Leon Askin

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Leon Askin (left) and  in a  in .
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Leon Askin (left) and Paulus Manker in a coffeehouse in Vienna.

Leon Askin (September 18, 1907 - June 3, 2005) was an Austrian actor.

Born as Leo Aschkenasy into a Jewish family in Vienna, Askin already wanted to be an actor as a child. His dream came true, and in the 1930s he worked as a cabaret artist and director at the "ABC Theatre" in Vienna: in this position he also helped the career of the writer Jura Soyfer get off the ground in 1935.

Persecuted by the Nazis, Askin escaped to the United States via France, arriving in New York in 1940 with no money and less than a basic knowledge of English. When the U.S. entered the Second World War Askin joined the U.S. Army. While serving in the military he learned that his parents had been killed at Treblinka extermination camp.

After the war, Askin went to Hollywood, invariably portraying foreign characters who speak English with a strong accent. He gained wide popularity by appearing as Gen. Albert Burkhalter in the sitcom Hogan's Heroes in the late 1960s.

As opposed to other exiled Austrians, Askin never refused to work again in his home country. In 1994 he permanently took up residence in Vienna, where he remained active until his death in cabaret, as well as the Volksoper and Festwochen. He was awarded Vienna's Gold Medal of Honor.

Leon Askin died on June 3rd, 2005 in Vienna. He was 97.

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