The beloved actor from the popular 1960s sitcom Hogan’s Heroes passed away in his Los Angeles home on Wednesday, November 16, 2022. The man was actor Robert Clary, who made it to ninety-six years old at the time of his passing.
He played the Hogan’s Heroes role of Corporal Louis LeBeau on the popular 1960s television series that continues to be popular in the form of reruns to this day on various channels available to subscribers.
Clary’s de.a.th was confirmed by his granddaughter, Kim Wright. She told The Hollywood Reporter about his passing.
In addition to his work as a Hollywood actor, Clary also survi.ved one of the biggest tra..gedies in the entire world. He was a documented ho.lo.ca.ust sur.vivor who managed to be.at out the N.azis and not get killed while being h.eld at a con.centr.ation cam.p in Europe.
He was sent to d.ie at Ausc.hwitz with his family when he was just a sixteen-year-old boy. He was the only member of his family that managed to su.rvi.ve the ordeal and es.cap.e the clutches of H.it.l.er’s N.az.is before they could k0.i.ll him in vile and in.h.uma.ne ways.
Clary was im.pri.on.ed in the Germa.n conc.entr.ation ca.mp for nearly three years. It was a matter of good luck and sheer determination that he was able to su.rv.ive the m.ur.de.rous place while the rest of his family was unable to do so.
Hogan’s Heroes ran for six seasons from September 1965 to April 1971. Clary was the last sur.v.iving member of the principal cast of the show until his passing this November.
In addition to his work in Hollywood, Clary also had an extensive Broadway career.
Clary was born Robert Max Widerman on March 1, 1926, in Paris. He was the youngest in an Orthodox Je.wish family that had fourteen children. When he was just twelve, he began his entertainment career. He would sing and entertain audiences beginning at the age of twelve. But when he turned sixteen, his family was sent to Au.sch.w.itz and his parents were mu.rde.r.ed by H.it.l.er’s Na.z.is in the ga.s cha.mbers.
“My mother said the most remarkable thing,” he told THR in 2015. “She said, ‘Behave.’ She probably knew me as a b0.rat. She said, ‘Behave. Do what they tell you to do.’”
Clary said that his talent as an entertainer helped him surv.iv.e the N.a.zi de.a.th camp. He would perform for soldiers every other week.
“Singing, entertaining and being in kind of good health at my age, that’s why I su.r.viv.ed,” he said in the 2015 interview.
Clary opened up about his experience in Ausc.hwitz after Ho.loc.aust deniers claimed his family did not d.i.e in the g.as cha.m.bers.
“For 36 years I kept these experiences during the war lo.ck.ed up inside myself,” Clary said. “But those who are attem.pting to deny the Ho..loc.au.st, my s.u.ffe.r.ing, and the su.ff.eri.ng of millions of others have fo.rc.ed me to speak out.”
He refused to let co.nsp.ira.cy th.eori.sts and Na.zi sympathizers deny his str.ug.gle.
“I had to explain that [Hogan’s Heroes] was about p.ris.on.ers of wa.r in a stalag, not a con.cent.ra.tion cam.p,” Clary said. “And although I did not want to dim.inish what soldiers went through during their internments, it was like night and day from what people en.dured in con.centr.ation ca.mps.”
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