James Hoyt

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James Hoyt
Born (1925-05-16)May 16, 1925
Oxford, Iowa
Died August 11, 2008(2008-08-11) (aged 83)
Oxford, Iowa
Spouse(s) Doris Hoyt

James Francis Hoyt (May 16, 1925 – August 11, 2008) was one of the four American soldiers who discovered the Buchenwald concentration camp.[1] According to military records, Hoyt, then a private first class, was part of a group of four members of the 6th Armored Division, who were the first Americans to discover Buchenwald on April 11, 1945.[2]

The four original liberators were Capt. Frederic Keffer, Tech. Sgt. Herbert Gottschalk, Sgt. Harry Ward and Hoyt, a private first class.

His son, John, said the family has been touched by it all. He said he's even followed blogs of Holocaust deniers after his father's death.

"Some of the dissent was most interesting", he said.

"I'm not saying my dad was a hero to every person in the world, but I'm saying he certainly had a heroic approach and outlook, and definitely went above and beyond a person's call of duty to understand the atrocities of war", James son explained after his father's death.

"They say all's fair in love and war. Well, some of these things weren't so fair, especially if you were a member of an ethnic group or cultural group that didn't suit the people of power. You were scheduled to be obliterated. And that's not OK. That's not what democracy and freedom is all about."

His father suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder up until the day he died; he only began getting help in the 1990s.

"His whole life, he had fitful dreams", John Hoyt said.

As a warrior who had seen the horrors of war, he opposed the invasion of Iraq, his son said.[1]


  1. ^ "Obituaries in the news". Associated Press. 2008-08-16. Retrieved 2008-08-17. [dead link]
  2. ^ Drash, Wayne (2008-08-14). "Buchenwald liberator, American hero dies at 83". CNN. Retrieved 2008-08-17. 

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