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Setsuko Thurlow Rose honors the legacy of a Hiroshima survivor and abolition campaigner

August 10, 2021
The Setsuko Thurlow rose

In the year that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons enters in force, a new variety of rose will be planted in Spain. The Setsuko Thurlow Rose, a rose of hope, will be planted on the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, September 26, 2021, in a prominent rose garden in Madrid, with a nameplate “Setsuko Thurlow”.  The rose was cultivated by Matilde Ferrer, a world-renowned rose breeder and former president of the European society of rose breeders. Matilde describes the Setsuko Thurlow Rose as a “beautiful, multicolored rose, delicate in appearance, yet resilient. It does not lose its leaves throughout the year.” 

Upon hearing of this new rose variety, Setsuko wrote a letter of thanks to Matilde:

“In the aftermath of the atomic massacre, there was a rumor that no grass or plants or flowers would grow for 75 years in the land affected by radioactive poison. But the following Spring oleander blooms electrified the people with joy and thankfulness to realize that our lives would continue!…Nuclear Weapons threatened everything and everyone we love. All things of beauty, like this stunning rose variety, are threatened by the existence of nuclear weapons. May this beautiful flower flourish in a future where nuclear weapons are finally eradicated from our one beloved and precious planet.”

Many thanks to Matilde Ferrer, and Belén Yuste, Sonnia Rivas-Caballero, the co-organizers of the “Nobel Women” exhibit who contacted Matilde with the idea of a rose for Setsuko, as well as ICAN’s own Dr. Carlos Umaña, Co-President of IPPNW for bringing Setsuko to Spain in February 2020. 

On this 76th anniversary of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the year in which the TPNW entered into force we honor the life and legacy of Setsuko Thurlow and her tireless action and advocacy for a world without nuclear weapons!

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