Today, at that apartment house where I spent the first 16 years of my life, there is a plaque over the door which says: 'In memory of the 112 inhabitants of this house, including 40 young children, deported and dead in German camps, 1942.
Stalag 13 is not a concentration camp. It's a POW camp, and that's a world of difference. You never heard of a prisoner of war being gassed or hanged. Whereas we were not even human beings. When we got to Buchenwald, the SS shoved us into a shower room to spend the night. I had heard the rumors about the dummy showerheads that were gas jets. I thought, this is it. But no, it was just a place to sleep. The first eight days there, the Germans kept us without a crumb to eat. We were hanging on to life by pure guts, sleeping on top of each other, every morning waking up to find a new corpse next to you.
When the show went on the air, people asked me if I had any qualms about doing a comedy series dealing with Nazis and concentration camps. I had to explain that it was about prisoners of war in a stalag, not a concentration camp, and although I did not want to diminish what soldiers went through during their internments, it was like night and day from what people endured in concentration camps.
What did my parents, who were extremely religious, my sisters and the rest of my family do to deserve such an end to their lives? Where is the justice? These gentle people who tried to make decent lives for themselves -- why would God take them away so cruelly? To teach a lesson? Nothing has been learned from their deaths. Man's inhumanity to man still exists.
I never put myself, as LeBeau, as me, Robert Clary. Never. It was a very different. It was a part that I did, and we actors have to play all kinds of parts. If I have to play a German, I'll play a German. If I have to play something else and if I feel it's a good part, I will do it. That's why we are actors.
No, we did not improvise. What we did, is during the first reading, we could put our two cents in. When we rehearsed the scenes, which was on Mondays, when the director or the producer was there, if you wanted to change a line, you could do that. But the days you were filming, no, you couldn't change anything at all. We had fun, because it was a good group to work with. But we did not improvise, no.
I can't think of one. I had fun. I had fun with them. I was very unhappy the first year. It was a small part, and I was very unhappy. And then I made peace with myself. I said, "if you're very unhappy, then you can quit, and that's it. But if you're going to stay, then just stop being unhappy," and it worked. But no, I don't have an episode that I can say, 'Oh God, that was great.'
No. I've seen enough of them. What do I need, an ego trip? No, I don't watch them. But you know, it's amazing, it's a tremendous success in Germany. It plays twice a day!
The new girlie magazines must be in from Paris.
I wasn't sure what that one meant myself. It always sounded like Schultz was just clearing his throat. So that's a command for attention, huh?
Yes he does! You'd better brush up on your German, Schultz.
We don't drink anything we don't stomp on.