Porta narrowed his green, piggy eyes. - I shall tell you, dear fellow. If you are a Party

member you will obey the Führer’s commandment that the good of the whole comes

before that of the individual. And therefore, you will say something like this: “Brave

warriors of the 27th Fire-and-Sword Regiment! To help you to fight even better for

Führer and People, I, in my gratitude, will make you a gift of the bottle of rum that Herr

Joseph Porta, by God’s Grace Obergefreiter, in his infinite goodness wished to give to

my unworthy person. Wasn’t that just what you were wanting to say? Weren’t those

very words trembling on the tip of your tongue? Dear fellow, we thank you from the

bottom of our hearts, and now you may fuck off!

Porta flung out his hand with a magnificent flourish, raised his cap and shouted, “Grüss


As soon as the wretched Nazi railwayman had gone, furiously gnashing his teeth, we

opened the parcel.

There were five bottles of wine, there was a whole roast of pork; there were two roast

chickens, and there was...

Sven Hassel was sent to a penal regiment in the German Wehrmacht where he served

during the Second World War. When the war ended in 1945, he began writing Legion

of the Damned during his time as a prisoner of war. With a brutal realism he describes

the atrocities of war and the crimes of the nazis. He manages to give an important

voice to the soldiers that gave their lives and were used as pawns that is both cynical

and ingrained with an intelligent and coarse sense of humor.

His fourteen World War II books, which draw on his own encounters and experiences

as a soldier, have sold over 53 million copies worldwide and have been published in

more than 50 countries.

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