Frank Jan B

Title

Frank Jan B

Description

Frank Jan B's account of the events at Moltkestraße 14

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Date

1944-03-10

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 20
BKasselVdObmv10020

Coverage

Conforms To

Spatial Coverage

Temporal Coverage

Transcription

Translated from the original in German: Present is the Dutchman Frank Jan B. from Rotterdam, working as grinder at Henschel & Son, of Moltkestraße 14, and makes the following statement:
When the alarm came, I was on Wolfhager Straße, near Rothenditmold. I immediately made my way home. As I was on my way, the bombing started. I therefore went into a cellar on lower Königstraße, opposite Bremer Straße. There were many soldiers and civilians, altogether twenty people. That’s when it really started. I met another Dutchman and we chatted a bit and shortly after, a whole chunk of the house was blown away. A fire started immediately and we could no longer leave where we’d entered. We heard the bombs fall, it was terrible, one after the other. And because there was a fire, lots of smoke came into the cellar. There was some machine in the cellar which you had to turn to suck in fresh air but it brought in as much smoke as was already there. And when the whistling [of the bombs] stopped, we tried to get out. Two women stayed with us and one of them said: “Make my coat wet and then we’ll make our way through the fire.” And everyone looked for a way out. It was dark in the cellar, the light had gone out. I climbed out of the cellar together with the Dutchman and we arrived among the coal, we carried the suitcase for the two women, and thus we arrived on Königstraße.
There was fire everywhere, everything, everything burned, left and right, above, and there was a storm; it’s terrible such a storm. It sucked in the oxygen and all the sparks, it was raining sparks. I said to my colleague: I’ll try and get to my street, it was just around the corner, but as we turned the corner, everything had collapsed because they’d taken a direct hit. And because we couldn’t get through there, we turned back and tried to get through at Jägerstraße. But it was the same there; they’d also been directly hit. So we turned back. Then I went into the next cellar next to the first building because it was unbearable in the street. After an hour, lots of smoke came in and we had to get out again. Then we went into Bremer Straße; that was the only option. As we were walking, I heard something whistling and thought it’ll start again. I through myself on the street. But that wasn’t it. Farther away unexploded bombs were going off. Then we went to the pub Stadt Prag. It was undamaged. Here were many people. I had a beer and smoked a cigarette, for the nerves, but after an hour we had to leave again because the roof started burning. We arrived on the street near the school and from the old town came three or four old people and six or seven very small children one of whom I took on my arm. The child was crying because the sparks burnt their legs. We brought the people into the cellar of a house which wasn’t on fire yet. And there was a woman, who stood in the corridor, and she said: “There at the back is my pram.” But as we got there, it was gone. She shouted: “Where is my pram?” We searched, where had it gone? Maybe someone had taken it with them. We two Dutchmen continued on the street; we tried to find somewhere where it was bearable but there was nowhere to go. We sat in a corner of the Holländische Platz, turned our collars up and waited for daybreak.
Then I went to Moltkestraße, where I lived, and many people were in the street. Everything was smoking, most of it was burnt out. I climbed over the pile of rubble at the entrance to the street, in the middle of the street was a dead body, completely burnt, and there were another two burnt bodies lying on the street. In the street I met Herr Stein from my house. He had also not been at home that night. Our house had collapsed, only a piece of wall was still standing. I climbed in over the rubble. The cellar door was still open. I went in with Herr Stein but no-one was left in the cellar. Everything was full of smoke. We wanted to take his stuff out but we had no keys for the cellar. I then found my suitcases; a friend of mine had brought them down. The other two Dutch people who had lived with us, were both dead. I only realised this three weeks later. I always thought that they’d managed to get out somewhere. I then went to the Lutherplatz where I had something to eat and then I walked to Obervellmar. There, I was welcomed by the NSV [Nationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt], we were given soup and food, and I slept on the straw. I stayed and slept there for four days, at the collection camp. In the meantime, my friend from work arrived and we slept in a barn on the straw. Then the farmer gave us a room. This is why we are still in Obervellmar.

Citation

Vermisstensuchstelle des Oberbürgermeisters der Stadt Kassel, “Frank Jan B,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed October 22, 2020, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/7487.

Item Relations

This item has no relations.

Can you help improve this description?