Born on December 24th, 1939, Hertha Hetzel grew up in Bavaria and came to the United States of America in 1952 when she was twelve years old. Her father had been a prisoner of war in England and he had two maternal uncles in Cleveland, who sponsored her family to live in the United States. She lived in a single, crowded apartment. She did not know English so she was placed in school as a kindergartener, despite having been in the sixth grade in Germany. She went to Wilbur Wright junior high school. She attended the German Festival in Cleveland where she was the Schuhplattlers perform and felt reconnected to her village in Bavaria. She joined the organization and played the zither, which she had learned to play at the age of nine. She attended West Tech high school. She then worked at Pittsburgh Plate Glass for several years, where she worked as a translator. After taking a break to raise her children, she worked as a secretary for a tulle and dye shop.


Media is loading


Hetzel, Hertha (interviewee)


Parcham, Deborah (interviewer)


Cleveland German-American Oral History Project



Document Type

Oral History


37 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.