Magdalene W

Title

Magdalene W

Description

Magdalene W's account of the events at Untere Königstraße 101.

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Date

1944-03-14

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 32
BKasselVdObmv10032

Coverage

Conforms To

Spatial Coverage

Temporal Coverage

Transcription

Translated from the original in German: Present is Mrs Magdalene W., formerly of Untere Königstraße 101, now of Eschenstruth 9 near Noll, and makes the following statement:
Well, there was the alarm and we went into the cellar. We still had time but the shooting started almost immediately and as we came down in the cellar, Mrs Koch said the Christmas trees had already been set and there was a search light. “I think it’ll get hairy.” Shortly after, the bombs were dropping and someone said: “Mrs W., the courtyard is on fire” (because I lived in the rear building on my own). Then it got worse, more and more bombs were dropping and we got smoke in the cellar and we felt as if we were suffocating, so we knocked through the breakthrough to no 103 and went into their cellar. We stayed there for a while but it got worse with the smoke so that we went back into our shelter where it was still better than next door. Because there sparks were coming in through the windows. Then a young girl from our house (Inge Poppenhäger) said: “Come on, Mrs. W., we get out.” We went as far as the entrance hall and I saw that whole of Königstraße was on fire. It was still early, about 9 o’clock. I could only see sparks, everything was burning and there was a storm. Then the girl ran away but I did not follow her because I thought: I can’t get through the fire.
So I went back to the cellar. I met Mr Körber who came down the stairs and took his suitcase and said: “Mrs W., come on, we have to get out; the house will collapse soon.” I said: “Where?” To which he replied: “Follow me; to Bähr’s house.” That’s no 86. As we got there, we were told: “Everyone get out! The house will collapse any moment.” So where to now? Air raid warden Michel said: “Everyone follow me, I go first.” So we ran to the army ordnance depot, opposite Bremer Straße. The shelter was full, there was a little room at the entrance which was full of officers and captains and it had a telephone and one captain said on the phone: “We need help, I have so many hundred people in the shelter who are close to suffocating.” But no relief came and he sent the soldiers away and said: “Have a look as to where we can bring these people, we have to help them.” Shortly after a soldier came back and said: “Captain, I found something, fire trenches, where nothing can collapse.” That was where the synagogue used to be. So he said to the soldiers: “Take the women, the men will have to help themselves.” And so they brought us to the fire trenches across the street.
We stayed there the whole night until morning when it dawned. It’s impossible to tell what took place there, as the badly burnt were brought, for example from Moltkestraße 7, they moaned and groaned all night through. It was a staff sergeant and his wife. The staff sergeant kept shouting: “Shoot us, we’re going blind!” The skin hung off his arm bone. A daughter of the midwife Reimann, who was sitting next to me, was called, a child shouted: “I am so much burnt.” But you couldn’t recognise anyone because there was no light. Towards morning, about 4 or 5 o’clock, the seriously injured were bandaged, I think nurses and orderlies came and took the injured away. And the other woman from Moltkestraße was not so badly burnt and was asked to walk but she came back and said: “I can’t walk through the flames yet, I’ll stay here a little longer.” So I sat down beside her and asked: “You are from Moltketraße 7?” And she said: “Yes.” So I said: “My daughter also lives in Moltkestraße, in no 8.” And she said: “What’s her name?” I said: “Uetz,” and then: “I assume that they’re all dead already.” And she said: “That’s possible.” So we stayed in the trenches until dawn and then left. And I went to the Holländische Platz, where my flat used to be, everything there had burnt down. And there I waited for my daughter, not quite as I had imagined it, and I waited and waited but she did not come. So I went up Wolfshager Straße, through Gießbergstraße and thought to get to Moltkestraße from there but when I reached Jägerstraße, I could see what was going on, everything was full of rubble. You had to climb over stones and rubble. Of course I did not get into Moltkestraße and went on to the post office, through Mauerstraße. And then to Königsplatz, down Königstraße and in Königstraße I saw a dead child. At first I thought: Who chucked a doll there, a black one? But when I got closer, I saw that it was a charred child. “Oh, that could be our Wolfgang.” But a gentleman said: “No, that’s a girl.”
And then I went down to Holländische Platz. Water was on the streets, wires, stone, dirt and rubble. You could not walk on Moltkestraße, high piles of stone had been thrown together. I couldn’t see out of my eyes anymore. I was black from head to toe. I didn’t know what to do, so I thought: Let’s see that you get to the Söhrebahn, in Vollmarshausen, where my daughter lives. So I walked along Leipziger Straße. A man helped me carry my suitcase. I had not handed it over at the depot although we had been told to leave our luggage there. But I always held on to it tight and managed to take it with me. Now I walked along streets, you could no longer recognise Bremer Straße or Müllergasse. We walked through Artilleriestraße to Altmarkt and then along Leipziger Straße (and up Fischgasse for a bit). In Leipziger Straße it was also dreadful, it was impossible to walk because the dirt and wire and rubble and water. From there I went to the Söhre train station which had been completely destroyed but the trains were still running. And that is how I got out of Kassel.
My son-in-law, Karl Uetz, was lying on the street, it seems he tried to save a man. In the process my son-in-law fell into the bomb crater in the street. Mr Schröder is supposed to have dragged him out. Friends claim that they had still seen him with heavy burns. He was lying there with the dead in the street and on Tuesday on the cemetery. A ring is all that’s left of my daughter Lene. They found a note booklet of Wolfgang’s in the state museum. They were all buried on the main cemetery.

Citation

Vermisstensuchstelle des Oberbürgermeisters der Stadt Kassel, “Magdalene W,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 13, 2020, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/8689.

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