In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Week, we bring you the stories of Robert Anderson and Ted Hartman.
Today, Jan. 27, begins Holocaust Remembrance Week, with a special emphasis: Today is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
A complex of more than 40 concentration and death camps, Auschwitz has become infamous for its deadly gas chambers, torturous medical experimentation and the vicious lie spelled out in wrought iron atop its front gate: Arbeit macht frei – "Work sets you free."
It was the first and largest concentration camp to be liberated by American, British and Soviet soldiers toward the end of World War II in early 1945. Over time, Auschwitz has become perhaps the most well-known concentration camp, but there were about 1,200 in all – death camps, slave labor camps, sub-camps, work camps and prisoner-of-war camps.
Buchenwald and Dora-Mittelbau were both liberated April 11, 1945; Bergen-Belsen, April 15; Landsberg, one of the sub-camps of Dachau, April 27; Dachau, April 29; Mauthausen, May 5. Many were liberated as they were discovered.
The soldiers who freed the survivors of these camps became known as "liberators." They were shocked and horrified by what they found: not only the Holocaust survivors, who had been treated so inhumanely, but also evidence that more than 3 million people had been murdered.
Their stories have been well documented as part of the Texas Liberator Project, a joint effort between the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission and Texas Tech University, led by Aliza Wong, an associate professor in the Department of History and associate dean of the Honors College. Through its mobile app, website, book and museum exhibit, the Texas Liberator Project shares the experiences of 21 Texans who helped liberate concentration camps across Europe.
In honor of the victims, the survivors and the liberators themselves, we bring you the stories of two Texas liberators – Robert Anderson and Ted Hartman – whom Texas Tech is proud to call its own.
James Theodore Hartman, "Ted" to everyone around him, was born in Louisiana in 1925 and raised in Iowa. Hartman was a hard worker as a youngster – shoveling snow, cleaning windows and trying to earn enough money that he wouldn't have to work so hard for the rest of his life.
As a teenager, he knew the war in Europe was already raging, but that seemed a long way away. He was 16 years old when it suddenly hit home.
"I remember coming home from church and having the radio on and hearing the news that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor," he said. "We didn't know where Pearl Harbor was. We got out the atlas and looked it up and figured out exactly what it meant to us."
He remembers that the U.S. Army and Navy offered an exam to young men who were high school seniors. If a student passed, the Navy would give him several college options and send him to the one of his choice; the Army would send him to basic training and then to a college of its choice. Like most of his peers in the Ames High School class of 1943, Hartman took the exam. He passed.
"I didn't know how to swim," he said, "and my dad had been in the Army in World War I, so I thought I'd better sign up for the Army.
"They told me I would have possibly a year, but at least six months of college before I'd be called, so I enrolled in Iowa State University. Six weeks later, I was called to active duty."
He was sent to Camp Roberts, California, for basic training.
Robert P. Anderson, born in 1924 and raised on the south side of Chicago, had a much different early life.
"I remember as a kid, when I was very young, Al Capone coming down the alley with his machine gun, shooting up our neighbors," he said. "So, I never went out with my daddy and shot rabbits. We had the Chicago mafia trying to knock off the neighbors, which they were succeeding in doing to a certain extent."
It had always been his ambition to go to school and get away from that lifestyle, but Anderson's father died when he was 11 and his mother a few years later. Living with his sister, there wasn't much money to go around in the early 1940s. So, when he graduated from Calumet High School in 1942, he started college at the Illinois Institute of Technology in a cooperative program that allowed him to attend school one semester and work the next.
"The recruiters came to the university, and they encouraged us to enlist, and everybody did with the idea in mind that you'd complete your education," Anderson said. "I was in the Army Air Corps and anticipated going to school for a degree, but in March 1943 they called us all up. And that was it, after about a year of school."
Anderson was sent to St. Petersburg, Florida, for basic training in the Air Force, which was then part of the U.S. Army. After that, he was assigned to train as a radar operator. Shortly thereafter, the Army announced its new Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) to meet the wartime demands for both junior officers and soldiers with technical skills in such fields as engineering, foreign languages and medicine. The program was offered at 227 institutions around the nation, including Texas Tech, which was then Texas Technological College.
Anderson, who studied industrial management at the Illinois Institute of Technology, applied for the engineering program and was accepted. Across the country, so was Hartman. Anderson was sent to the University of Georgia in Athens, while Hartman wound up at the University of Oregon.
"We were going to be engineers," Hartman said, "but we were only there about two months when rumors began to surface that they were needing ground troops for the upcoming invasion, and they weren't going to be able to let us stay in ASTP much longer.
"Sure enough, at the end of 10 weeks, they announced that all the ASTPs were closing except for medicine and foreign languages."
Of the 145,000 young men enrolled in ASTP programs all over the country, 110,000 were returned to active duty in March 1944. Anderson was sent into the 10th Armored Division at Fort Benning, Georgia, in the 150th Signal Company because of his radar training. Hartman was sent into the 11th Armored Division, Company B 41st Tank Battalion at Camp Cooke, California.
"When we marched from the University of Oregon down to the train depot, the people in town lined the streets to say goodbye," Hartman remembered. "We didn't realize we meant that much. It was very touching."
The sendoff was especially poignant because the question of a return was so uncertain.
"We assumed, as an armored division, we were probably going to Europe," Anderson said.
They were right.
On June 6, 1944 – the day that would go down in history as "D-Day" – 156,000 Allied troops and tanks landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, in the largest seaborne invasion in history. Under heavy fire from enemy guns, the soldiers also faced mines and other obstacles, such as wooden stakes and barbed wire, to slow their progress. Although the Allies lost more than 4,400 men in the process, they were victorious.
After the D-Day landing, the Allies drove the Germans eastward and out of northern France by the end of August. So when Anderson and the rest of the 10th Armored Division landed in Cherbourg on Sept. 23, the whole area was open to them. They trained for a month at Teurtheville before entering combat as part of the Third Army under Gen. George S. Patton.
"A guy like myself hadn't been very well trained because we hadn't been with the division before," he said. "So we came in pretty raw."
On top of the shortage of training was Anderson's personal distaste for violence.
"I am not a soldier," he said. "I adapted. I did what I had to do, but it wasn't my thing. You just did what you had to do – there was no real love for it, although a great deal of loyalty developed."
It was a good thing, because in November, they headed for the front lines. As a wire man in the signal corps, Anderson's job was to run wires between telephone poles to improve communication between the division headquarters and Combat Command B (CCB), the regiment commander, and between CCB and battalions.
"I heard a lot of artillery, but it was not intense combat at all," he recalled.
"The first real combat I experienced was outside a town called Thionville, which is on the Moselle, close to Luxembourg. A very lasting, uncomfortable memory, is that we didn't have a lot of heavy clothing. We were getting it gradually. As a wire man, you had to go out and you work with your hands, so you had gloves. I lost a glove, and there was no other glove to be had."
It was December and bitterly cold, and he had only one option.
"We were parked on a road in the convoy," he said. "I looked over, and there was a whole pile of dead soldiers. They just lined them up on the road, and they were waiting for the mortuary trucks to come and pick them up. They were mostly German soldiers – there was one American from our division, who had been killed the night before – so I went through those bodies, looking for gloves. I found a glove."
Anderson took the gloves from a young German soldier. On the man's belt was the phrase, Gott mit uns – "God is with us."
"My thought was, 'Jesus, I've been praying to God all my life,'" Anderson said. "He was my enemy, but he was doing the same thing. It didn't make sense. It didn't make any sense at all."
Change in plans
Hartman, a tank driver, and the rest of the 11th Armored Division had arrived in England in October for two months of training. By mid-December, it was their turn to go to France. They drove for six hours through pouring rain to the harbor at Weymouth, where they backed their tanks onto ships and mentally prepared themselves for what was to come.
Their job was to land; travel to Southwest France, where the Germans were keeping their submarines; and create a blockade to prevent the Germans from accessing those subs.
"We all loaded and moved away from the harbor, and then we sat there for two days," Hartman recalled. "We had the finest eating we'd had in ages. Fresh rolls and ice cream. Things we'd never had for months and months."
When they arrived in France, their orders were abruptly changed.
"The Germans had started the Battle of the Bulge, while we were starting across," Hartman explained. "When we got to land, they told us we were to engage in a forced march across northern France."
Hartman and his comrades loaded their tanks with as much ammunition and as many supplies as possible, and started a five-day push.
"We ended up just barely into Belgium and not far from Bastogne," Hartman said. "That's when we started into the Battle of the Bulge."
Battle of the Bulge
The Germans had launched a surprise attack on the morning of Dec. 16, 1944, taking advantage of heavily overcast weather conditions that grounded the Allies' overwhelmingly superior air forces and targeting a weakly defended section of the Allied line.
As Germans pushed into Allied territory through that weak section, wartime maps showed the incursion as a large hump extending westward from the former front line. Describing the Allies' fight to regain the lump of lost ground, newspapers coined the phrase "Battle of the Bulge."
American forces bore the brunt of the initial attack. Anderson's 10th Armored Division was just below the bulge at the time, south of Luxembourg, where the German line ended.
"Gen. Patton, in all his wisdom, said, 'We've got to stop the Germans, 10th Armored Division,'" Anderson remembered. "So, the 10th was sent up to Luxembourg. The division was split up. Part of it went to the front in Luxembourg, and the rest of us in CCB were sent to a town called Bastogne."
Fierce resistance around Bastogne, and on the bulge's northern shoulder around Elsenborn Ridge, blocked German access to key roads to the northwest and west that they counted on for success. Columns of armor and infantry that were supposed to advance along parallel routes found themselves on the same roads. This, and terrain that favored the Allied defenders, threw the German advance behind schedule and allowed the Allies to reinforce the thinly placed troops.
"We were there about 18 hours before the 101st Airborne Division," Anderson said. "If we hadn't been there, the Germans would have come right through. But if the 101st hadn't gotten there, we would have been eliminated."
Several miles west of Bastogne, Hartman and the 11th Armored Division were on their way. The artillery and reconnaissance units normally led the way to help prepare for the tanks and let them know what to expect, but neither had been able to advance by the time the 11th Armored Division's tanks moved out.
"They sent us out into the battlefield, and I kept thinking, 'Well, I hope all of the stuff we've learned to do by rote, we'll do by rote and it'll work,'" Hartman said. "And it actually did."
His tank gained about five miles, the most of any tank that day, but the advance came at a heavy price.
"Our company commander's tank was hit and he was killed," Hartman said. "Some of his tank crew were killed and two of them were captured. Another tank with some of my best friends in it was hit. That tank commander was injured badly. His legs were shot off. The Germans captured them and they forced them to carry the tank commander up about two miles to their headquarters. This all happened the first day."
By Dec. 21, the town of Bastogne was completely surrounded by German soldiers, and the situation quickly grew dire. Most of the medical supplies and medical personnel had been captured. Food was scarce, and by Dec. 22 artillery ammunition was restricted to 10 rounds per gun per day. As the weather cleared, supplies – primarily ammunition – were dropped over four of the next five days.
Hartman's company was still trying to reach Bastogne. It took two days to push the Germans out of a little town called Chenogne about 4.5 miles west of the besieged city.
"The infantry went in two times, and they got driven back out two times," Hartman said. "We spent that night outside Chenogne. Then the following day, we went into the town in force and took it with the infantry and us working together. Finally, it was clear enough for the air force to come in. Eighteen out of 21 houses in that town were destroyed during the battle."
While the 11th Armored Division fought its way through the German soldiers enclosing Bastogne on the west, the 10th was still doing its best to carry on.
While laying wire in the town, Anderson said he and his crew didn't always use the telephone poles, they would lay it across houses sometimes – but civilians were told that if they were caught cutting the wire, they would be shot. When an old man was caught clipping wire over a doorway, Anderson and another man were sent to deal with it.
"The sergeant said, 'Well, you guys are going to have to shoot him,'" Anderson recalled. "And I thought, 'Oh my God!' You know, the impact of having to execute somebody. But the officers interviewed him, and they decided not to execute him. If I had had to do that, I don't know what would have happened. Because it's one thing when people are shooting at you. It's another thing when you stand somebody up and just murder them."
Later, while fixing wire on a pole, Anderson felt sure the mortar shells dropping nearby were aiming at him. He decided then and there that if he made it out alive, he would go back to school after the war and build a different life. Although the likelihood of making it out seemed very uncertain at that point.
"We were surrounded for six days," Anderson said. "And we did our duty; we laid our wire. You didn't think about if you were going to die, because if you did, you were gone. You just did what you had to do. And, you had a little Scotch."
On Dec. 26, the lead element of Patton's Third Army reached Bastogne from the south, ending the siege. The offensive was effectively broken by the next day, but the battle continued for another month before the front line was restored to its position prior to the attack.
"The worst part about the Battle of the Bulge was the snow and ice," Hartman said. "There was no heater in the tanks, so the air was coming through. We got frozen feet – not only infantry; tankers got frozen feet, too."
After being freed from Bastogne in the final days of 1944, Anderson realized in mid-January 1945 that he wasn't feeling well.
"I went to the aid station, and my eyes were yellow," he recalled. "I had hepatitis, probably from the unsanitary conditions. I was evacuated at that time to hospitals in Paris and Le Mans, France."
Meanwhile, the tanks of the 11th Armored Division continued east in pursuit of the German Army. Over the following weeks, Hartman's tank survived two bombings without losing a crewman. On one notable occasion, his crew was trapped behind German lines and had to carry a badly burned comrade out of an area full of enemy soldiers.
In February, they found themselves at Binfeld, Luxembourg, working in collaboration with the infantry again.
"Tanks were no use in the Siegfried Line," he explained. "They had all kinds of concrete and steel blockages connected one to another. Tanks couldn't go through that, but infantry could. Our infantry was doing real well going through that, so they had us tank people out working on the roads.
"We could tell there was less ability to resist us at that point. We were making longer drives. We were going maybe 15 or 20 miles in a day and getting some longer movement. The resistance wasn't nearly as organized."
On April 11, 1945, the tanks and infantry were making their way down a tree-lined road when they happened upon the strangest sight they'd ever beheld: ghostlike, starving people stumbling out of the woods in uniforms with broad navy and white stripes.
Even though Auschwitz had been liberated more than two months earlier, that news hadn't been communicated with the American soldiers.
"We couldn't figure out what they were, because we'd never seen anybody who had been in a concentration camp at that point," Hartman said. "No one ever told us – I'm not sure anybody knew to tell us – about the concentration camps."
The people – their teeth black and crumbling – wandered out of the trees, straight into the road. Once they saw the tanks and soldiers, they came faster and with greater intensity. Some collapsed in the ditches alongside the road, too exhausted to go on, while others swarmed the tanks and infantry, impeding the soldiers' progress in their excitement.
"We couldn't run over them; that's not American," Hartman said. "Gradually we began to appreciate that this was some sort of prisoner, maybe because they were wearing similar clothes. And then, over the radio they told us they had just found out that these prisoners had been released from a concentration camp. It was Buchenwald."
Buchenwald and its 139 sub-camps housed prisoners from all over Europe and the Soviet Union: Jews, people from Poland and other Slavic countries, people who were mentally ill and physically disabled, political prisoners, Romani people, Freemasons and prisoners of war. Insufficient food and poor conditions, as well as deliberate executions, led to the deaths of 56,545 of its 280,000 prisoners.
"They had been released to get in our way and slow us down," Hartman said. "They did slow us down, but they would absolutely stop and kiss the front of a tank, or they'd salute us. I couldn't help but cry, myself. I had never seen anything like that. I couldn't understand."
Some prisoners were alone; others were not. Hartman watched as one prisoner on the side of the road attempted to care for a friend who was obviously taking his last breaths.
"It was just all sorts of little scenes along the way," he said. "They kept coming, but gradually, we seemed to be able to get them to stay out of the way, and we were able to move on more. I think our infantry troops were better at dealing with them than we were because they were on the ground and could help them understand that they needed to stay away from the road so we could keep our force moving forward.
"The infantry did go after some of the guards that had been at that concentration camp."
Hartman said nothing could have prepared him for that sight, not even as much of the war as he'd already endured.
"The first dead people I saw really were kind of hard to accept," he said. "How could people do that to people? But I got over that.
"But I hadn't seen anything like this – it was so different. It made me realize more than ever why we were there."
Memmingen Work Camp
After being released from the hospital, Anderson rejoined his division in early March in Trier, a German city near the border with Luxembourg. At the beginning of April, the 10th Armored Division was reassigned from Patton's Third Army to the Seventh Army. Heading south, the division crossed the Danube River. The soldiers knew they were in the Bavaria region of southern Germany, but they had no idea what lay ahead.
They had driven through the town of Memmingen, Anderson remembered, and all of a sudden, seemingly out of nowhere, they were in a camp. Inside crude barracks were bunks stacked three and four high.
"I think it was a work camp, not a death camp," Anderson said. "Well, I'm sure people died right and left, but it was a work camp."
Little information is available today about this particular camp, but it likely was one of nearly 100 sub-camps of Dachau, which was liberated on April 29, 1945. Dachau opened as a camp to hold political prisoners, but its system grew to include forced labor, the imprisonment of Jews, German and Austrian criminals and eventually foreign nationals from countries that Germany occupied or invaded.
"That was my first experience seeing people with the striped uniforms that you've seen in the pictures," Anderson said. "They must have been from Russia or something like that, but there were a lot of people that didn't look like Germans or like us Caucasians. They were obviously from a different ethnic group. They were wearing the striped uniforms, milling around and so on. They didn't want us to have any contact with them."
He knew they weren't prisoners of war because three or four soldiers from his division who had been captured at Bastogne were in the camp. They were still wearing their Army uniforms, not the striped outfits of the camp inhabitants. He remembered being told not to talk to the American soldiers in the camp in case they were German spies.
The division's food trucks rolled into the camp. Food was passed out off the truck, and three large cans in the back of the truck served as trash cans and dishwashing stations.
"You throw your garbage in one, you dip your mess kit into another and you clean it, and then rinse it off over here," Anderson said. "And what I remember is those guys in those uniforms standing by the garbage, eating it."
Three weeks after liberating Buchenwald, Hartman and the 11th Armored Division arrived at Mauthausen in what is today northern Austria. A friend, who was a medic, was going into the camp and asked if Hartman wanted to go along to see it, because it was so different.
"He prepared me for it as we were going," Hartman said. "He told me that when he got there, he wouldn't be able to spend a lot of time because he would be very busy doing medical things for these people that were urgent."
Mauthausen, one of the first massive concentration camp complexes in Germany, was the last to be liberated by the Allies – on May 5, 1945. Nazi leaders had classified it as a Grade III camp, the toughest for the "incorrigible political enemies of the Reich." In the Reich Main Security Office, it was referred to as Knochenmühle – the bone-grinder.
Unlike most other concentration camps, Mauthausen was intended specifically for the extermination of educated people and members of higher social classes. As such, the horrors enacted there were often intended as equally psychologically and physically torturous. In addition to the beatings, gassings, starvation, hangings, electrocutions and medical experimentation experienced by prisoners in other camps, Mauthausen offered other atrocities. One survivor reported 62 ways of murdering people there.
A rock quarry stood at the base of a now-infamous staircase called the "Stairs of Death." Prisoners were forced to carry blocks of stone, each weighing as much as 110 pounds, up the 186 steps in a straight line – one prisoner behind another. When one collapsed, exhausted, they would all fall in a domino effect. Guards sometimes forced prisoners to race up these stairs carrying their blocks and, those who survived were lined up atop a cliff. At gunpoint, the prisoners then had to choose between being executed or pushing a fellow prisoner off the ledge.
"When we got there, there were these stacks of people like cordwood," Hartman remembered. "There were still fires going. It was quite eerie, and there were still fires going in the furnaces with the bones in them.
"Then, in the barracks where they had their people, there was so many to one bed. I can't even remember how many – you almost couldn't count them. They were just skin and bone, every one of them. People wandering around. You wondered how they could even move. They were just nothing but skin and bone."
The townspeople of the nearby village insisted they hadn't known what was going on in the camp, but Hartman said the constant stench made that unlikely. The division's commanding general ordered the townspeople to dig mass graves and carry the bodies to be placed in them.
After the war
Two days after the liberation of Mauthausen, May 7, 1945, the Nazis surrendered, effectively ending the war in Europe.
Hartman heard the news from his company commander. He said to them, "I hope you would maybe just think about your buddies that are not still here and celebrate appropriately."
"So we did," Hartman remembered. "It was very somber."
For Anderson, the news came as a relief, but it was tinged with the understanding that the soldiers would then be sent east to fight Japan. Luckily for both of them, the Japanese surrendered on Aug. 15, ending World War II altogether.
"I don't think the impact really hit us," Anderson said, "but we realized that we wouldn't be going to Japan."
Of course, they wouldn't immediately be going home, either. A point system – based on the length of time in service, the number of battle stars or decoration, and the number of dependents – determined the order in which soldiers would be sent back to the United States. Anderson, who did not have enough points to go immediately, was assigned to the 71st Division in Augsburg, Germany, where he passed the time until being sent home in January 1946.
Hartman, who also did not yet have enough points to go home, remained in Europe. After the 11th Armored Division was disbanded in August 1945, he spent time with two isolated armored tank companies. He eventually turned his tank in at Nuremberg, attended some of the war crimes trials there and became part of the army of occupation, which stayed to ensure the restoration of order after the war. He returned to Iowa in March 1946.
A week after returning, Anderson called up a girl he'd grown up with, Iris Swensson. Four months later, on May 25, they were married.
He started back to school at the Illinois Institute of Technology that spring, but around that time, he began feeling the effects of what would later be diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder. Instead of going to the Veterans Administration clinic, as many other soldiers did, he went to a counseling center in Chicago. Looking back, that made a huge difference in his life. For one thing, he noted, he probably would have gone on medication. The widely accepted treatment at the time was Thorazine, which had some bad side effects.
In 1947, he transferred to the University of Chicago and began studying psychology. He got his master's degree in 1951, and in 1952, while he was working on his doctorate, a colleague talked him into moving to Austin to teach at the University of Texas. He finished his dissertation in 1954 and, the following year, a position opened at Texas Technological College offering better pay.
He took the job.
Having made it through the war, when so many others didn't, Hartman took a long, hard look at the future.
"It gave me a certain sense of religious commitment in my own life," Hartman said. "I don't go around talking about it, but I did believe, having come through the war safely, there was something more I was still supposed to do."
Hartman returned to Iowa State and earned his bachelor's degree. In 1952, he earned his doctorate of medicine from the Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago. After interning at the Charity Hospital of Louisiana in New Orleans, he entered the Orthopedic Surgery Residency Program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. There, he met Jean Ann Rinehart, whom he married on Dec. 29, 1954.
After a one-year fellowship at Oxford University in England, he taught at the University of Michigan, then The Cleveland Clinic, and finally, in 1968, he became chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Cook County Hospital in Chicago.
"That was kind of a dream job for a teacher," he said. "We had all the residents from all four of the university programs coming to Cook County Hospital for part of their program, because we had 350 orthopedic beds, and so virtually every orthopedic entity that occurred at any time was there. It was great teaching, and strong students, strong residents from all of those programs. I was really enjoying it."
Out of the blue, he was asked to serve as a consultant for the establishment of a new medical school at the recently renamed Texas Tech University.
"I was so fascinated by it, when they asked if I would join the faculty, I did," Hartman said.
Making a difference
Perhaps given the nature of their experiences and observations in Europe, it should be no surprise that Anderson and Hartman both dedicated their lives to helping others.
In addition to teaching psychology, Anderson focused on rehabilitation. He became director of the Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling Training Program, part of a national plan sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare to fill the national need for trained counselors to work with people who were handicapped. In 1956, he was elected chairman of the National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week Committee, and in the early 1960s, he was instrumental in establishing licensing legislation for psychologists in Texas.
Anderson also became involved in helping children with learning disabilities and dyslexia. In 1961, he developed an intelligence test for blind children that allowed the sense of touch to replace the sense of sight. Given three identical raised designs to feel and then a similar design with a portion missing, a blind student could use their hands to determine the design missing and choose it from among six options.
That same decade, he opened a private practice in psychology, while teaching part time, which he continued several years beyond his retirement from Texas Tech in 1994. He served on the State Board of Examiners of Psychologists and as president of the Texas Psychological Association. Following retirement, he was director of the South Plains Foundation for several years.
Anderson enjoyed a very active later life. He was a member of the West Winds Brass Band for more than 20 years, where he played the e-flat alto horn. He and Iris traveled all over the country and internationally, river-rafting, backpacking and attending reunions of World War II veterans. He maintained a faithful exercise regimen of swimming. In 2005, the Andersons moved to the Carillon retirement community, where they became neighbors with the Hartmans.
Robert Anderson died June 18, 2017. After 71 years together, Iris followed 12 days later.
One of Hartman's first accomplishments at Texas Tech was to invent a new type of knee brace that duplicated the knee's complicated bending movements. The device allowed an injured knee to bend normally but also provided support to reduce strain on damaged ligaments.
He taught clinical medicine and saw patients in the renovated Drane and Thompson halls until the completion of a building in 1974 for the newly established Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. After Hartman had spent 10 years as chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, university President Lauro Cavazos named him interim dean of the School of Medicine in 1981. The following year, he was appointed to the position permanently.
From 1981 to 1989, he also served as a director of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, the organization responsible for maintaining the high quality of orthopedic surgery practice throughout the United States.
Seemingly at the top of his field, Hartman wasn't content to sit back and relax; he had a plan to help even more people. On Oct. 31, 1988, he retired as dean so he could oversee the launch and growth of the School of Medicine's MEDNET telemedicine program. Other medical schools around the country had implemented communications networks using telephone lines, but Texas Tech's system was the first using solely video and satellite communication.
By 1992, the program was noted as the largest, most comprehensive telemedicine project of its kind. It featured interactive consultations with specialists in the School of Medicine; thrice weekly continuing-education programs for healthcare professionals at 45 hospitals and clinics; and a telefax network to transmit medical data and images, which was being used by doctors in 19 hospitals.
Hartman – the program's executive director – was named the Texas Rural Health Association's "Person Who Made a Difference in Texas Rural Health" for 1992.
In his later years, Hartman returned to Europe several times for reunions with fellow soldiers. In 2003, he published the book, "Tank Driver: With the 11th Armored from the Battle of the Bulge to VE Day," which detailed his experiences in World War II. Afterward, he received numerous letters from both the parents and children of his comrades in arms, wanting to learn more about their service and, in many cases, their deaths.
"I never thought about that, but the Army only tells them that they were killed in action. I could tell them details," he said. "I feel rewarded by some of that.
"There's a lot of satisfaction just from realizing that you have been a factor in helping someone."
Hartman died Feb. 2, 2018, after what must have been a very satisfying life.