Tuesday, September 29, 2020


Back Story: Surviving Hiroshima by Anthony Drago


 Back Story: The Inspiration Behind Surviving Hiroshima

By Anthony Drago 

     On January 29,1950, I was born in Camden New Jersey. Due to both my parents working I spent a lot of my time at my grandparent’s home and attached neighborhood Italian grocery store. Growing up, my mother Kay Drago (Kaleria Palchikoff), told me various stories about her life. At the time, I didn’t really understand the impact it would have on me.
     In my teens, I remember my mother telling me about how important family, education, music and the remembrance of history was. She would impress upon me that Russian and Japanese cultures were necessary for me to learn. Especially, my family’s involvement in that history.
Through the years, I learned a great deal from my mother. How her family fled the Russian Revolution and their final escape to Hiroshima, Japan. I learned about her life in Japan as a child and her love for music and school athletics. She excelled in both. She also never forgot about telling me about the importance of Christian faith and to always rely in God.
     I realized quickly that having faith in God was extremely important to my mother. My mother’s life in Japan was full of joy while growing up early in life but that suddenly changed when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. Like all wars, the civilian’s lives are tragically altered. Theirs was a constant fear of bombings and threats of arrest. This was due to my family being stateless and not being Japanese. And then, on August 6, 1945 the Atom Bomb was used on Hiroshima. My mother was 1.5 miles from the epicenter, when over 70,000 Japanese were instantly killed. She and her family survived but what now.
     All these detailed experiences I keep in a special place in my heart for many years. I had my mother write her experiences down and I asked many questions about her experience. Between starting a new life with my wife Kathy, raising three children a a law enforcement career, I hardly had time to think about my mom’s experiences.

     There were many times that I would dream of possibly writing a book or at least looking into the possibility. Many times, I would tell friends and colleagues the story of survival in Japan and people would just stare at me in awe saying it’s unbelievable.
     Retiring from the police department after thirty years of service, I started to think about making my book a reality. After many dead-ends and people saying it can’t be done, I was introduced to author/historian Douglas Wellman. Doug was intrigued with my story and we both set our sights in completing this amazing work. After thirty years, I finally saw a light at the end of the tunnel.
     Surviving Hiroshima A Young Women’s Story is a story that I needed to tell and the world needs to finally hear after 75 years.

Enjoy the book!


Anthony “Tony” Drago was born in Camden, New Jersey and spent much of his early childhood at his paternal grandparents Italian grocery store. From a young age, his mother, Kaleria Palchikoff Drago, would tell him the captivating story of her journey from Russia to Japan and then to the United States. It created Tony’s foundation for his love of history—especially his family’s history—bringing him to write this book.

After retiring in 2006, Tony doubled down on his passions—flying his airplane, restoring his classic car, and traveling the world with his wife, Kathy. Tony and Kathy have been married for forty-five years. They have three adult children and enjoy spending their days on the beach in their hometown of Carmel, California with their eight grandchildren and dogs, Tug and Maggie. For more information about Kaleria and the book, visit http://www.survivinghiroshima.com.



From Russian nobility, the Palchikoffs barely escaped death at the hands of Bolshevik revolutionaries until Kaleria’s father, a White Russian officer, hijacked a ship to take them to safety in Hiroshima. Safety was short lived. Her father, a talented musician, established a new life for the family, but the outbreak of World War II created a cloud of suspicion that led to his imprisonment and years of deprivation for his family.

Then, on August 6, 1945, 22-year-old Kaleria was doing pre-breakfast chores when a blinding flash lit the sky over Hiroshima, Japan. A moment later, everything went black as the house collapsed on her and her family. Their world, and everyone else’s changed as the first atomic bomb was detonated over a city.

After the bombing, trapped in the center of previously unimagined devastation, Kaleria summoned her strength to come to the aid of bomb victims, treating the never-before seen effects of radiation. Fluent in English, Kaleria was soon recruited to work with General Douglas MacArthur’s occupation forces.


Amazon → https://amzn.to/2DHTSue

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