Leimbach, Johannes


Leimbach, Johannes
Johannes Leimbach


Johannes Leimbach's account of the events at Zeughausstraße 10, Wildemannsgasse 19 'Pinne'.



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Record 16


Translated from the original in German: Present is Mr Johannes Leimbach [born 24 October 1885], formerly of Zeughausstraße, and makes the following statement:
When the alarm came, my daughter with her child and another woman from the house, Mrs Dora Jacobs, went to the Pinne [a pub]. I stayed alone in the cellar. I waited and put out two incendiaries in the attic and I went up and down back to the cellar and I shouted to those in the cellar next door: “Your house is on fire, you have to put out the fire. But they claimed that they had no water. They preferred to save themselves. I carried down other things: children’s clothes, pram and other things. When the fires had spread so far that you couldn’t get through anymore, I thought: “Now you have to save your life.” I ran with the pram and the bedding across the Weiße Hof and we were instructed to make our way to the embankment at the school. I parked the pram there. Before, however, the enormous storm had torn away one of the bundles. During the night, I tried to get to the Pinne. Impossible. When it got a little lighter, I made my way through Königstraße, Bremerstraße, Artilleriestraße down to the Pinne.
A man shouted: “Come, we want to get into the Pinne, one entrance is accessible.” Another five men joined us and then we lifted a shaft cover. The house had collapsed completely with the exception of half the front and a wall on the left. A man came running from the rubble at the back. “Come over here, we can reach an entrance here.” We went there and went twenty steps down. We shone a torch and that’s when we saw it. The dead bodies were lying there. Then we called for people we knew: “Mrs Simmen” and I shook her and she said: “Yes?” And I said: “Don’t you recognize me?” “Oh,” she says, “Mr Leimbach, where is my daughter Ilse?” and she gestures with her hand. We carried Mrs Simmen out. She said: “My legs! My Legs!” We carried her. The emergency service and a car took her away. Then we brought out another four or five people. Then soldiers and the emergency services arrived. I was looking for my daughter. I couldn’t find her. The soldiers said; “They’re all dead. You can just drag them out like that. We have to start from the front.” I then went to Sandershausen where my daughter’s renting two rooms. Then I went back to the Pinne but my daughter had not yet been found.
On Sunday, she was lying there, dead. With her was an unknown child. They’d thought it was hers. She had black hair and was about two years old. She was not buried with my daughter. According to the picture, it can’t have been Mrs K.’s daughter (see record 12). She had long black hair. Then we looked for the boy; he was about nine months old. He was lying there, he looked so natural; we buried him with his mother. The police registered the personal details and labelled the dead. I returned there on several occasions but did not find any further relatives. We brought my daughter in her coffin to Sandershausen where her flat was. Miss Anne-liese Ortlepp who boarded with us, has also been saved. She is now in the psychiatric hospital in Gießen. She can still not walk. This is everything I can say what I saw and went through.


Vermisstensuchstelle des Oberbürgermeisters der Stadt Kassel, “Leimbach, Johannes ,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 13, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/7480.

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