NYTimes: Robert Clary, Who Took a Tragic Journey to ‘Hogan’s Heroes,’ Dies at 96

20 Nov

Robert Clary, Who Took a Tragic Journey to ‘Hogan’s Heroes,’ Dies at 96 https://nyti.ms/3GwlErL

My brother and I used to sneak “Hogan’s Heroes” because (a) we were limited in how much TV we were allowed to watch and (b) my mother, having grown up in Nazi Germany, objected to making light in any way of what happened. Would she feel differently if she knew that one actor was a concentration camp survivor and three were refugees? Perhaps. Or perhaps the reminders of those years would all still be too painful.

Three refugees, you ask? Robert Clary’s obituary only mentions Wilhelm Klemperer and John Banner. They left out Leon Askin, who played General Burkhalter. He was born Leon Aschkenasy in Vienna and lost both his parents in Treblinka. Ever since I learned that, years ago, I’ve thought how therapeutic it must have been to play the bad-tempered and quite repulsive General.

3 Responses to “NYTimes: Robert Clary, Who Took a Tragic Journey to ‘Hogan’s Heroes,’ Dies at 96”

  1. janisgibbs November 20, 2022 at 3:17 pm #

    I liked Hogan’s Heroes when I was a kid, too. I knew about Clery and Klemperer, but I didn’t know about Bonner and Askin. Thanks! When I moved to Germany in 1991, I was startled to find Hogan’s Heroes running, dubbed into German, on German cable TV. I never asked any German people about it, but I guessed that “Nazis as buffoons” was better than Nazis as Nazis.

  2. esauboeck November 21, 2022 at 3:13 am #

    Thanks for that. I didn’t realize your mother was from Germany. Or was she from Vienna?

    • ecbinvienna November 21, 2022 at 9:11 am #

      No, no. She was from Germany — and had her doubts when I decided to move to Vienna, not having a very high opinion of the Viennese.

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