Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Was "Hogan's Heroes" Appropriate?


I always found Hogan's Heroes funny and entertaining. And I have friends who love to check it out from the library and watch it.

Someone recently questioned me, however, about whether it was appropriate. A comedy about Hitler's war? A light-hearted entertainment about a war machine that killed 6 million Jews? A sitcom about a war that claimed over 400,000 American lives?

I responded quickly that the show focused on the American prisoner-German prison guard relationship and that the Germans were made to look like buffoons and the Americans smart and in control despite the political appearance.

But since then I've wondered.

Sara and I are reading Chaim Potok's The Chosen. Set in NYC during WWII, it's the story of two Jewish boys, one conservative and one liberal, and their relationship to each other and to their fathers. When the war ends and news about the Jewish decimation begins to come out of Germany, both fathers are devastated and grieve bitterly. I wonder what they would have thought of Hogan's Heroes?

I recently read Simon Wiesenthal's The Sunflower, in which he recounts some of his experiences (and one experience in particular) in a Nazi concentration camp. It's obvious that time haunts him. (Who wouldn't it haunt?)

A few years ago our senior church group toured the WWII museum in Auburn. I also attended. A large painting of Hitler hangs near the entrance of the exhibit, and one of our senior ladies said disgustedly, "What is THAT hanging up for?" Anger at (hatred for?) a human butcher does not die easily.

Given all this, I wonder whether a WWII POW camp was appropriate material for a sitcom.

What's your opinion?

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