Lieutenant Colonel Jim Hastin


Lieutenant Colonel Hastin was born on Lopez Island, north of Seattle. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in August 1941. After pilot school, he was assigned to the 361st Fighter Group, 374th Fighter Squadron. While on his sixty-ninth mission, he was shot down and bailed out of his P-51 over France. He was helped by French farmers who gave him food, clothing and shelter. Making his way to Paris, he believed that he was on his way to freedom. He and another American were assisted by a French couple who had them pose as Belgian workers on the way to a new job. But German troops apprehended them at a roadblock. They were taken to a prison camp, and then transported by boxcar to the Buchenwald concentration camp. Hastin was liberated in April 1945 and discharged from military service. He entered the heating and ventilation business in Washington state, and retired in 1986.

Buchenwald was established in July 1937. It became the largest death camp in Germany and is still maintained as a memorial by the German government. It is located in Upper Saxony, not far from Nuremberg. Between 60,000 and 65,000 people lost their lives there.