Dorothea P and Martha St


Dorothea P and Martha St


Dorothea P and Martha St's account of the events at Franziskusstraße 1, Wildemannsgasse 30.



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Spatial Coverage





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Record 49


Translated from the original in German: Present are Mrs Dorothea P., née H., born 23 November 1914, and Mrs Martha St., née Sch., born 8 January 1921, formerly of Franziskusstraße 1, now of Hilgershausen, Melsungen district, and make the following statement:
The radio stopped and I shouted to Mrs P.: “We’ll have alarm.” So we put on our clothes and dressed the children and went into the cellar. We were still joking: “Just wait, I have cleaned today, it’ll be the Tommies.” My boy had come from school at lunchtime and said: “Mum, a massive attack on Kassel is being planned.” “What makes you think that?” “Have a look, at Fulda Bridge they’ve built a staircase as an escape route.” Mrs P. had four children with her and a sister who was ill, she was saved but died three weeks after the attack. She died of a broken heart because our parents died in Steinweg 10 and also the sister-in-law with her two children and my daughter Margarethe Riemenschneider.
Mrs St. had three children with her and her mother.
Our house did not have a cellar. This is why we went to Wildemannsgasse no 30. When we were in the cellar and the bombs were dropping, the people from no 32 came into our cellar because everything was already on fire at theirs. They were: Mrs Pape (died in Fischmann’s cellar), Mrs Merbach with a boy (she was the daughter of Mrs Pape, she saved herself) and some others. From no 28 came the Pfleging family, the Groß family and others. Mrs Pfleging lost a child during the night but found it again. Then came our caretaker, Mr Heimbächer, and said we had to get out because the whole house was on fire “but don’t make a fuss.” Then a man went through the breakthrough to look for a way out. He shouted: “It’s impossible, everything is ablaze here.” Then he went through himself and found an incendiary in the Mühlenmetz’s cellar which he put out. Then we women and children left first through the breakthrough. And then he ran across himself with his family and he saved another child and himself. He was disabled but generally okay, if they’d all been like him, we would have been better off.
So we went into Fischmann’s cellar (Hinter der Waage). Then we wanted to get out on the street at Fischmann’s but phosphorous was coming down the stairs. So we ran back. Mrs Pfleging was behind us. There was a man in the cellar who said: “If you want to save yourselves, you’ll have to come this way.” So we went into the neighbouring cellar and got out on the street as Mühlenmetz’s; that was on Fischgasse, Hinter der Waage. At Fischmann’s we took shelter for ten minutes because the house was not on fire yet. Then we had to look for another cellar. So we ran around on the street for half an hour, in the firestorm, and then we found the cellar where the council keeps their cleaning stuff, under the street. Then the police came and the fire brigade: “We should come out, we would be incinerated down there.” So many said: “We want to wait for transport.” “You’ll be waiting a long time.”
There was another woman in the cellar about to give birth. And because there wasn’t anyone who could help her, a man washed his hands and wanted to assist. That’s all I know about the woman. Mrs P. was standing at the front with three children. Someone came and said she should get out, he would bring the other child who was standing at the back of the cellar. But she refused and said: “I won’t leave without my child.” So they helped me to carry all the children across. So we went down the emergency landing stage near Fulda Bridge. Foreigners also helped bring down the children. Then we went along the Schlagd. When we got to the Rondell, we saw the police station at Renthof collapse. When we got onto the Rondell, there was a woman there, holding a child in her arms. She explained: “Someone gave me the child, it’s not mine.” We stood there the whole night. About six in the morning came Mr Hilbert, a colleague of my husband’s, who took us with him to the Aue. At the Rondell, we saw that the whole of the old town and the lower new town were burning fiercely. The old fort was ablaze. Burning papers were flying through the air from the big building. – In the Aue we stayed in the sports ground until morning came. As I wanted to search for my parents, my sister, who was ill, was taken by car to Witzenhausen. We saw that they were bringing over the injured from the Pinne on stretchers. That was towards noon and earlier. The children who had been brought out from the Pinne were mostly wrapped in cloths, that’s why we could not recognise them. Also the faces were mostly disfigured.
We don’t know anything about Steinweg. My girl has been declared dead but I don’t know where she was found. Nothing has been found of my parents either. They are all missing.


Vermisstensuchstelle des Oberbürgermeisters der Stadt Kassel, “Dorothea P and Martha St,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 16, 2024,

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