SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – An 89-year-old Holocaust survivor has a very interesting bucket list wish.
Hermina Hirsch lost a lot to the Nazis at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
“I lost my parents, my three brothers and aunts and uncles,” she said.
But now, Hirsch lives in Southfield with her husband. She has three grown sons and her bucket list wish is to sing the national anthem at a Detroit Tigers game.
“At my age, I figure that this would do it,” she said. “I don’t want to die before I sing at a baseball game.”
Hirsch said she has no reservations about singing in front of thousands of fans at Comerica Park.
But wouldn’t she be nervous? “If I lived through the concentration camp, it couldn’t be that bad,” she said with a smile on her face.
Her story started in 1927, when she was born in Kosice in what was then known as Czechoslovakia, one of nine children in her family.
In 1944, at age 17, her family was sent to live in the ghetto and a brick factory, according to her granddaughter Andrea Hirsch. From there, she was shuffled between five different concentration camps including Auchwitz with her oldest sister. She was separated from her parents and other siblings.
But she survived.
“She was liberated from a concentration camp (she doesn’t remember the name) in either Germany or Poland on Jan. 21, 1945,” Andrea Hirsch wrote in an email. “She walked and hitched rides with strangers to get back to where she was born.”
Hirsch ended up in a sanatorium for a year, regaining her health.
After that, her cousin set her up with a man named Bernard Hirsch. They got married in 1947 in Košice, and ended up in New York. Two of her siblings went to Detroit, so she and her husband moved there in 1953.
They immediately embraced the hometown baseball team, regularly attending games. Is it the secret to their marital success? There are more ingredients in the mix than that, but the Hirsch’s have been married for 69 years — she’s 89 and he’s 96.
She also loved to sing, belting out the national anthem each week during holocaust survivor meetings at The Jewish Center in West Bloomfield. She is a member of B’Nai Moche and has been singing in the choir for the past 40 years to a congregation that once had at least 400 people.
“She doesn’t know much about the game but loves to sing and thought it would be great to mix her talent and passion for singing with her husband’s love of the game,” Andrea Hirsch said.
And now she hopes to bring her love for America and the Detroit Tigers together.
The Tigers organization said there has been such a flood of support for Hirsch, they are working to accommodate her request.