James Hoyt: Hero Beyond MeasurE

James Hoyt delivered mail in rural Iowa for more than 30 years.

Yet Hoyt had long kept a secret from most of those who knew him best: He was one of the four U.S. soldiers to first see Germany’s Buchenwald concentration camp.

Hoyt died Monday at his home in Oxford, Iowa, a town of about 700 people where he had lived his entire life. He was 83.
Buchenwald liberator, American hero dies at 83
Hoyt had rarely spoken about that day in 1945, but he recently opened up to a journalist.

“There were thousands of bodies piled high. I saw hearts that had been taken from live people in medical experiments,” Hoyt told author Stephen Bloom in a soon-to-be-published book called “The Oxford Project.”

“They said a wife of one of the SS officers — they called her the B*tch of Buchenwald — saw a tattoo she liked on the arm of a prisoner, and had the skin made into a lampshade. I saw that.”

“Mr. Hoyt, as a young man, saw unspeakable horrors when he was one of the soldiers to discover the Buchenwald concentration camp, and those are experiences as a country and a world we can never forget.

“You think back on a young man 19 years old and to have the experience that he had,” Geren said, his voice dissolving before ever finishing his thought.

Even 63 years after the liberation, Hoyt suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and attended a weekly group therapy session at a Veterans Affairs facility.

“Seeing these things, it changes you. I was a kid,” he said. “Des Moines had been the furthest I’d ever been from home. I still have horrific dreams. Usually someone needs help and I can’t help them. I’m in a situation where I’m trapped and I can’t get out.”

The discovery of Buchenwald, on April 11, 1945, began the liberation of more than 21,000 prisoners from one of the largest Nazi concentration camps of World War II.

There exists not enough praise to be heaped upon our United States soldiers, personified by James Hoyt, Buchenwald liberator.

The American Soldier.

Despite his sadness, pain, and sorrow
set always for the trials of tomorrow

Tired, hungry and frightened at best,
evil enemies keeping him from much needed rest

We fear, we plead that he will be alright,
pray the Lord will help him make it through just one more night.

At times he is wounded beyond repair
the thrashing and pain felt we can not compare

But to know and love a Soldier and walk through his pain
will humble any civilian, who dare no longer complain

How does he get through his chilling and terrifying deeds?
With our loyalty, trust, support and hope..
which is all an American Soldier needs.

Liberating Buchenwald.

The official U.S. military account of the liberation called the camp “a symbol of the chill-blooded cruelty of the German Nazi state,” where thousands of political prisoners were starved and “others were burned, beaten, hung and shot to death.”

“There is reason to believe that the prompt arrival of the 6th Armored Division … on the scene saved many hundreds and perhaps thousands of lives,” it said.

Never Again.

May your spirit rest gently Mr. Hoyt.
and may the good Lord continue to bless your righteous family.

How great a man you must be, to literally have set another part of the world free.

To all the men and women who wear uniforms, protecting our rights and cherished values.

Glory to the American Flag. Long may she wave.

Humbly shared with Perri Nelson’s Website, Blog @ MoreWhat.com, Mark My Words, Rosemary’s Thoughts, A Blog For All, Right Truth, Shadowscope, Cao’s Blog, Democrat=Socialist, Conservative Cat, Pursuing Holiness, Nuke’s, Diary of the Mad Pigeon, third world county, DragonLady’s World, The World According to Carl, Pirate’s Cove, , and Right Voices, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

29 Responses to “James Hoyt: Hero Beyond MeasurE”

  1. MK says:

    Thanks for posting this Angel. God bless him, may he finally be free of the evil of that time long ago and get the rest and peace he so richly deserves.

  2. James Hoyt - Mail carrier, spelling bee champ & American hero « MK’s Views - Down under on the right side says:

    [...] August 21, 2008 at 11:00 am | In America, Good Folks, Heroes, U.S. Army | CNN [Hat tip Woman Honor Thyself] – James Hoyt delivered mail in rural Iowa for more than 30 years. Yet Hoyt had long kept a secret [...]

  3. MK says:

    I shall spread the word.

  4. Aurora says:

    I’ve just come from MK’s link to this story. What a great hero he was, and a compassionate man who couldn’t live with what he had seen at that camp. Thank God thousands of lives were saved by that intervention. I can’t conceive of the inhumanity of a woman who would want a lampshade made out of someone’s tattoo! There is a trend to downplay the Holocaust, not to mention it…to deny it. We need to hear these stories now more than ever in the face of a planet proliferated with crazed, murderous leaders, many of whom look to be cut out of the same fabric as Hitler.

  5. Peter Feldstein says:

    I’m the photographer who took Jim’s picture in 1984 and again in 2006, and with writer Stephen G. Bloom interviewed him for our book, The Oxford Project. You’re right, Jim was certainly an American hero, and a man who’s whole life was consumed by what he saw. Unfortunately the PTSD that he suffered was not uncommon and the worst part is that there was no way for those who had it, to talk about their experiences. Indeed I have heard from several men who had to sign papers that they would not discuss it.
    My collaborator and I are very proud to have been able to bring Jim’s experience to light. Unfortunately he didn’t get to experience the full appreciation that has come as a result of his obituary on CNN.com. I received an email from a German man who belongs to an organization that searches for and honors American soldiers who fought in Germany in WWII. They were unable to find Jim for many years because his records were lost in a fire some time ago. He contacted me because they had erected a monument to Jim and the three other men who were the first liberators of Buchenwald. My heart breaks that Jim didn’t know of this. I’m going to email you a photograph of the monument.

  6. Katie says:

    Wonderful post Angel. I posted his obit at Monkey in the Middle on Monday after I had heard of the news. Each year we lose more and more of these heroes. When the last one goes, who will believe their tales? Or will it fall into the realm of folklore as many tales do?

  7. The Hermit says:

    No wonder the poor old guy had nightmares and such. Who wouldn’t?

  8. benning says:

    Thank God for men like James Hoyt! God bless him.

    Thanks, Angel. Excellent post.

  9. Defiant_Infidel says:

    I am at once deeply saddened by Mr. Hoyt’s experiences and suffering, and duly enraged that people could allow themselves to ignore… or forget… what so many thousands were forced through before death brought its’ comforting curtain.

    This hurts badly, Angel… and it positively should. Thank you.

  10. kevin says:

    A great post Angel. It’s always good to see a bio on America’s greatest generation.

  11. Daniel Ruwe says:

    RIP, James.

  12. Brooke says:

    God bless this man and his family!

    I cannot imagine the horror he witnessed; seeing the pictures is one thing, but being there, smelling those smells, hearing and seeing in person?

    Good God.

    It boggles the mind at the capacity for human evil, and good.

  13. Bar Kochba says:

    The world is forgetting the lessons of the Holocaust. The survivors are dying out and people don’t want to speak about it. History, I’m afraid, is repeating itself.

    Never again!

  14. Joe Gringo says:

    Stunning post.

    I never would have heard of this if not for your post, thank you. BK is right I’m afraid.

    Mr. Hoyt is a free man now.

  15. Mustang says:

    There is nothing that I can add to the excellent tribute, Angel … except to say that every man I’ve ever known who served in combat carries its memory. Family members often ask, “Why didn’t he talk to us about it?” The answer is, simply, what could anyone possibly say to make others understand what combat veterans live with every single day? In my experience, it is remarkable to note that most … if not all of veterans … would serve their country in uniform again; even us old guys who for a time, had an extraordinary sense of purpose. May God bless Mr. Hoyt … and the millions like him. They are all part of our “greatest generation.”

  16. KarLM says:

    Upon waking every morning and before i go to sleep every nite…
    The first and last thing i do…is… check in on WomanHonorThyself, and see what very special post/story/poem/animation/video/enlightment Angel has brought to her readers.
    Never does she fail to impress, yet again, this story on James Hoyt is a nugget of gold that mainstream media would rather bury deep in the “files of irrelevant”.
    However you Angel, keep giving us all hope ,to go on, and keep trying..thank you again…
    and do keep delivering.

  17. THE MIDNIGHT SUN » Blog Archive » James Hoyt - Mail carrier, spelling bee champ & American hero says:

    [...] [Hat tip Woman Honor Thyself] – James Hoyt delivered mail in rural Iowa for more than 30 years. Yet Hoyt had long kept a secret [...]

  18. Perri Nelson says:

    As long as men like Hoyt still live, Evil will have reason to fear. Great post Angel.

  19. Perri Nelson says:

    Yes, I know he died. There are others like him in our military today.

  20. Seane-Anna says:

    Rest in peace, Mr. Hoyt. You were truly a righteous Gentile.

  21. Terry_JIm says:

    The father of a man I work with died a month ago.

    His Obituary was amazing.
    He survived the Bataan death march, and 3 1/2
    years of forced labor in a Japanese coal mine.
    His son said that he rarely spoke about the hardship,
    like so many of his generation.

    Daily, these heroes of WW2 are heading home,
    long may they be remembered here.

  22. Steve Harkonnen says:

    We must NEVER FORGET.

    Everyone in this country should take a mandatory trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC and spend an entire day there.

    The Holocaust continues to this day, much thanks to intolerant Muslim extremism.

  23. Nikki says:

    wow…look what I have missed being out of commission for a bit! What a tribute to a much deserving man. May he finally rest in peace…:)N

  24. Straight Shooter says:

    Thank you Angel. I am flagging several of your posts to link to once the Olympics are over… Thank you for looking out for all of us. Keeping us informed.

  25. Z says:

    a friend said he saw this story and wanted to remind me that he served with men not unlike Hoyt in Iraq. It’s amazing to think they’re still out there considering the indoctrination in our schools.
    As for the photographer who took these pictures, Mr. Feldstein, from a comment above, thanks for mentioning how Germans are appreciative of the liberation of the camps, too. There are many stories America knows nothing about, like how the German resistance was bigger than the French made famous by film lore.

  26. Gayle says:

    Mr. Hoyt is at peace now, for the very first time since he was 19 years old, God rest his soul!

    The pain some so-called human beings can inflict on others is beyond belief. We know where they go when they die. Thankfully Mr. Hoyt will not have to ever see them again.

  27. Layla says:

    G-d bless this man. He is at peace now.

  28. Angie says:

    God bless him. Oh, that our children and this generation could learn of these heros.

  29. Bernd Schmidt ; USVFG, Germany says:

    Dear folks, dear family of James,
    we are the men in Germany who errected a memorial to remember for the the Americans who liberated the Buchenwald Concentration Camp and who means Peter Feldstein in his message of 21th August 2008.
    It’s not only a memorial – it was the first memorial to remember for the Americans who liberated Europe, Germany and Buchenwald from the Nazi era in former Eastern Germany . And it’s a memorial to remember for the first Americans in Buchenwald.
    We are very unhappy that Jim don’t had a knowledge about. All letters don’t received him because we had a wrong address.
    But now, the family have to know that will be a remembrance for Jim and his buddies fare away from home. And it will be a remembrance for ever.
    Jim, rest in peace, we don’t forget you.

    At last, maybe Peter Feldstein have onetime a chance to send you a picture of the memorial.