Nothing can stop Hermina Hirsch from singing, and she’ll soon share her voice with the Detroit Tigers, their fans and the wider baseball and sports worlds.
The Tigers announced Friday they’ve invited Hirsch, an 89-year-old Holocaust survivor, to sing the “Star Spangled Banner” on May 21st at Comerica Park before their game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Hirsch is set to proudly cross her biggest wish off her bucket list next month, according to CBS Detroit’s Roberta Jasina.
“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 told CBS Detroit her family was forced from their home in Czechoslovakia in 1944 and sent first to a ghetto then to several concentration camps including Auschwitz.
“I lost my parents, my three brothers and aunts and uncles,” she said.
After liberation and her return to Czechoslovakia, Hirsch married in 1947 and emigrated with her husband to the United States, first to New York and then to the Detroit area. Hirsch’s husband immediately embraced the Tigers and the two have remained fans of the team over the course of generations.
Fast forward to 2016.
Hirsch, who sings the national anthem each week during holocaust survivor meetings at The Jewish Center in West Bloomfield, Mich., decided to take her talents to the ballgame, sending a “Bucket List” video to local radio station WWJ.
The station shared her story, and over 70,000 have viewed it.
The Tigers heard about the Hirsch’s bucket-list wish and granted it post haste.
“On Saturday, May 21, Hermina is going to perform the National Anthem,” Tigers vice president of Communications Ron Colangelo said Friday on WWJ Newsradio. “That’s the beauty of baseball, isn’t it? She has gotten a tremendous amount of support and it’s just fantastic that she has wanted to do this and that she’s a Tigers fan. Maybe it brings us a lot of luck for a magical 2016 season.”
Thumbnail photo via Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports
Thumbnail photo via Apr 8, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; General view during the national anthem prior to the game between the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports