Oskar W

Title

Oskar W

Description

Oskar W's account of the events at Government Building, Untere Karlsstraße 16.

Publisher

IBCC Digital Archive

Date

1944-03-29

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 51
BKasselVdObmv10051

Coverage

Conforms To

Spatial Coverage

Temporal Coverage

Transcription

Translated from the original in German: Present is the Sergeant Oskar W., born 15 May 1910, formerly of Untere Karlssttraße 16, now of Humboldtstraße 22, and makes the following statement:
I was part of the anti-air raid battery on alert and stationed as No. 1 gunner on the government building near the Fulda. This was always our position. We had already received the message of a large number of planes approaching and we were on the roof by half past seven. Then the alarm was given. Then we were notified that Frankfurt was the main target of the attack. Then we were told that enemy planes were in the Kassel area. Immediately afterwards the searchlights came on and a plane could be seen in their lights. Then the well-known Christmas trees appeared in the sky. A flare left the single plane on a parachute. After it exploded, the city and the sky were lit as brightly as day by smaller beacons. It was so light, you could have read the newspaper. And the first Christmas tree we saw in the area of the Henschel works. And what happened then was so fast, we were the first target, they covered us, as it were, with incendiaries and explosives. And several different explosives hit near our gun. The planes were flying at such a height that we had no opportunity to shoot. We would only have given ourselves away at that moment. The roof had been covered with tar several centimetres deep and immediately caught fire. The stick-type incendiaries penetrated the roof. We had so many land near us that everything was one fire. Our position was already partly on fire so that we could not stay.
Ten minutes after the attack had started, the first flames shot out of the roofs in the old town. Because of the explosives, roofs and houses were lifted up, it was swirling through the air. We only heard the heavy bombs because the ack-ack made such a noise that you could not hear much else. Because it became impossible to stay on the roof, we were ordered to abandon our positions. We could only escape downwards through an emergency exit. We were really lucky because as the last one of us came down, the roof caved in. We then made our way to the air raid shelter. We had just got in when the superheavy bomb hit and tore open the whole of the government building on Schloßplatz from top to bottom. About 30 to 40 people from the neighbourhood were in the shelter. As the building had burnt down to the first floor and the air was getting thinner, we guided those people as a group to the Aue. We did not lose anyone, we got them all down there. We also connected the hoses to the mains so as to fight the fire together with the men from the air raid service but it was impossible as there was no water – because the pumping station on the Fulda had had taken a direct hit. In the meantime people from the old town and the middle town went past us inasmuch as they had been able to save themselves from the sea of flames. We were now on the sports ground.
After the raid, I tried from there to get up Graben near the optician Hess and to push through on Untere Karlsstraße via Ziegengasse as this was where my sister lived in no 16 with her husband and child (Mrs Anna Döll, Ludwig D. and daughter Irmtraut). But it was not possible because the house of optician Hess lay across the street in a fiercely burning heap and completely blocked the entrance to Ziegengasse. Only a little corner was free where I tried to get through but the heat was so great that it was impossible. So I returned to Schoßplatz and helped the Stormtroopers at the hippodrome to salvage various tack and chariots because the fire started there too. In the meantime Friedrichsplatz had burnt down completely and from there I got through to the house of my relatives. The house was on fire and looked as if it was going to collapse at any moment. The street was completely empty. I didn’t find any of my relatives. I could not get into the cellar because of the heat. My clothes were hot from the fire. From there I struggled through to my command post in Humboldt-straße. Here I helped to firefight. Towards two in the morning my eyes were so inflamed that I could not see anymore. About half six I went back to Untere Karlsstraße but could not find a trace of them then either. According to reports from residents around the garrison church, all the people from the house died in the garrison church (the gardener Pirschel saw them).

Citation

Vermisstensuchstelle des Oberbürgermeisters der Stadt Kassel, “Oskar W,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 12, 2020, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/8717.

Item Relations

This item has no relations.

Can you help improve this description?