By 7 a.m. Fred Gartner has dressed appropriately for the day’s weather and is walking from his home to McDonald’s restaurant on Howard Road for some coffee and a friendly chat with locals. At 94, he never worries about forgetting to take his pills because he is not on any medication. It’s a two-mile round trip stroll to the restaurant — nothing compared to his treks in the bitter winters of Russia during World War II.
Gartner was born in a small town outside of Leipzig, Germany, on Jan. 4, 1919. Germany had been defeated in what was then known as the Great War, now called World War I. Growing up he attended school and like any youngster made childhood friendships.
Gartner was 20 when Adolf Hitler rose to power and instituted new laws under Nazi rule in 1939.
“It was a very strict regime, the slightest thing might get you in trouble,” Gartner said...