Karoline, K


Karoline, K


Karoline K's account of the events at Obere Karlstraße 17 (Bürgersäle).



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Spatial Coverage





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Record 4


Translated from the original in German: Present is Mrs Karoline K., Obere Karlstraße 17, now Harleshausen, Pideritzstraße 7, and makes the following statement:
In the evening of the air raid, there were only a few cinema-goers left in the pub. Mainly soldiers who were having a drink after the screening which had finished by half seven. They, together with other guests, came with us to the cellar but they went to the public one whereas we went to the private one for the people living in the house. We were originally in our business, in the dairy, across from them. The air raid had taken us by surprise, just as we were coming home. My daughter had been washing her feet and therefore ran without stockings to the cellar. My husband didn’t want to go at first. He said: “There won’t be anything.” Because we had had a number of false alarms. When the shooting started, however, he shouted from above: “I’m coming, Mother!” That calmed me down. As he entered, his hat was blown of his head; it was not before time.
So the whole house community was together. And then came the heavy hits. It didn’t take long and Mrs Dötenbier appeared and asked if she could stay with us. She had come through the breakthrough. But we had smoke and phosphorous coming into the cellar and so we had to flee to the public shelter. We held wet cloths to our mouths. My husband did not follow us through the breakthrough at that time as he was still trying to put the fire out. It must have been about 11 when I went with Mr Schwan. We weren’t aware that it had stopped. We thought the raid was still going on. We had to operate the ventilators to get air. The French POWs had already started pumping at eleven. I saw little Ruth Niemann and I gave her a pill as she has trouble with her heart. I comforted her because her mum wasn’t there.
No one let us out of the cellar, about half eleven, Mr Zedler and Mr Schneider let no one leave the cellar. There were also soldiers and policemen. We were told the men had to operate the ventilation pumps below and the women the ones above so that we would get oxygen. I thought I’d burst. It was too hard. My daughter also could no longer operate the pump. Mrs Vogt died of a heart attack through the work. They would not let her or her children leave. These weren’t oxygen pumps but fresh air pumps and we only pumped smoke in. The women were exhausted. In my view, we should have lain down and kept still. My husband had a heart condition but our daughter was healthy. About a quarter to one, my husband asked what the time was. My daughter had sat down, my husband was lying on the floor. They were so quiet. I thought: Is that death? Then I became tired and thought I don’t know how much longer I can bear this.
After that I must have gone to sleep. But it was a peaceful going to sleep, just as when you get home from a walk, and it was cold outside and then you get into your flat, where it’s comfortably warm and you go to sleep. My husband said at the end: “I don’t understand why no one comes to rescue us.” We were told that the gate had not been on fire so that we would have been able to get out. From the Friedrichs-platz, Mr and Mrs Schwan too had been driven by soldiers to the Bürgersäle. They also died with the exception of Mrs Schwan. A Mr Steinmetz from Karlstraße managed to get his children out and also wanted his wife to come but she did not have the courage to leave and stayed there. That was roundabout 11. One woman said: “I take responsibility for my own life!” So they let her go. The two air raid wardens who prevented us from leaving had good intentions but they too suffocated with the others. I don’t remember much after that. By one o'clock I was unconscious.
Herr Siebert – he works for Auto-Cöster – told me that the old Mr Cöster had stripped off and had a screaming fit after he’d told him the course of his life.
I woke up two days later in the Jäger barracks, Frankfurter Straße. I don’t know how I got there.


Vermisstensuchstelle des Oberbürgermeisters der Stadt Kassel, “Karoline, K ,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 24, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/7326.

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