Robert Clary, Holocaust survivor who starred in TV’s ‘Hogan’s Heroes’, dies at 96 By Reuters

By Will Dunham

(Reuters) – Robert Clary, the diminutive Paris-born actor and singer who survived 31 months in Nazi focus camps however later had no qualms about co-starring in “Hogan’s Heroes,” the American scenario comedy set in a German World Conflict Two POW camp, has died on the age of 96, in accordance with media reviews.

Clary, who performed strudel-baking French Corporal Louis Lebeau on “Hogan’s Heroes” throughout its six seasons from 1965 to 1971, died on Wednesday at his residence in Los Angeles, his granddaughter informed The Hollywood Reporter.

Clary was 16 in September 1942 when he was deported from Paris to Nazi focus camps with 12 different members of his Jewish household. He was the one one who survived. Clary spent 2-1/2 years within the Ottmuth, Blachhammer, Gross-Rosen and Buchenwald focus camps, enduring starvation, illness and compelled labor.

He was freed when American troops liberated Buchenwald in April 1945, however then realized that his members of the family, together with his mother and father, had died within the Holocaust.

It was with some irony that Clary achieved his best fame taking part in for jokes in a TV present set in a German POW camp. He stated he had no issues about being in a present that mocked the Nazis.

His character was one of many prisoners-of-war who outwitted their dimwitted German jailers and carried out espionage and sabotage to assist the Allied trigger.

“The present was a satire set in a stalag for prisoners of conflict, the place situations weren’t nice however under no circumstances corresponding to a focus camp, and it had nothing to do with Jews,” Clary informed the Jerusalem Publish in 2002.

“Showbiz is sort of a curler coaster and you’re taking what roles are provided to you,” Clary added.

“Hogan’s Heroes” starred Bob Crane as American Colonel Robert Hogan, with Richard Dawson, Larry Hovis and Ivan Dixon taking part in different POWs. The principle German characters have been bumbling camp commandant Colonel Klink, performed by Werner Klemperer, and pliant guard Sergeant Schultz, performed by John Banner (NASDAQ:). Each actors have been Jews and had fled Europe due to the Nazis.

Clary’s character was recognized for his burgundy beret and his cooking expertise, which have been used to distract German officers with scrumptious delicacies whereas his fellow POWs have been as much as mischief.

“Hogan’s Heroes” was common with TV viewers throughout its run on the CBS community and for many years afterward in syndication despite the fact that some critics thought-about it in unhealthy style.


Clary was born as Robert Max Widerman on March 1, 1926, the youngest of his Polish tailor father’s 14 youngsters from two marriages. He grew to become an expert singer as a teen.

Within the camps arrange by the Nazis to eradicate Europe’s Jews, he was tattooed with the quantity A-5714 and compelled to dig trenches, work in a shoe manufacturing facility and sing for his captors. The singing earned him just a few additional morsels of meals, Clary stated.

“I used to be one of many fortunate ones,” he informed the Asbury (NYSE:) Park, New Jersey, Press in 2002. “To begin with, as a result of I survived. Secondly, as a result of I used to be in camps that weren’t as atrocious as others. I didn’t endure. I didn’t work as onerous as folks have been working in salt mines on quarries. I used to be by no means tortured. I used to be by no means actually crushed. I used to be by no means hanged. However I noticed all these items.”

After the conflict, Clary’s singing profession took off in France. He moved to america in 1949 and comic Eddie Cantor gave him nationwide TV publicity. Clary later married Cantor’s daughter Natalie.

Clary carried out on stage, in small movie roles and in visitor spots on TV earlier than being forged in “Hogan’s Heroes.” His greatest movie function was in director Robert Clever’s “The Hindenburg” (1975) starring George C. Scott.

Alarm (NASDAQ:) over folks making an attempt to disclaim the Holocaust prompted Clary in 1980 to finish his self-imposed silence about his experiences. He spent years touring to colleges in america and Canada talking in regards to the Holocaust. He additionally wrote an autobiography, “From the Holocaust to Hogan’s Heroes.”

“We should study from historical past,” Clary informed the Reno Gazette-Journal in 2002, “which we do not.”

(Reporting and writing by Will Dunham; Modifying by Invoice Trott)

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