Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Robert Clary, Holocaust survivor who starred in TV’s Hogan’s Heroes, 96

ROBERT CLARY (front) and Larry Hovis in a scene from the TV series Hogan’s Heroes.

ROBERT Clary, the diminutive Paris-born actor and singer who survived 31 months in Nazi concentration camps but later had no qualms about co-starring in Hogan’s Heroes, the American situation comedy set in a German World War II POW camp, has died at the age of 96.

Mr. Clary, who played strudel-baking French Corporal Louis Lebeau on Hogan’s Heroes during its six seasons from 1965 to 1971, died on Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles, his granddaughter told The Hollywood Reporter.

“Robert was an amazing gentleman and incredibly talented not just as an actor but also a performer and a gifted painter,” said David Martin, his former manager.

Mr. Clary was 16 in September 1942 when he was deported from Paris to Nazi concentration camps with 12 other members of his Jewish family. He was the only one who survived. Mr. Clary spent 2-1/2 years in the Ottmuth, Blachhammer, Gross-Rosen and Buchenwald concentration camps, enduring hunger, disease, and forced labor.

He was freed when American troops liberated Buchenwald in April 1945, but then learned that his family members, including his parents, had died in the Holocaust.

It was with some irony that Mr. Clary achieved his greatest fame playing for jokes in a TV show set in a German POW camp. He said he had no concerns about being in a show that mocked the Nazis.

His character was one of the prisoners-of-war who outwitted their dimwitted German jailers and conducted espionage and sabotage to aid the Allied cause.

“The show was a satire set in a stalag for prisoners of war, where conditions were not pleasant but in no way comparable to a concentration camp, and it had nothing to do with Jews,” Mr. Clary told the Jerusalem Post in 2002.

“Showbiz is like a roller coaster and you take what roles are offered to you,” Mr. Clary added.

Hogan’s Heroes starred Bob Crane as American Colonel Robert Hogan, with Richard Dawson, Larry Hovis, and Ivan Dixon playing other POWs. The main German characters were bumbling camp commandant Colonel Klink, played by Werner Klemperer, and pliant guard Sergeant Schultz, played by John Banner. Both actors were Jews and had fled Europe because of the Nazis.

Mr. Clary’s character was known for his burgundy beret and his cooking skills, which were used to distract German officers with delicious cuisine while his fellow POWs were up to mischief.

Hogan’s Heroes was popular with TV viewers during its run on the CBS network and for decades afterward in syndication even though some critics considered it in bad taste.

‘ONE OF THE LUCKY ONES’Mr. Clary was born as Robert Max Widerman on March 1, 1926, the youngest of his Polish tailor father’s 14 children from two marriages. He became a professional singer as a teenager.

In the camps set up by the Nazis to eradicate Europe’s Jews, he was tattooed with the number A-5714 and forced to dig trenches, work in a shoe factory, and sing for his captors. The singing earned him a few extra morsels of food, Mr. Clary said.

“I was one of the lucky ones,” he told the Asbury Park, New Jersey, Press in 2002. “First of all, because I survived. Secondly, because I was in camps that were not as atrocious as others. I did not suffer. I did not work as hard as people were working in salt mines on quarries. I was never tortured. I was never really beaten. I was never hanged. But I saw all these things.”

After the war, Mr. Clary’s singing career took off in France. He moved to the United States in 1949 and comedian Eddie Cantor gave him national TV exposure. Mr. Clary later married Cantor’s daughter Natalie.

Mr. Clary performed on stage, in small film roles and in guest spots on TV before being cast in Hogan’s Heroes. His biggest film role was in director Robert Wise’s The Hindenburg (1975) starring George C. Scott.

Alarm over people trying to deny the Holocaust prompted Mr. Clary in 1980 to end his self-imposed silence about his experiences. He spent years traveling to schools in the United States and Canada speaking about the Holocaust. He also wrote an autobiography, From the Holocaust to Hogan’s Heroes.

“We must learn from history,” Mr. Clary told the Reno Gazette-Journal in 2002, “which we don’t.” — Reuters

Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!



Linesmen fix electric posts in Tondo, Manila. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ RUSSELL PALMA PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. is hoping the Court of Appeals (CA)...


Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno answers questions from the media during a press briefing at the New Executive Building, Malacañan Palace, July 6. —...


SUBSIDIES extended to government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) surged to P39.981 billion in October, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) said. Budgetary support to...


Manila rose six spots to 55th place out of 75 ranked centers in the sixth edition of the Smart Centers Index (SCI) by Long...


By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter METRO Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) said its unit NLEX Corp. expects to award the Candaba Third Viaduct project,...


1 of 3 ARMANI’s diffusion line, Armani Exchange, is trading in its old store look for a new one. During a short introduction to...

You May Also Like


BW FILE PHOTO GROSS BORROWINGS by the National Government reached P2.6 trillion as of end-September as it continued to raise funds to respond to...


KARASOLAR.COM TENA, Ecuador — Ecuador’s rainforest Achuar people say their ancestors long dreamed of a “fire canoe” or “electric fish” that would let them...


REUTERS By Luz Wendy T. Noble, Reporter The country’s foreign exchange buffers slightly increased as of end-October as the value of the central bank’s...


COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the mental health of Filipinos across different groups all over the archipelago. From frontline workers, parents balancing...

Disclaimer: Respect, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively "The Company") do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Copyright © 2022 Respect Investment. All Rights Reserved.