Karl Sch


Karl Sch


Karl Sch's account of the events at Riedwiesensiedlung, Am Hutekamp nos. 6, 7, 9, 11, Am Hohen Rod.



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Spatial Coverage





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Record 56


Translated from the original in German: Present is the teacher Mr Karl Sch., Am Hutekamp 7, and makes the following statement:
In the night in question I was sitting in my study reading. At first, I did not let myself be disturbed by the alarm. That was until I heard the ack-ack guns. Because I belong to the operational unit of the local party Branch, I had to change so as to be ready for service. I had to do this already on the stairs to the cellar and saw through the little round window the first incendiary and phosphorous bombs on the street in front of the house and by looking out of the large window of the hallway, I saw a semicircle of blazing incendiaries on the Domänenfeld. The strange thing was that we could not find any places where they had hit even though we were looking for them. I made a round through the whole house including the attic but did not find anything. Then I went around the house and found several incendiaries in the garden. I put out one of them, near the pergola next to our conservatory, by using water from the ditch in the garden.
As I did that, I saw that the house next door, Am Hutekamp 6 (Prof Steinhausen), was on fire. Before I rushed there, I ran again quickly through our house and was thrown against the wall of the staircase by a heavy hit close by. I went on regardless and found an incendiary in the bed in our bedroom which hissed terribly. On the spur of the moment I grabbed it and carried it cautiously to the window and through it out. Then I stroked the duvet so as to extinguish the small flames. I put the fire out by stroking. The bomb had smashed through the roof and two ceilings. Because of this, much debris and dirt were lying on the bed and around it. Then I rushed to the house next door and was again thrown against the fence by air pressure. I got the people out of the cellar. These were the widow Steinhausen, Miss von Normann. The billeted people, whom I don’t know, were not there.
We ran up the stairs to the attic. Behind the chimney I saw where the bomb had hit. And the blaze. I had them give me some sandbags and poured the sand on the fire after I had thrown the bomb out through the hole it had smashed. (I used a piece of wood for that.) Then we rushed down to the room below. Here I saw the mattress on a bed burn from below, all around. I tore the bed apart and threw the bedding on the bed next to it, so as to get to the mattress. I tried to put out the fire with a woollen blanket but without success. I tried to extinguish the fire. But as soon as I had managed to do this on one corner and tried to continue on another one, the fire flared up again after a short while. Miss von Normann who was there with sand and water, advised me to throw the mattress out through the window. That’s what I did. The mattress was consumed by fire in the garden. I put out the embers which came through from the ceiling, with a bucket of water which I splashed against the ceiling. By doing that, I got the lot into my face. But we had succeeded. After I had warned Miss von Normann to keep an eye on the room, I returned to my property. That was still during the raid. I had seen the Christmas trees in the sky before, above the city centre (they had soon expired).
The incendiary I mentioned earlier, near the pergola, had continued to smoulder and now flared up again. I now put it out more thoroughly and wanted to get back into the house.
Then I saw that the two semi-detached houses, Am Hutekamp 9 and 11, and realised that the waist rail under the long window in the roof which goes along both houses, was on fire. After I had tried to ring the bell of no 11, where the senior teacher Dr Küster lives, and to call out the people there, which I did not manage to do, I rushed to no 9 and around the house to the back entrance. When I knocked, the privy councillor Dr Neubauer and his wife came out. (He used to be director of studies at a school in Frankfurt.) I told them that their house was on fire under the roof and we rushed up the stairs to the first floor so as to get to the window. We took water with us. It took us a moment to remove the blackout material but then I could throw water against the beam by leaning out of the window. But I could not reach the end of the beam in Dr Küster’s house and put out the fire there. So I had to get back there and see whether I could raise the Küster family. This time, I also tried it from the back of the house. And it worked. Dr Küster ran up with me to put out the fire from his window. And he succeeded. I ran back to my house. Dr Küster told me later that he found the incendiary which caused the fire when he searched the room and also a second one behind a bookcase. That second one he threw out of the window.
In my own house there was nothing further to be done. It also seemed that the raid was more or less finished. I therefore notified my family in the cellar and went to another fire, Am Hange 45 (the wife is a née Krug), where a fire had started in a room on the upper floor. The fire had expanded and developed an intense heat so that I thought it must have been caused by phosphorous. There were enough people to firefight and the house was so small that people were getting in each other’s way, so that I stopped helping and made my way to my command centre. There I met the operations commander, the cell leader Billing, who was at home and I asked him what needed doing. Together, we helped save the house Am Hohen Rod 16 where the Petersens live. We managed to bring the furniture to safety and to contain the fire encroaching from the house next door (Lütchemeier).
When we had averted the main danger, we helped in the same way at the Baumann’s house (Am Hohen Rod 7), which was threatened severely by the fire in the Schmoll’s house. We worked there and fought the fire until three or half three. Then we went to the Oechler’s house (Riedwiesenstraße 50) which was on fire. But there was such a long line of people helping and the fire had been contained already that they did not need us. After we had made the round of Riedwiesen, we thought that we could sleep for a while without fear. It must have been about five in the morning.
I was woken again at seven to help clear debris in the house mentioned above, Am Hange 45 (Krug). Because there was danger that the fire would flare up again. I worked there until ten in the morning and then made my way to my school, secondary modern no 23, In Rothenditmold but I found it burnt down completely. Nothing could be done there. I went back home to be at the disposal of my local Branch. I stayed there until 15 January 1944. Now I am deployed as teacher in Heckershausen.


Vermisstensuchstelle des Oberbürgermeisters der Stadt Kassel, “Karl Sch,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 24, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/8722.

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