Herta Matthia Ball
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Updated: 23 July 2004

Herta Ernestine Regina Matthia Ball


Herta was born 7 January 1909 in Marienwerder, Westpreußen (West Prussia), Germany. Today, this place is called Kwidzyn, Poland. She died 10 Sepember 2002 in Stuttgart- Vaihingen, Germany.

Die Heimat unserer Eltern

Mein Vater [Johannes Ball] stammte aus Ostpreußen. Er wohnte in Königsberg. Königsberg ist die Hauptstadt von Ostpreußen. Ungefähr hatte Königsberg 400000 Einwohner. Sie war eine Festungsstadt. Es war auch ein Schloß in Königsberg. 1544 wurde die Universität gebaut.

Zweimal im Jahr war eine Messe, im Frühjahr und im Herbst. Meistens aß man Königsbergerklops mit einer säuerlichen, würzigen Soße. -- Auf der Insel des Flußes Pregel stand ein Hof, den man Kneiphof nannte. Wenn mein Vater am Ufer des Flußes Pregel saß, und das sprudelnde Wasser sah, dann dachte er manchmal am seine liebe Mutter, die gestorben war, als er elf Jahre alt gewesen war. Wenn mein Vater in die Stadt ging tönte ihm ein langgezogenu "Hoolt Fäsch! hoolt Fäsch!" entgegen. Das war die Fischfrauen. Wenn mein Vater als zwanzig jähriger Soldat singend durch die Straßen zog, und manchmal aufhörte zu singen, hörte er neben sich: "Johannes, sing!"

Mein Vater war Beamter bei der Feuersozietät gewesen, sein Vater Schreiner.

Meine Mutter [Herta Matthia] wohnte im Marienwerder. Sie wohnte nahe am Dom. Nicht weit davon war ein schönes, großes Schloß. Marienwerder war eine kleine Gartenstadt. Sie hatte 13000 Einwohner. Durch Mariewerder floß ein Flüßchen. Es hieß "Liebe". Wenn schönes Wetter war, konnte man sich am Ufer sonnen. Einmal ist der Bruder meiner Mutter [Kurt Albert Matthia], als er noch klein war, in die "Liebe" geplumpst. Sie war nicht sehr tief, aber er kam etwas erschrokken aus Ufer. (Der Vater) Meine Mutter war Säulingsschwester gewesen. Ihr Vater war Schriftsetzer und ihre Mutter war Schneiderin gewesen.

    Schulaufsatz von Herta's daughter Dorothee Ball, 3.11.1962


Email from Herta's son, Christian Ball, 19 August 2004

Your request for information about Herta made me think and remember lots of situations and details about my mother, and I want to tell you some of them.

Having to care for 8 children in those times after the war -- that seems too diffiicult for anybody. Not for Herta. She managed the job very good, so all of the children could grow up very well.

When she was expecting Dorothe, my youngest sister, the doctors urgently advised her not to have the baby because of serious risks to her life and the baby's life. Herta opened the bible to find out what she should do and found the word "you have to obey God more than man" -- and that's why Dorothe is alive.

Mother was educated as a children's nurse, which helped her a lot in managing children's diseases.

I remember having a facial nerve infection when I was 10 years old. My sisters and brothers where laughing about me -- mother sent me  to the doctor immediately, otherwise my face would look funny until this day.

Mother was a great cook. My favorite meal was mashed potatoes. This meant -- without electric machines -- half an hour hard physical work for a meal for 10 persons. My mother often agreed to my request -- the condition was that I would help and hold the pot in position while she was mashing the potatoes.

She was able to create meals out of nothing. "Brotsuppe" -- old and hard bread, which people would throw away, was made soft in water and the result was a very good tasting soup.

She was the fear of any shop of the town. She was perfect in buying without having a penny. The baker next door used to send a whole cake when she finally came and payed the bill.

When I was 11 years old, my mother felt we needed a piano. My father played violin, and the whole family was singing Christian songs all day, so my mother felt we had talent for playing an instrument. There was no money, so my mother started talking to people. Result: We got a piano for nothing from the Red Cross, which was the start of my learning piano -- until the examination at music college qualified me as a music teacher.

Mother never attended any college or university, but she was intelligent in her own way. In regard to her husband, she managed to make him feel he was the boss. But in many practical decisions, it was Herta who was leading. In religious things however, my father was doubtless the chief.


  • The house on Lazarettstraße in Marienwerder where Herta was born in 1909. The family had moved here sometime after 1906. This photo was taken in the mid-1930s, shortly after the house received a new stucco finish. Herta's parents are at the top of the steps in the right-hand frame.
  • The family lived near the Marienwerder Dom (Cathedral), and attened church here. This photo of it was taken in April 2004.
  • Photo of Herta with hers brothers and sisters taken in Marienwerder about 1917 or 1918. Left to right, they are Herta, Erwin, Charlotte, Kurt and Hildegard.
  • Martha Hedwig Kobitz Matthia with her children taken on the occasion of Albert and Martha Matthia's 20th Wedding Anniversary on 6 November 1918  in Marienwerder, Westpreußen. From left to right, Hildegard, Martha, Kurt, Herta, Charlotte, and Erwin.
  • Photo of Herta with her classmates taken in 1919. Herta is on the second row from the back, third child from the right.
  • Photo of Herta in the summer of 1926 as a governess with the children of which she took care. Unfortunately, this picture has taken some damage over the years.
  • Photo of Albert and Martha Matthia with their children taken about 1926. Left to right in the front row are Hildegard, Martha, Albert, and Herta. Kurt, Charlotte and Erwin are across the back.
  • Photo of Herta's future husband, Johannes Ball, taken in about 1930. Johannes' father, Karl Ball is on the left. Johannes' sisters from left to right are Elfriede, Christel, and Hildegard.
  • Herta married Johannes Traugott Ball on 8 June 1935. We're hoping that someone in the family can find and send in a wedding day photo so we can share it with you.
  • Herta and Johannes with their first baby, Rosmarie, close to Christmas in 1936.
  • Johannes and Herta with their first four children and two of the grandparents in 1943. Across the front are Christa, Grandmother Martha Hedwig Kobitz Matthia, Gottfried, Rosmarie, Regina, and Grandfather Karl Ball.
  • Herta with her family in 1951. Left to right are Herta with Benjamin on her lap, Gottfried, Regina, Rosmarie, Christa, Sighild, her husband Johannes Ball, and Christian. This photo was taken in Brandenburg/Havel.
  • The Ball family in 1952. Left to right in the back are Regina, Christa, Rosmarie, and Sieghild. On the bench are Gottfried, Herta with Dorothea on her lap, Johannes with Benjamin on his lap, and Christian. The picture was taken in Ulm/Donau, Wilhelmsburg E.22.
  • This 1953 photo has Gottfried, Regina, Rosmarie and Christa in back. The second row is Christian, Herta, Johannes, and Sieghild. Benjamin and Dorothea are in front. The address was still Ulm/Donau.
  • The Ball family was visited in December of 1960 in Böblingen by Herta's brother Erwin, his wife Esther. Erwin's son Jürgen, along with Jürgen's wife Joanie and their two childern Krischa and Karis came along. Standing behind are Rosmarie, Christian, and Jürgen. Regina is seated on the left with Krischa on her lap. Christa is behind Krischa. Herta and Johannes are next to the right. Erwin is in front of the Christmas tree. Further right are Esther and Joanie with Karis on her lap. Left to right on the floor are Gottfried, Sigi, Benjamin, and Dorothee.
  • Herta and Johannes on their 50th wedding anniversary, 8 June 1985. Click on the picture to see two pictures taken that day.

  • Photo of Herta taken on her 93rd birthday 7 January 2002. This was the last birthday of her life. The last of her generation to be with us, she taken home to God who gave her life on 10 Sepember 2002.