Ottilie Klöne


Ottilie Klöne


Ottilie Klöne's account of the events at Pferdemarkt 9.



Temporal Coverage

Spatial Coverage





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Record 30


Translated from the original in German: Present is Mrs Ottilie Klöne, born 22 October 1893, i.e. the day of the terror attack, formerly of Pferdemarkt 9 (glazier’s workshop), now of Steinhöferstraße 8, and makes the following statement:
We just wanted to sit down for dinner when the siren sounded. We took our luggage, which was at the ready, and our coats, which were on the coatrack, with us in the cellar. Water and sand seemed to be there in sufficient quantity already and we thought that it wouldn’t get that serious. That was until the first bombs dropped, the impacts of which we could feel even in the cellar which was 12 feet underground. Above the air raid cellar there was a manhole, which led to the garage, and which was intended as an emergency exit. The air pressure made the manhole cover fly open and then close again. We always ducked down and thought, now it’ll come down. Then we heard the boxes with glass topple over and we decided to move further forward in the cellar towards the street. All the people living in the house were in the cellar, our female apprentice with a female friend, and a soldier who used to work for us. They had come back from the street as they believed themselves to be safer with us.
People were rather quiet, talked about all manner of things, until it got worse of course. As there was no break in the shooting and the bombs kept dropping, they became anxious. In the meantime some of the residents had been in the attic and noticed that some incendiaries had fallen through so that the flat on the third floor was on fire. The men tried to put the fire out as far as water was available because the water mains had failed already. When they looked out of the window, they realised that the whole of the old town was a sea of flames. They came back to the cellar and warned us that we should get ready to leave the cellar because they could not put out the fire which was coming down further. We put all the blankets and cloths into the water tubs, wrapped the blankets around us, put the cloths to our noses and mouths and took our gas masks. In the meantime the electric light was getting weaker. Now people came from other cellars up from the Pferdemarkt and from Schäfergasse and asked us what to do. They came through the breakthroughs. And looked for escape routes. We told them that the best opportunity was where we were because we could run diagonally across to Kasernenstraße and from there to Martinsplatz.
Most of them paid no attention and continued crawling through the cellars. In the meantime, the electric light had gone completely and it was high time to leave the cellar. We had torches and paraffin lamps which were still burning. Now everyone was frightened, the raid had finished, it was about half nine. Nevertheless, they stayed calm. My daughter and her friend went first, they urged us forward: “Get a move on, we don’t want to suffocate.” They had me give them their papers from my coat. I also gave them a shopping bag with our cutlery and bread and butter. They were supposed to run to Martinsplatz or Lutherplatz where they could find enough air. From the entrance hallway, we saw them running to Kasernenstraße under their wet blankets. And that was the last I saw of them (up, towards Martinsplatz). I was still helping with various things in the cellar and could not follow immediately, and I brought my mother up and then we also made our way. In the meantime the upper floors of the houses were on fire, it was a crazy heat, but it was still fairly safe to get through. On the corner was a heap of sand but I did not see any children there. When I realised in Kasernenstraße that my mother was no longer following me, I wanted to turn back at first but then a gable fell down and I ran on. I knew that all the other residents were behind her. As my mother’s cassette was later found outside Moltkestraße 1, I assume that she wanted to get to her sister, Mrs Wild, in Moltkestraße 5. She had been concerned about her all night. We can’t ascertain whether she managed to get there because no one from that house is still alive. (Mother: Mrs Auguste Rauhut, née Koch) The firestorm drove me to Martin’s Church and I had to stay there as it was impossible to go on. Gradually five other residents arrived, my husband the last of them, and he said that the others had not wanted to come along. It was a family with four children and they had only come back from Treysa two days previously. (Fam. Pfetzig with four children). There is no trace of them. Until then, they had been evacuated. The other residents died too, two of them and the soldier have been identified in the cellar. My daughter and her friend are missing. We believe that they were trying to reach the Wesertor district where their friend Erika Lichte lived. (Franzgraben 22) There was no panic in the cellar, we even managed to calm down the children again and again. We had to stay for the three hours in Martin’s Church until it burnt down over our heads. The organ was on fire and the choir, the roof, the big bell had fallen down. There were 200 to 300 people in the church so that it was evacuated without a panic although a number of doors had been blocked already by falling beams. Then we stood at the Philipp’s monument and then the army guided us through Philippsstraße, Königstraße to Friedrichsplatz. We could not see anything and barely open our eyes because they were full of smoke. We were stumbling forward through wires and rubble. At Friedrichsplatz we could breathe more easily for the first time. After several attempts to get through to the Weinberg and to Wilhelmshöher Allee, which were unsuccessful because of the heat and the blaze, we remained in a gate of the theatre until morning. From there we saw the Courts of Justice burn down and the riding stables. The following morning we went through Königstraße past the charred bodies to Pferdemarkt. Then we saw the ruins.
Now I’m alone with my husband; she was our only child. We re-opened the shop in Freiheiter Durchbruch 12, the only house which is still standing there.
The trucks on Friedrichsplatz which transported people drove along Schöne Aussicht. People charged them to get onto them and the drivers would shout out the destination, for example Zwehren or that general direction or towards Nordshausen, Fritzlar, Gudensberg.
In the street where we lived, Pferdemarkt, there are possibly 40 people still alive. Next to our house, in no 11, eleven children died; it is said that 33 skulls were found. Here too we warned that people had to get out, with their children, but the residents stayed in the cellar with their children. Of the tradespeople from one end of the Pferdemarkt to the other, all are gone.


Vermisstensuchstelle des Oberbürgermeisters der Stadt Kassel, “Ottilie Klöne,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 16, 2024,

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