Postville Project Oral Histories: Community Voices

Community Voices: The Postville Oral History Project Recording with Barbara Herzmann


Barbara Herzmann



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Interview Conducted by RaeAnn Swanson-Evans

Interview Transcribed by RaeAnn Swanson-Evans


Herzmann, Barbara--Interviews; Postville Immigration Raid, Postville, Iowa, 2008;


Oral History

Interview Description

Barbara Herzmann and her husband bought a farm near Postville in 1972, and she has lived there ever since. She worked at the Postville elementary school for 27 years before retiring in 2012. In the interview, Barbara discusses the changes in Postville and especially within the school as students from Russia, Ukraine, Mexico, Guatemala, and many other countries came to rural Iowa. The day of the May 12th, 2008 ICE raid, Barbara was teaching third grade and shares emails and recollections of the events that occurred over the next couple days. She also offers insight into how she came to understand the sacrifices and struggles of undocumented immigrants. Before the raid, Barbara, along with some other teachers, were able to take a tour of Agriprocessors and she shared that experience in the interview as well. Finally, Barbara closes the interview with her hopes for the future of Postville.

Interview Number


Interview Date


Interview Duration

1 hour and 6.37 minutes

File Format



Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | United States History

Project Title

Community Voices: The Postville Oral History Project

Project Description

The Community Voices: Postville Oral History Project sought to capture the remembered past of those who experienced the “Postville story,” that is, the social context leading up to, including, and following the ICE immigration raid that occurred on May 12th, 2008. The Interviews available here showcase the unique memories of 16 interviewees living and working in or near Postville. The interviews will leave listeners with a sense of how a small town in rural Iowa has dealt with and continues to deal with vast demographic change and the aftermath of an ICE raid that threw Postville into the national conversation on immigration reform.


Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa


©2014 The Postville Project

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



Community Voices: The Postville Oral History Project Recording with Barbara Herzmann


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