Wickenrode, Karl L


Wickenrode, Karl L


Mr Karl L Wickenrode's account of the events at Frankfurter Straße, Weinbergbunker, Marstall and Kaufunger Straße.



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Record 8


Translated from the original in German: Present is the teacher Mr Karl L., Wickenrode, and makes the following statement:
I arrived at Kassel train station around half four with the express train from Lorraine. I had all my luggage with me, particularly all my research notes on the ethnology of Lorraine. I went directly to my niece, in the Chamber of Crafts, and left several suitcases there. I could not take them all with me to Wickenrode. On the other hand, I did not feel that they’d be safe with left luggage. In my rucksack, I had sixty cartridges and my three-barrelled shotgun with telescopic sight which I intended to take with me on the bus. The rest, including the bottles of Cognac and my research notes, I wanted to leave in Kassel for the time being. I was ill that day and arrived in Kassel with a temperature. I went down to the theatre. There, I had a glass of beer. The landlord came to my table and said, gesturing with his head towards the theatre: “As long as that thing’s there, they won’t leave us alone.” I told him that I had all my luggage at the station and in town to which the landlord remarked: “Better to take with you what you can carry.” I therefore went back and retrieved two more pieces of luggage. When I arrived at the bus, which always leaves from Friedrichsplatz, it was already jam-packed. The next one would take us. It was about a quarter past seven. As the bus leaves, I said in jest: “Look out! We’ll have lots of excitement!” They people on the bus shouted back: “Don’t make jokes like that!” Just as the bus had left, the sirens started to wail. The Friedrichsplatz was empty in no time. And then the bombs started to drop. The new office prefabs burned immediately. They caught fire first. I ran into a house in Frankfurter Straße. I did not go into the cellar but stayed under the stairs. Soon the house was on fire above me. Someone shouted: “Don’t go out! Don’t go out!” I went anyway, however, and that was what saved me. I think all the people in the cellar burned to death.
People were running past me to the Weinberg. The whole street was ablaze. So I turned right. I wanted to flee to the Aue. I asked those who were running past me: “Where are you going?” “To the shelter in the Weinberg!” Incendiaries were pelting down. I came to the first entrance: jam-packed. We were told: “Only women are allowed in.” To the next entrance then. The second shelter was also full. To the third entrance. I had just entered the tunnel when the second wave of bombers arrived. It was terrible.
Later, we ran out. Everything around us was on fire. Then the refugees came from all parts of the city, more and more of them. They came from the old town, from Wilhelmstraße, Hohenzollernstraße, even from Holländische Platz. From all corners people came. They talked about heavy bombs, innumerable incendiaries and showers of white phosphorous. Then the Rondellchen, the little round temple next to the art gallery, started to burn. Now the order came: “All men out for emergency service!” We ran to the houses on Frankfurter Straße to firefight and rescue. We managed to salvage quite a lot. A Mr Hausmann saved a lot of typewriters. And then the fire brigade came. The last waves of raiders gave the upper new town the rest. Kassel was a single sea of flames, from the upper to the lower parts. On the pavement, from the Weinberg to the Friedrichsplatz, we found fifty or sixty incendiaries.
The following morning revealed a terrible picture. The whole city was trampled, torn and shattered. Then the big bomb in the Aue exploded. A woman was killed by a splinter through her heart. People screamed. I ran down to Brüder-straße in order to get across the Fulda Bridge. I was stopped. At the same moment, a dud exploded at Marstaller Platz where the Restaurant Wilhelm is. When I walked through Kaufunger Straße, people were still or already trying to put out fires. Massive houses were still collapsing. Then came trucks bringing food stuffs into the city. People behaved splendidly.


Vermisstensuchstelle des Oberbürgermeisters der Stadt Kassel, “Wickenrode, Karl L ,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 21, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/7354.

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