The Heartbreaking Death Of Days Of Our Lives Star And Holocaust Survivor Robert Clary

Actor and singer Robert Clary – best known for his role as Corporal LeBeau on the classic TV sitcom, "Hogan's Heroes" — died on Wednesday at age 96. The French-born Clary studied under the multi-talented Eddie Cantor. Though he appeared in such films as "Thief of Damascus" and "The Hindenburg," as well as several Broadway musicals, including "Seventh Heaven," Clary's youth was marred by a horrific experience. When he was 16, he and his family were taken by Nazi soldiers to Auschwitz, the terrifying concentration camp in Germany. Clary told The Hollywood Reporter about his experience there, and with tears in his eyes, he related his mother's last words to him: "Behave. Do what they tell you."

Clary survived the Holocaust, though most of his family sadly didn't, and he went on to have a wonderful career in entertainment and became a soap opera star in his later years. He played Pierre Rouland on "The Young and the Restless," as well as Robert LeClair on "Days of Our Lives." He also played Pierre Jourdan on "The Bold and the Beautiful" in the early 1990s. "B&B" posted a tribute to the late star on Twitter, writing, "The Bell Family & ['B&B'] are sad to learn of the passing of [Robert Clary], who portrayed Pierre Jourdan on ['B&B'] from 1990-1992. Robert was a talented actor, a kind and courageous man, and a friend to all who knew him."

As well as being a soap star, Clary also educated people about the tragedy of the Holocaust.

Robert Clary lectured about his experiences during the Holocaust

A natural entertainer, Robert Clary was born Robert Max Widerman on March 1, 1926, in Paris, France. In 2015, he told The Hollywood Reporter that he came from a family of 14 children. The family had no idea that extermination camps existed, but when they were rounded up and brought to one, he explained that entertaining was what got him through his imprisonment. At a camp called Buchenwald, Clary said it had a theater, and the prisoners would perform often. "I would sing," he said, "and that made me stay alive."

Clary told the Las Vegas Sun that he wouldn't talk about his experience until the early 1980s when he realized there were Holocaust deniers who sought to diminish its existence. He described what he and his family went through in his autobiography, "From the Holocaust to Hogan's Heroes," where he wrote, "The tragedy is that many survivors died from overeating food too rich for them after such a long time of starvation."

After publishing the book, he traveled around giving lectures about the Holocaust and his experiences. In 1985, Clary narrated a video about the life of another Holocaust survivor named Jacob Hennenberg. He said he wanted to share the memories of such survivors "Not because it will change the course of history, but because it is only by remembering that we can be sure that nothing like the Holocaust will ever take place again."