Leo Hymas, Japan, November 1945
Leo Hymas, Japan, November 1945

"What I saw that morning in Buchenwald has never faded." - Leo Hymas

Leo Hymas was born in 1927 in Sharon, Idaho and grew up in Cache Valley, Utah. At age 18, he was drafted. In 1945, Leo’s division landed in France and was assigned to General Patton’s Third Army, which advanced into Germany and Czechoslovakia. In the woods near the town of Weimar, the unit came across what they first thought was a prisoner-of-war camp. In reality, it was a sub-camp of Buchenwald. They confronted SS Guards and used explosives to break through the fence before coming across 18,000 emaciated prisoners living in absolute destitution.

Leo shared his memories tirelessly for decades. He told students, "War is a heart-wrenching, sobering and serious business. We defeated the Nazis but evil still exists."  Leo married his childhood sweetheart Amy and together they raised four children on Whidbey Island. Leo retired from the Boeing Corporation in 1998 and was an active member of the Holocaust Center’s Speakers Bureau. Leo passed away in 2016.

More About This Survivor:

Full Testimony - Leo Hymas (1995,1hr 47min)

Leo Hymas - Bio 

Leo Hymas Interview

More about the Liberation of Nazi Camps