Robert Comsol wrote:
There's nothing remotely humorous to this issue. When asked to remember Holocaust suvivors usually burst out in tears for the atrocities they either witnessed or endured personally.
Had any of the producers participated during WW II in Europe and seen the liberation of a concentration camp, Spock's line in "Patterns of Force" would have been excised in the very first draft of the screenplay for this episode.
It's apparent that not everyone shared this sentiment in the 60s and 70s. While a lot of holocaust survivors do break down and cry and choose not to remember those horrid atrocities, there are some Jewish people that found humor in the situation. Consider this list of stars from the TV comedy Hogan's Heroes, a show that ran from 1965-1971 about Allied POWs in a Nazi prison camp.
- Sgt. Shultz (Austrian born, fled Nazi Germany)
- Major Hochstetter (fought Nazis in the US Navy)
- General Burkhalter (Austrian born, probably fled Nazi Germany)
- Corporal LeBeau (was in the Buchenwald concentration camp)
- "Werner Klemperer's story is a bit more complicated. His father was Jewish. His mother---Lutheran. His father converted to Catholicism before the Nazi regime. Not that the Nazis cared. Anyway, Werner was brought up as a Catholic. But his father--the famous conductor--formally returned to Judaism at the age of 88."
Robert Clary is of special note. He was actually interned in a concentration death camp. After Hogan's Heroes ended, Clary spent time touring Canada and speaking at schools about the Holocaust.
Either all of those actors listed above couldn't find work and were "forced" to act on Hogan's Heroes, or they were able to accept such work without thinking it was distasteful.
Despite what we may think of joking about the Holocaust now, it wasn't uncommon to satirize the Nazi state in the late 60s. Granted, the show was about a POW camp and not a concentration camp; regardless, it was mocking an extremely dark moment in the relatively recent past.
Interestingly, Hogan's Heroes was distributed by Paramount in 1965.