Alfred P


Alfred P


Mr Alfred P's account of the events at Schäfergasse 5 and Gartenstraße 26.



Temporal Coverage

Spatial Coverage





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Record 21


Translated from the original in German: Present is Mr Alfred P., formerly of Gartenstraße 26, and makes the following statement:
The alarm went and there was hardly enough time to eat a bowl of soup. Because I’d just come home from work. So I grabbed together what I had on me. My mother brought everything down to the cellar. Because I was in Gartenstraße at my sister’s as I always had to eat there. My mother was also there; she lived in Zentgrafenstraße. (Mother Hedwig P., sisters Anna P. and Helene H.) During the raid I wanted to see a couple of times what was going on but was always thrown back by air pressure. When the flames started and everything was on fire, I went back up and brought the bedding and anything else I could grab into the cellar. Houses no 7 and 9 were already on fire and also many houses on Schäfergasse downwards. The horse butcher Herrmann from our house also brought a lot of things into the cellar. And then he said: “This one doesn’t even live in this house and helps to salvage things but you are afraid to go up. You have to take your hat off to him.” Then I went to have another look in the street, my mother and sister too. I said to my mother: “Just wait here a moment, I want to go back down and tell people there that they should get out.” And when I got into the cellar and told them, most of them said I’d gone mad, the cellar was safe and nothing could happen to them there. I said: “No, that’s a living grave. If we get to keep our things in here, we’ll be lucky,” I said.
And when I came back up, my mother had disappeared and my sister too. I shouted after them and heard my sister shout “Alfred” back once but I could not see them through the fire and the smoke. I thought, they’d already run across. But they had not stayed where I told them, I wanted to take them with me the way I wanted to go. I made my way towards the horse market, where Koch, the glazier, is. I jumped through a small column of fire because the Huth’s house opposite had already mostly collapsed. Still sounds of crashing and fire raining down, I don’t know what time it was. Then I went round the corner of the Tabella house which was already gone, here I was protected. A bunch of little children screamed, they were lying on a pile of sand. So I said to the children: “Come on, get up, I can’t carry you all, you’ll have to come after me.” But none of them came, no one of them reacted to what I’d said. So I went up Pferdemarkt and had to get across burning beams. It was the house of the clothes shop, next to Tabella, opposite the Hellmuth bakery. That’s where I realised that I had burnt my legs. I was still carrying my bike on my back because I thought I could drive down Königstraße. But you couldn’t do that. As I came to the corner where the department store was, I chucked it away, the frame had become so hot that I could not hold on to it. Then I went down Königstraße further because I could not get through Moltkestraße. I always looked for open spaces but could not get to Lutherplatz. So I ran to Jägerstraße. A burnt-out car was standing in the middle of the street; that was lucky for me. I crouched behind it for a moment. At that moment a column of fire shot out from Jägerstraße and I would not have managed to get through it if the car had not been there. (If we’d had water, we could have saved many a house.) Then the firestorm abated for a moment and I thought it’s time to get up and get on, further down. Just as I’d started, it started raining fire again. I’d only run a few paces, and I thought you can’t go back, you’ll have to run the short distance through it. I had everything burnt, my head, the hair had all gone, my hands, I could feel it on my legs and what I’d been wearing had turned into rags. Then I ran to Bremer Straße (Synagogue). There, I stood at a wall and tried to catch my breath. At that moment I also lost my sight. Someone came with a tin hat on their head and shouted: “Off the street, clear the street.” I could just about see him. I shouted back: “Come here if you want something!” So he came over to me, took me and I was carried down to the fire trenches in the Jew garden. That’s when the pain started and I started to whimper a bit. Someone gave me water from an old tin can; I had a burning thirst. They said to me: “Be careful that you don’t cut your lips on the tin!” Another woman put ointment on my hands. From there I was taken to the cellar of the Henschel admin building. A doctor dressed my burns provisionally. He also cut off the burnt skin. Then I was taken to another room where I was to sit on a bench but I immediately fell over. I heard only moaning and groaning. Then a truck came and took us to the district hospital. It must have been daylight as the sun hurt my eyes but I could not see it. In the bunker I had to walk as there were no stretchers. I was guided and put on a bed and then they took the rags off me. I stayed there until 6 October. [Would have to have been November.] Then I was on a transport bus to Eschwege. I don’t know much about that time because I started raving. I jumped out of the bed and did not want to lie down. But I don’t remember any of this. On 14 February I was discharged from Eschwege.
There was also someone called Gräser from Kasernen-straße 4 in that hospital. He ran the same way as I. His burns were much worse. He had three fingers amputated. There was no adult with the children at Pferdemarkt. They must have been about twenty children. At Pferdemarkt another child (from the Behrens’ house with the flowershop) must have run through the flames, to his grandad at Lindenberg, to Konrad Knipschild (with the nickname Sweet William) in Ochshäuser Straße. The parents of the boy died in the fire. The boy is about 10 years old and unharmed.


Vermisstensuchstelle des Oberbürgermeisters der Stadt Kassel, “Alfred P,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 21, 2024,

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