Elisabeth K


Elisabeth K


Elisabeth K's account of the events at Graben nos. 6 and 2.


IBCC Digital Archive




Harry Ziegler


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Translated from the original in German: Present is Mrs Elisabeth K., née W., born 23 March 1906, now of Kölnische Straße 46, and makes the following statement:
I used to live in Graben 6. But our cellar was no longer allowed as air raid protection because it did not have windows. That is why we always had to go to no 2 when there was an alarm. When the alarm was given, I was the last to get into the cellar because I always waited until the shooting started. First we’d been happy because we thought nothing is going to happen today and we wanted to go home already but then the fun started. There was no quiet anymore. Then there was a terrible bang. It was a direct hit somewhere close, it felt as if the whole wall wanted to drop onto us. We had such pressure in our heads, we thought this was our last. Then it went real quiet in the cellar, it was completely still, it was really eerie. No one said anything, no one moved. The light was still on, in spite of the heavy hits. Then we realised that half the house had already burnt down above us. There were only a few children with us in the cellar; we were all quiet and dazed. You could have heard a needle drop.
All the people in the cellar were saved except for one man who died the following day. I don’t know what happened to him. No one wanted to get out of the cellar. So I went. A soldier shouted: “Get out, get out, you’ll all burn to death!” And everything was a column of fire. And so I ran out and through the fire. I had no idea that the whole city was on fire and I wanted to run through Wildemannsgasse to my parents. I was lucky that the house in front of me fell down, the house opposite the Marstall, the pub at the corner of the narrow alley. I could no longer get through. Otherwise I would have run into the mouse trap. At that moment people came running from the public shelter at the old Lutheran church and no one knew what direction to take. And then we could see that the Renthof was still dark. And people shouted: “Over here! Over here!” And everyone ran down there. Me too. Then we were ordered to go into the Aue as the Renthof too started to burn. And so many sparks were raining down on us and the enemy planes were still flying over us and so we had to go to the Aue. There we stayed the whole night. And then all the timers went off and we suffered through the same experience as in the cellars.
The following morning we walked to Niederzwehren to the collection point in the school. I met my sister there. And then we registered, handed over our things and went back into the city to look for my parents. We weren’t allowed back into the city and were billeted in Niederzwehren. The following morning – on the Sunday – we searched again in the city for my parents and then we saw that the whole cellar was on fire and we gave up the hope of finding them alive. Then we went back to Zwehren, ordered our affairs and on Monday we travelled with the train to Treysa via Fritzlar. The local party branch assigned us two rooms but I moved back to Kassel because I could not bear it any longer anywhere else.


Vermisstensuchstelle des Oberbürgermeisters der Stadt Kassel, “Elisabeth K,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed March 28, 2020, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/8735.

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