On May 21, Holocaust survivor Hermina Hirsch, 89, fulfilled a life-long dream by singing the Star-Spangled Banner before a Major League Baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and the Tampa Bay Rays.
Hirsch sang the U.S. national anthem at Comercia Park in Detroit, a month after she had appeared on local television station WWJ and asked the Tigers to allow her to sing. At the time, she said that she would not be nervous singing in front of thousands of baseball fans.
“If I lived through the concentration camp, it couldn’t be that bad,” Hirsch said. “I don’t want to die before I sing at a baseball game.”
Hirsch was asked to sing at a game after an outpouring of fan support.
Hirsch was born in Czechoslovakia and lived through a series of deportations to a number of Nazi camps beginning in 1944, when she was just 17. Hirsch was later liberated in January 1945.
Hirsch reportedly has been a Tigers fan since she moved to Detroit with her husband in 1953. The couple immediately began to attend baseball games.
Hirsch has been singing the national anthem for years during regular meetings of Holocaust survivors in the area.