Christian, R

Title

Christian, R

Description

Mr Christian's account of the events at Moltkestraße 7.

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Date

1944-03-01

Contributor

Harry Ziegler

Rights

This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ and https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/legal.

Language

Type

Identifier

Record 9
BKasselVdObmv10009

Coverage

Conforms To

Spatial Coverage

Temporal Coverage

Transcription

Translated from the original in German: Present is Mr Christian R. and gives the following statement:
I came home from my business at about half seven, sat down for dinner and then came the alarm. We made our way to the cellar. The suitcases with clothes and underwear were already there. My wife took our child, we put coats on, took our gas masks and then we went down. After I had brought my wife and child down, I went back to the courtyard: everything was illuminated, the searchlights were on, I made my way back down, not before time. Now the raid started. We did not feel much of it in the cellar except for the air pressure and impacts on the street of what I presumed to be canisters. As the raid was more or less finished, I made my way back up together with some other men where I saw a sea of flames. Houses had started to burn from the top and from the bottom, from both sides. In my view it was impossible to brave the streets with wife and child. We therefore decided to send the women and children through the breakthroughs towards the Lutherplatz. As some had been guided through, others came back because the breakthrough to number nine had been blocked because the house had taken a direct hit. We therefore returned to our cellar which was well equipped: the door was sealed against gas and the windows had protective panels so that it seemed safe. And everyone hoped that they could leave the cellar safely in the morning. Unfortunately, the fire came through the cellars and gas started to develop and we suffered from a lack of oxygen. In this way, 80 to 90 people first suffocated in the connected cellars and then burned to death. Only the bare skulls and some bones could be found by the rescue units.
I sat with my wife and child in a fourth cellar which was not connected to the others. There were another 20 people who died from suffocation but they did not burn. I only know that during the night, about half one, my wife started to complain about chest pains and that I gave her some valerian drops. The little seven-year old girl was sleeping. I can’t say what happened after that because I fell asleep. When I woke up again, I was in hospital in Göttingen (reserve military hospital Maria Hilf, Kirchweg?). I was there together with a neighbour from number nine by the name of Baum and a Mrs Hessler who had been visiting her parents that day in number 14 and who had also been in the cellar with us. After a few days, five or six, when I could walk again, I travelled to Kassel to find out what had happened to my family. In Kassel, I found out that my wife and child were dead. On the train to Münden, I got talking to a sergeant who explained to me that he’d come home from the front and experienced that night in Kassel. He lived in the Graben and had also lost his wife. When I explained to him my misfortune, he explained to me that on Sunday afternoon, about one, he had been looking for his sister-in-law in Moltkestraße 5. He couldn’t find her but he’d heard faint knocking from number seven. He had therefore fetched a few people so as to break open the cellar from the gateway. That’s when they got us out. Mrs Hasler who now lives Wilhelmshöher Allee 145 – 147, had been knocking. This was sergeant Heik.
My boss, the merchant August Döhne, who owns number seven, came to Moltkestraße on Saturday morning at about seven. He’d looked into the cellar where there was a great heat. He had shouted into the cellar but there was no sign of life. He consulted someone from the rescue team who said that the cellar smelled of sulphur and that therefore no one would be alive. It is possible, however, that many of our neighbours could still have been saved that Saturday morning.
Post script:
From our house the following people escaped after the raid by running through the flames to Untere Königstraße: Mr and Mrs Sieberecht, Mr Riedel with his daughter Hannelore (13), Superintendent Altekrüger and his wife and child. Mrs Altekrüger and Hannelore Riedel are dead. Mr Altekrüger is missing. The following were killed from our house: the Heinze family, Müller [?], Mr Vorsatz [?], families Scheidemann, Ries, Göpel, Mrs Osten and her daughter-in-law, Mrs Ellenberg, Mrs Wagner, Mrs Hut and her two children, the two Miss Konzes, Mrs Herbold and her two children, Olga Wächter, Rudi Theis, Mrs Koch and her child, the Hasselbach family and the Zimmer family, Mrs Hilgenberg and her two children, the widow Krümmel and widow Lorchheim, Mrs Hammacher and the boy evacuated from Cologne, Mrs Riedel and her mother.

Citation

Vermisstensuchstelle des Oberbürgermeisters der Stadt Kassel, “Christian, R,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed October 30, 2020, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/7355.

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