Other Notable Deaths


August 16, 2008


Concentration camp liberator

James Hoyt, one of four U.S. soldiers who discovered Buchenwald concentration camp as World War II neared its end, died in his sleep Monday at his home in Oxford, Iowa, said his wife, Doris. The cause of death was not immediately determined.

Mr. Hoyt served in the Army's 6th Armored Division during World War II, earning the Bronze Star. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

Buchenwald, one of the largest concentration camps established by Nazi Germany, was liberated in April 1945. It is estimated that 56,000 prisoners lost their lives at Buchenwald between 1937 and 1945.

"There were thousands of bodies piled high," Mr. Hoyt said in a 2005 interview. "I saw hearts that had been taken from live people in medical experiments. ... Seeing these things, it changes you."

He said he had "horrific dreams" and received therapy at a veterans hospital.

He was interviewed as part of the Oxford Project, in which the residents of the Iowa town were photographed and gave interviews about their lives.

Mr. Hoyt had returned to Oxford after the war and worked more than 30 years with the U.S. Postal Service there. He retired in 1992.

Doris Hoyt said her husband of 59 years rarely spoke about his service in World War II.

"He kept it all to himself," she said.

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