Another weird place this sort of thing showed up was in Hogan’s Heroes. Robert Clary, who played Frenchman Labeau, was the sole survivor of his family from Burchanwald - it’s why he was never seen in short sleeves - and in an episode where he’s recovering French owned art stolen by the Nazis he didn’t need to act to weep at the cultural vandalism: he’d lived through it, after all.Ever see Casablanca? I actually had not until very recently, and with it I learned something interesting about it.
There's a scene where the Nazis start singing Die Wacht am Rhine, a patriotic German song with its roots in the Franco-Prussian War, which at the time was more or less the de facto German national anthem. This leads one of the main characters to get the band to start playing La Marseillaise, which everyone else in the bar joins in, ultimately drowning out the Nazis. It's a surprisingly emotional scene, and several of the characters are seen brimming with tears. ...That wasn't entirely staged.
For those unfamiliar, Casablanca was released in 1942, and many of the actors were in fact refugees who had fled from the Nazis.
Marcel Dalio (Emil) and Madeleine Lebeau had fled Paris together shortly before the Nazis took it in 1940. Most of Dalio's family would die in concentration camps. S.Z. Sakall (Carl) fled Germany in 1939. His sisters and niece shared the same fate as Dalio's family. Peter Lorre fled to Paris and then London from Nazi Germany in 1933, before eventually making it to America. Paul Henreid (Lazlo) was an Austrian-English actor who had been so vocally anti-Nazi as to be declared an "official enemy of the Third Reich" and had relocated to the States in 1941. Curt Bois (pickpocket)? Jewish-German refugee. Leonard Kinskey (Sascha)? Helmut Dantine? Imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp in 1938, but ultimately released and sent by his family to California. Louis V. Arco, Trude Berliner, Ilka Grünig, Ludwig Stössel, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski, and Wolfgang Zilzer? The film is chock full of people who had fled Nazi oppression. Even actors cast as the Nazis in the film (such as Conrad Veidt, who played antagonist Major Strasser).
Granted, I am very late to the party in this (though again, I only just got around to seeing Casablanca, so that is perhaps to be expected). Aljean Harmetz wrote about this some time ago in the Making of Casablanca, and she sums it up pretty well.
Leon Askin, who played Col. Burkhalter - Klink’s commanding officer who’s either trying to to marry him off to his sister or have him sent to the Russian front - has a prominent scar on his face that he got while having the shit kicked out of him by some Nazis in Germany.
Obviously not the same as refugees at in Casablanca in ‘42 but an interesting bit of trivia.