Heroes On Hogan’s Heroes

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~ I WAS TOLD by my dearly departed Mother that the TV-show Hogan’s Heroes was quite terrible– it glorified Nazis and prison camps and trivialized the Holocaust. The show being funny, and about wartime, I still watched it. Rebel.

A few years ago, I bought Season 1, and then Googled the show and actors. Wow.

The Secret Life Of Actors

Talk about Holocaust: Werner Klemperer (Klink)? 1/2 Jewish escapee from Germany. John Banner (Schultz)? Jewish escapee from Austria, and his entire family died under Hitler. Robert Clary (Lebeau)? Actual Jewish prison-camp survivor of Buchenwald, although he barely survived, his parents, two sisters, two half-sisters, and two nephews did not. Leon Askin (General Burghalter)? Austrian Jewish escapee from Hitler.

It makes the show very poignant, to see the heavy-set Banner, and to wonder if the loss of his family had something to do with his morbid obesity. Clary wrote a book about his life. That  all these Jewish actors took a kind of retroactive revenge on the regime that so darkened their lives is also moving.

Actor Klemperer demanded that his character Colonel Klink never win, or look smart or triumph against the prisoners. The show creators agreed, and comedy gold was born.

Of all the actors, Robert Clary is the last main cast survivor, following the death earlier this year of the Latvian-born actress who played Fraulein Helga. ~

P.S. You can watch all 6 season of the show online via TubePlus. DVDs available on Amazon & eBay.


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