The actors who played the four major German roles—Werner Klemperer (Klink), John Banner (Schultz), Leon Askin (Burkhalter), and Howard Caine (Hochstetter)—were Jewish. Furthermore, Klemperer, Banner, Askin, and Robert Clary (LeBeau) were Jews who had fled the Nazis during World War II. Clary says in the recorded commentary on the DVD version of episode “Art for Hogan’s Sake” that he spent three years in a concentration camp, that his parents and other family members were killed there, and that he has an identity tattoo from the camp on his arm (“A-5714″). Likewise John Banner had been held in a (pre-war) concentration camp and his family was exterminated during the war. Leon Askin was also in a pre-war French internment camp and his parents were killed at Treblinka. Howard Caine (Hochstetter), who was also Jewish (his birth name was Cohen), was American, and Jewish actors Harold Gould and Harold J. Stone played German generals.
As a teenager, Werner Klemperer (Klink) fled Hitler’s Germany with his family in 1933. During the show’s production, he insisted that Hogan always win over his Nazi captors. He defended his playing a Luftwaffe Officer by claiming, “I am an actor. If I can play Richard III, I can play a Nazi.” Banner attempted to sum up the paradox of his role by saying, “Who can play Nazis better than us Jews?” Ironically, although Klemperer, Banner, Caine, Gould, and Askin play typecast World War II German types, all had actually served in the US Armed Forces during World War II — Banner and Askin in the US Army Air Corps, Caine in the US Navy, Gould with the US Army, and Klemperer in a US Army Entertainment Unit.
haha cool! Even thou best part of 50 years old, still showing every day on TV on Comedy Central and is still very watchable compared to others of the same age – have it on mysky cant bring myself to delete it Fun show.
The most famous internment camps [in France] before World War II were used to receive the Republican refugees during the Spanish Civil War. These were interned mostly in the Roussillon Province, although internment camps were established in all of French territory, even in Brittany, in the north-west of France. These camps were located in Agde in the Hérault department (near Montpellier), Argelès-sur-Mer, between Perpignan and the border, Camp Gurs in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, which received Spanish refugees following the defeat of the Spanish Republic. These were distinguished by the French state into Brigadists, gudaris (Basque nationalists) who had escaped from the siege of Santander, pilots, and farmers.
Indeed – Leon Askin’s family could not afford to send him to school full-time, so he studied acting at night school while working as a bookkeeper and salesman. He worked as an actor and director in Vienna and parlayed that into a steady work at the famous Louise Dumont Theater in Düsseldorf, Germany. Because of his ethnicity Askin was fired in 1933, and subsequently arrested and beaten.
He returned to Vienna, then fled to Paris in 1938 when the Nazis took Austria. His parents were imprisoned and killed in a Nazi concentration camp. In Paris, Askin was put into a French internment camp — not for being Jewish, but for being from Nazi-controlled Austria. He applied to emigrate to America, and arrived in New York in 1940, where the Austrian Leo Aschkenasy became the American Leon Askin and served in the Army Air Corps during World War II.
Slightly off topic…I have half a dozen DVD’s of black and white episodes of the Beverley Hillbillies….absolutely fantastic stuff….somehow cant see “Two and a half men” and the other current American “comedy” being still watchable in 50 years…
You need to bear in mind that for every Beverley Hillbillies and Hogan’s Heroes there would have been dozens of very lame comedies. Good comedy is still around, but nowadays the clutter is probably much worse.