I Remember When: Sachsenheim Hall

Built in 1910 by ethnic German immigrants from present-day Romania, Sachsenheim Hall became a social hall for German Clevelanders. Rosie Wittine, now 52, grew up in the hall. Her parents, German immigrants, met at the Sachsenheim in 1955 and married there a year later. The hall hosts live bands and includes a bar with a taco Tuesday night. Wittine plays flute with the German Music Society, a band formed at the Sachsenheim in 1967.

The Sachsenheim was founded by Saxon immigrants who had emigrated to Cleveland from Transylvania. Sachsenheim literally means "home of the Saxons."

As kids, we used to have dance rehearsals every Friday night. Our dads would sit at the bar drinking and socializing while the moms would teach us the dances.

One of our big events every year was our Trachten ball (the German word "tracht" means costume). We'd dress in the formal costume of Transylvania. The boys wore white linen-type shirts, crested with different designs around the collar and the cuffs. Some of the girls wore black jumpers with big poofy blouses. The dresses were garnished with ribbon and hand embroidered aprons.

Saturday mornings before these parties, women would prepare the schnitzel. Veal was very expensive, so the women used pork. They'd pan-fry bread crumbs enough to get them slightly toasted, then put them in the oven and bake them. There's no such thing as a greasy German schnitzel.

There aren't as many kids at the Sachsenheim anymore. But we do have an adult dance group. They still practice on Friday nights. And we still have fish fries every Friday night. On Saturday mornings, you still smell the aroma of the fish frying.

7001 Denison Ave., Cleveland, 216-651-0888
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