On ‘Candide’ or the specter of another century of genocide

April can be brutal to those not blessed with forgetfulness.

Forty years ago, on April 13, 1975, the Republic of Lebanon began its descent into chaos and violence, reminiscent of the ongoing carnage gripping Syria today. April 11 of this year also marked the seventieth anniversary of Robert Clary’s liberation from Buchenwald, coinciding almost to the day with Holocaust Remembrance Day. In 1945 Clary was 19. For those not old enough to know him, he was “Frenchie” in the mid-1960s American television sitcom Hogan’s Heroes.

Today he is the last living original cast member of the series.

Clary was a Jew in the role of a POW in a comedy about a World War II German prison camp. As an actor, he embodied the beauty and dignity of the human spirit; a former victim making light of the brutality and inhumanity of his former captor, barely 20 years after Buchenwald.