Reverend Horst Hoyer was born in 1930 in the city of Gotha, in Thüringen, Germany. Initially, Horst was told he was unqualified to join the ministry because of his poor public speaking skills, but he went to Berlin and joined a church association. In order to study theology, he needed to be certified in the ancient languages and crossed from East to West Germany over the Iron Curtain by plane using a military pass. He reached the United States on scholarship in 1954 to study theology. After his studies he volunteered at a church in Cleveland, which led to his visa extension and his decision to stay in the U.S.. He met his wife at a bank, where she was working as a teller, and they got married in 1956. He also talked about purchasing his family home, being unable to have children, and the process that he and his wife went through adopting their four children. He was on a radio program preaching in German on Sundays, changing from a few different radio stations over the years, for more than a decade. He helped German migrants working with the church find housing in the United States and he also reflected on his church’s involvement in the Castro case.


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Hoyer, Horst (interviewee)


Donaldson, Hannah (interviewer)


Cleveland German-American Oral History Project



Document Type

Oral History


87 minutes

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.