Holocaust Survivor and Actor Robert Clary’s Death in his Sleep
Unfortunately, we have to announce that the French-born American actor passed away peacefully at his home at the age of 96. Robert Clary’s death was announced this morning, Wednesday, November 16, 2022. May he rest in peace.
He is best known for his role as Corporal Louis LeBeau in the television sitcom Hogan’s Heroes. His other costars were Bob Crane as American Colonel Robert Hogan, with Richard Dawson, Larry Hovis, and Ivan Dixon playing other POWs.
Our dear Clary rose to fame after his role in this movie and it was because of his burgundy beret and his cooking skills, which seemed that were used to distract German officers with delicious cuisine while his fellow POWs were up to mischief.
The main German characters were bumbling camp commandant Colonel Klink, played by Werner Klemperer, and pliant guard Sergeant Schultz, played by John Banner. Also, both actors were Jewish and had fled Europe because of the Nazis.
When he was 16, Clary and 12 other members of his Jewish family were deported from Paris to Nazi concentration camps in September 1942. He had a hard life and spent about 2 years in hunger, disease, and forced labor in the Ottmuth, Blachhammer, Gross-Rosen, and Buchenwald concentration camps.
In April 1945 and about three years after that, he was freed when American troops liberated Buchenwald but then learned that his family members, including his parents, had died in the Holocaust. He was the only survivor.
As far as we know he chose not to talk about his experiences of the Holocaust for almost 36 years and said “I kept these experiences locked up inside. He added that there are some people who are attempting to deny the Holocaust and his suffering and the suffering of millions of others have forced him to speak out.
When these people started to deny the Holocaust prompted Clary in 1980, he broke his silence about his experiences during the Holocaust. As a result, Clary spent years traveling to schools in the United States and Canada speaking about the Holocaust. “From the Holocaust to Hogan’s Heroes”, he added in his autobiography.
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About his memories of the Holocaust, he once said that he was one of the luckiest people during that time: “First of all, because I survived. Secondly, because I was in camps that were not as atrocious as others. I did not suffer.”
Clary added: “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.”
As a painter, he just took photographs on his travels and he liked to sing in several jazz albums. Clary was married to the late Natalie Cantor for 32 years. Natalie was the second daughter of Eddie Cantor and passed away in 1997.
On social media, messages of condolences were sent to Robert Clary’s family and loved ones. His friends shared their sadness through their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages. May he rest in peace.
Orin Kerr on social media: “May his memory be a blessing. FWIW, my dad, who was a concentration camp survivor, used to love watching Hogan’s Heroes. The Nazis were presented as buffoons who were outsmarted every time and were the butt of every joke. That always made dad smile.”
“Dammit to hell. Last of the original cast. He was in Buchenwald and survived because he could sing. He had been educating people about the Holocaust in recent years. Yes, Hogan’s Heroes was silly and trashy. But Robert Clary was not.” Parody Xopher Halftongue on Twitter.
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