sister.

Tuesday 11.9: Dr MASARU MATSUNAGA. Visit of the sanctuary of the island of Miyashima. Visit hospitals and doctors Hiroshima, returned Miyashima.

Wednesday 12.9: This morning saw complex cases of Hiroshimitis - in fact a syndrome. Japan held more the secret than the power. Dr. Nakad, Imp. University. ONOMICHI

Thursday.13.9: Evacuation of the camps of Tamano, Zentzuji, Mihama, ?Balian, truck, red cross car ­ All in order. Good work. To UNO.

Friday 14.9: Departure Onomichi. Arrival Osaka in special carriage. In the evening saw Johnson and arranged for him distribution Chinese and Greek S.C. by Brunner (?)

Saturday 15.9: Back in Tokyo 18.30

[24] According to some sources twelve, others fifteen. It is interesting to note that within a few days the U.S. also send relief supplies to Nagasaki. Junod was probably still in Hiroshima, which can be the reason why he did not personally go to Nagasaki.

[25] M.J., Report of 09.11.45 (ICRC archives)

[26] He was the first non-japanese doctor to visit Hiroshima.

[27] Dr. Matsunaga, who accompanied Marcel Junod during his entire stay in Hiroshima, saw him take detailed notes beyond what he wrote in his agenda. They have unfortunately not been found.

[28] Very anglophile, Georgette (‘Jo’) Junod decided to give birth to her son in England where one of her sisters-in-law and a very close friend, Norah Hartley, were living. She went from Geneva to London by train with her brother-in-law, Victor Ceresole, and they arrived on August 20th 1945. They must have made a surprising pair: she was 1,54 m tall, and he measured 2,09 m. In the train, a traveller asked “Where are you going?”, and she replied “To London, we work in a circus…”.

[29] Lawyer, Statesman and diplomat, Max Huber (18??-19??) was President of the ICRC from 1928 to 1944. Junod had cordial relations with him, as he also had with his successor Carl Burckhardt (President, 1944-1948)

[30] Later, Japanese and Dutch editions were published, as well as a Serbo-croat translation (1994). The Spanish version was published after Franco’s death. Today it is the ICRC which manages the book, and the English/French/Spanish versions are available.

[31] They spent all their free time upstate New York, at Valley Cottage, where Junod’s cousins lived:  Maurice Heaton (1900-1990), glass craftsman, and his wife the photographer and poet Berenice van Slyke 1894-1979).

[32] Founder and first Executive Director of the United Nation’s Childrens’ Emergency Fund (UNICEF) (1894-1965)

[33] The information that follows is a condensed summary of a talk Junod gave to the Anglo-Swiss Society on April 3rd 1952.

[34] Their son Peter Ceresole writes: “I remember it very well; in his room, on the first floor, he had a blackboard on which he made anatomical drawings in coloured chalk. I still can't see an anatomical drawing without thinking of the ones he drew, and that blackboard in that room. He walked every day to strengthen his leg. We lived at Addison Crescent, which was basically one side of a triangle. He would set off from our front door and head left, walk as far as he could and return. At the start, it was just to the corner with Addison Road. Then he'd disappear round the corner for longer and longer excursions, but always returning from the left. Then one day he appeared from the right; he'd gone all the way round. He was visibly

elated. I remember that we had a little celebration”.

[35] Fellow of the Faculty of Anaesthesia of the Royal College of Surgeons.

[36] He received it after Pope Pius XII and before Eleonor Roosevelt.

[37] Peter Ceresole writes: “I also remember vividly being driven from London to Geneva by him, when he finally moved back to Switzerland after his London phase. … He'd qualified in Britain in anaesthetics and had a brand new stainless steel anaesthesist's kit, a rack on castering wheels (I think) with bottles of gas and mixer taps on it. Primitive by present day standards, but absolutely gung-ho at the time. We drove across in his Fiat Topolino. There was so much stuff that we kept the roof open and the stainless steel machine poked out. Luckily it was the beginning of summer and the weather was great. Of course in those days of exchange control and tarrifs he had a carnet for his kit. Some of it was ampoules of curare which was emerging as part of the new anaesthetic techniques of total control, and they caused no end of interest and excitement at the customs- I think we passed via St Julien although I'm not sure. I do remember that as we drove through the Jura (the loaded Topolino was quite leisurely on the upgrades) we waved and called greetings to all the pretty girls we saw.” He settled in a house called ‘Le Clapotis’, next to the lake on the road to Vésenaz

[38] He also imposed that his replacement, if necessary, be Dr. Pierre Koenig, who studied anaesthesia at the same time in England as Marcel Junod, but in Oxford under Sir Robert Macintosh. This ensured a continuous application of British methodology and practice in the Department.

[39] … at the end of two years’ humming and hawing. Junod was appointed on October 9th, 1954

[40] Junod did not direct his department without having to fight to have its importance recognised. Many surgeons, especially French, considered anaesthesia a task for a nurse or a second-rate doctor. When moreover the anaesthesist was himself a surgeon, frictions were unavoidable ­ which was not only the case of Junod, but also of his assistant at the Anaesthesiology Department of the hospital, Dr. Bertrand Bronner.

[41] Holidays in Cadaqués (1954-1956) then in Port Lligat (1958-60), where he met Dalí on several occasions.

[42] Marcel Junod should have presided it. Forttunately, the event took place without problems, thanks to the efficiency of Dr. Bronner and the support of Dr. Koenig.

[43] Leopold Boissier, in his eulogy of Marcel Junod, said:”When after distant travels, he received you in his garden at Lullier, he invited you to look at the landscape and murmured “How beautiful!’. And, really, the flowers appeared more splendid, the wheatfields more golden and the horizon, beyond the Vuache, more luminous. For Marcel Junod, who had seen so many terrible things, God had maintained all the beauty of the world.”

[44] By the chance of chronology, he is buried next to another delegate of the ICRC, Georges Olivet, who was killed in the Congo in 1960.

[45] This decoration was given to him for his work in the context of the repatriation of the Korean prisoners and in obtaining the freedom of Japanese fishermen who were detained in Korea.