Emilie Niemeyer


Emilie Niemeyer


Emilie Niemeyer's account of the events at Hafenstraße 37.



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Record 54


Translated from the original in German: Present is Miss Emilie Niemeyer, born 25 November 1887, formerly of Hafenstraße 37, and makes the following statement:
When the alarm came, we all went down immediately. 15 parties lived in our house. The owner’s name was Konrad Pfennig.
When we were down, explosives fell on the house opposite so that our living room and bedroom were destroyed immediately as my sister saw when she went up to our rooms. Then house no. 26 opposite started to burn and the flames came over to ours. In the meantime, the bombs kept dropping. Afterwards the whole cellar was full of smoke and fumes. And fires also started in various places in our cellar. But the men put them out immediately. Coal had been set on fire by phosphorous. Then there a fire started in the air shaft and we were afraid that we would not get out again.
Neighbours told us later that canisters poured over our house as if someone had spilled oil on it. And as the smoke became more and more, the men investigated first whether we could get out through the breakthroughs but we couldn’t because in one of the neighbouring houses (no. 31), everything had been blocked. And because the fire had been put out in the air shaft, we could get up the cellar stairs. And then we went through the kitchen of Pfennig’s ground floor flat and jumped out of the windows into the gardens which are on the side of the river. So we ran through the gardens to the river and stayed there the whole night. After an hour or so, the fire lessened a little and most of us went back to the cellars and got our luggage. It must have been a similar story in the other houses of Hafenstraße. It was like this: no phosphorous had come into the cellars which were situated towards the street whereas in the other cellars towards the gardens everything survived. We had at any rate a very good air raid warden, Mr Becker, who always looked out and guided us out at the right time.
We saved a suitcase with clothes. The furniture could not be saved. No one lost their lives in the whole of Hafenstraße, they were just good cellars.
In no. 28, where the explosive bomb dropped, people got through the breakthroughs to Schillstraße. Some of the people also ran towards Sommerweg.
But later, the things we had lying next to the Fulda started to burn again and again, the bedding first and foremost, because of the colossal rain of sparks. All the fences and everything was on fire. At any rate, we had a tiptop cellar and good leadership.
My sister saved three mattresses from our flat on the first floor and got them out. Later on, it all went up in flames. My sister got smoke poisoning in the cellars, we would not have been able to save more. We could not get out through the front door because everything was on fire there. The most terrible thing, however, were the many bombs which we kept hearing.
The following morning we went into the shed of Reichel’s laundry. The whole business had burnt down except for the shed. Here at least we had shelter. And because my sister is a social worker for the districts surrounding Kassel, she knew that the collection point was in Vollmarshausen. So we went there about half eleven. And we’re still housed there and fairly well.


Vermisstensuchstelle des Oberbürgermeisters der Stadt Kassel, “Emilie Niemeyer,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 16, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/8720.

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