Robert Clary, Star From ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ Who Survived The Holocaust, Dies At Age 96

Robert Clary, Star From ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ Who Survived The Holocaust, Dies At Age 96


Robert Clary, a Frenchman who survived Nazi concentrations camps and went on to star as a prisoner of war in the hit 1960s sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes,” died Wednesday.

Born as Robert Widerman in Paris, Nazis forced the Jewish 16-year-old and most of his family into cattle cars headed to concentration camps in 1942, according to the Associated Press (AP) and Reuters. “Nobody knew where we were going,” Clary recalled in the 1985 documentary called “Robert Clary, A5714: A Memoir of Liberation.” “We were not human beings anymore,” he said. (RELATED: Actor Robert Hogan, Known For ‘Laverne & Shirley,’ ‘I Dream Of Jeannie,’ Dies At 87)

Clary withstood hunger, disease, and forced labor over 2 and a half years spent in Ottmuth, Blachhammer, Gross-Rosen and Buchenwald concentration camps, Reuters reported. He learned of his parents’ death only after his liberation from Buchenwald by American troops in 1945, the outlet noted.

The Holocaust survivor reunited with two surviving sisters in Paris, working as a singer and recording songs that gained popularity in the States, according to the AP. Clary went on to appear in musicals and films, eventually gaining fame for his role in the comedic “Hogan’s Heroes,” a show depicting prisoners of war outwitting simple minded German jailers.


“It was completely different. I know they (POWs) had a terrible life, but compared to concentration camps and gas chambers it was like a holiday,” Cary said of his role as the beret-wearing Corporal Louis LeBeau.

The actor only broke his public silence on his war experience in 1980 in response to Holocaust deniers, according to Reuters. His autobiography, “From the Holocaust to Hogan’s Heroes,” details his story of survival and unlikely journey to Hollywood fame.

Clary was the last surviving original cast member of “Hogan’s Heroes” and died of natural causes in his LA home, according to his niece in the AP.

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