Wilhelmine K


Wilhelmine K


Wilhelmine K's account of the events at Hohenzollernstraße 58.



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Spatial Coverage





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Record 60


Translated from the original in German: Present is Mrs Wilhelmine K., formerly of Hohenzollernstraße 58, now of Diakonissenstraße 3, and makes the following statement:
The alarm came and the people living in the house were still all in their flats. We all became aware of the long lasting hum of the enemy planes and so we looked out of the windows. I lived on the fourth floor and spoke with Mrs Huhn (who died, as did her sister Mrs Michel) and so we decided to go to the cellar. We quickly dressed the children and after two minutes or so, we were all in the cellar, all the people in the house. Our air raid cellar was fairly spacious, one side led to the street, the other to the yard. Now, immediately after us entering the cellar, incendiaries were in our courtyard. Dr Löber (the dentist), Mr Heine, my father, Mrs Löber and Mrs Thom went to the yard to put out the bombs. They succeeded. In the house next door, Mr Walger’s (the baker), everything was on fire, in the courtyard that is, and no one was firefighting. Because of the heavy hits of the bombs, it was no longer possible to go out.
The doors to the cellar were shaking and we felt that a blockbuster must have come down on the side of the street. Between our house and Schönhoven. Our air raid shelter is divided into two rooms. I stood in the middle with my eight-year old child. In the light, I saw the ceiling on the left hand side of the street cave in; I saw that Miss Löber, sitting in a wicker chair, her mother, Mrs Löber, standing beside her, Mrs Thom, Mrs Michel, a relative of Mrs Huhn’s with her little child on her arm, and Joachim Hebeler (Mrs Huhn’s grandchild), were all buried.
Mr Hüttenreich had spent the day with Mrs Hansch so as to tailor a suit for the boy. Mrs Hansch was on the right hand side with her daughter Wanda, her son Jürgen and her niece Elfriede from Swinemünde. Then in a matter of seconds that ceiling came down too, everything fell down – my child had vanished from my side. She must still have been alive because she screamed: “Mother!” I was partly buried, I’d lost my glasses, the hat had gone from my head, the bag with the bonds had disappeared, so I worked myself out of the bricks with a shoe, the left foot hurt badly, the coat torn, the stockings torn and the two dresses I was wearing too. Dr Löber had been given a push through the air pressure and was thrown against the wall on the side of the yard.
Mrs Homburg had had her eve-of-the-wedding party with Mr Heine. They were to be married the next day. She was sitting on the bench on the left side of the room which went to the yard, her little boy Günther, the other son, Karlheinz, standing beside her, next to him Mr Heine. Mrs Homburg must have died because of the air pressure or a heart attack. Karlheinz had disappeared. He seems to have fallen under the table or under the bench. Then the lights went out where we were and we could only see with the torches. Dr Löber was the first to leave the cellar to look for help. My father and I dug out Mr Heine from under the mass of stones. My father dragged him up by the collar and asked him whether he was Dr Löber. You could not recognise him for dirt and dust. But he must have been unconscious because he said: “Yes!” I can’t say whether he lost his nose. My father put him up against the table and then we had to get out of the cellar, my father, Wilhelm Stöhr, and I, because we could no longer breathe. Because of the dirt and the dust. Mrs Hansch must have suffocated and Wanda, Elfriede and Jürgen too. Mr Hüttenrauch must also have suffocated because the ceiling was okay where he was. I could hear Wanda shout when we went to other cellar through the breakthrough. We weren’t able to help from our side. The load had been so big and heavy that it had bent the iron girder. Miss Schoppach was standing opposite me that evening. She was also immediately thrown on the ground. Nineteen people died altogether. I came to the rescue centre. My father is alive, Dr Löber too.
I don’t want to live anymore without a child. I want another child. I am three months pregnant. Maybe I’ll go to the countryside where I can find peace and strength and mend my nerves. I want another child.


Vermisstensuchstelle des Oberbürgermeisters der Stadt Kassel, “Wilhelmine K,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed July 16, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/8726.

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