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How Sven Hassel's Gestapo Became One of the Most Controversial Books of All Time

Sven Hassel Gestapo Pdf 12: A Review of the Controversial War Novel

War novels are a popular genre of literature that depict the horrors, heroism, and humanity of war. Some of them are based on real experiences, while others are fictional or semi-fictional. One of the most controversial war novels ever written is Gestapo by Sven Hassel, a Danish author who claimed to have served in a German penal regiment during World War II. In this article, I will review Gestapo and explain why it has been praised, criticized, and banned by different readers and authorities.

Sven Hassel Gestapo Pdf 12



Who was Sven Hassel?

Sven Hassel was the pen name of Børge Willy Redsted Pedersen, who was born in 1917 in Denmark. He joined the Danish merchant navy at the age of 14 and later served in the Danish army. In 1937, he moved to Germany and joined the Nazi party. He was arrested for desertion in 1939 and sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to 10 years in a concentration camp. He was then transferred to a penal regiment of the German army, where he claimed to have fought on various fronts until 1945. He was captured by the Soviet forces and spent several years in prison camps before being released in 1950. He then moved to Spain and started writing his war novels under the name of Sven Hassel.

What is Gestapo about?

Gestapo is the fourth novel by Sven Hassel, published in 1958. It is part of a series of 14 novels that follow the adventures of a group of anti-Nazi soldiers who serve in a penal regiment called the 27th (Penal) Panzer Regiment. The novel is set in 1944, when the German army is retreating from the Eastern Front. The main characters are sent on a suicide mission to infiltrate and sabotage a Soviet tank factory behind enemy lines. Along the way, they encounter various enemies and allies, such as partisans, spies, traitors, deserters, and of course, the Gestapo.

Why is it controversial?

Gestapo is controversial for several reasons. First, it depicts graphic scenes of violence, torture, rape, and brutality that some readers find disturbing and offensive. Second, it portrays the German soldiers as sympathetic and humanized characters who are victims of war and Nazi tyranny, while the Soviet soldiers are often depicted as cruel and barbaric. Third, it questions the authenticity and accuracy of Sven Hassel's biography and claims to have witnessed or participated in some of the events described in the novel. Fourth, it has been accused of plagiarism, propaganda, and defamation by various critics and authorities.

Main Body

The plot of Gestapo

The main characters

The novel follows the exploits of a group of soldiers who belong to a penal regiment that is composed of criminals, deserters, political prisoners, and other undesirables. They are led by Lieutenant Ohlsen, a former SS officer who hates Hitler and the Nazis. The narrator of the novel is Sven, a Danish soldier who serves as the driver and mechanic of the group. The other members of the group are:

  • Porta, a German soldier who is the unofficial leader and comic relief of the group. He is a cunning and resourceful scrounger who always finds ways to get food, alcohol, and women.

  • Tiny, a giant German soldier who is the strongest and most loyal member of the group. He is a gentle and kind-hearted person who loves animals and children.

  • The Legionnaire, a French soldier who is the oldest and most experienced member of the group. He is a former Foreign Legion officer who has fought in many wars and knows many languages and cultures.

  • The Old Man, a German soldier who is the second oldest and most cynical member of the group. He is a former school teacher who hates war and politics.

  • Barcelona, a Spanish soldier who is the youngest and most naive member of the group. He is a former bullfighter who joined the German army to escape from poverty and oppression in Spain.

  • Heide, a German soldier who is the only female member of the group. She is a former nurse who was raped by Soviet soldiers and joined the penal regiment to seek revenge.

The main events

The novel consists of several episodes that chronicle the adventures and misadventures of the group as they try to complete their mission and survive the war. Some of the main events are:

  • The group arrives at a train station where they witness a mass execution of Soviet prisoners by the Gestapo. They manage to rescue a young girl named Olga, who becomes Tiny's girlfriend.

  • The group infiltrates a Soviet tank factory disguised as workers. They sabotage some of the tanks and escape with some documents and blueprints.

  • The group encounters a band of partisans led by a woman named Zina, who claims to be Olga's sister. They join forces with them to fight against the Nazis and the Soviets.

  • The group is betrayed by one of their own members, who turns out to be a Gestapo agent. They are captured and tortured by the Gestapo, but they manage to escape with the help of Zina and Olga.

  • The group reaches a German airfield where they hope to board a plane and fly back to their base. However, they discover that the plane is actually a bomb that is meant to destroy Berlin. They decide to hijack the plane and fly it to Moscow instead.

The main themes

The novel explores several themes that are common in war literature, such as:

  • The horror and absurdity of war: The novel depicts war as a senseless and brutal phenomenon that causes immense suffering and destruction for both sides. It shows how war dehumanizes people and makes them do terrible things to each other.

  • The camaraderie and loyalty among soldiers: The novel portrays the bond that develops between the members of the group, who despite their differences and backgrounds, stick together and support each other in times of danger and hardship. It shows how friendship and humor can help cope with the horrors of war.

  • The resistance and rebellion against tyranny: The novel portrays the group as anti-Nazi rebels who oppose Hitler and his regime. It shows how they defy orders, sabotage missions, help enemies, and ultimately try to end the war by bombing Moscow.

The reception of Gestapo

The positive reviews

Gestapo has received some positive reviews from readers and critics who appreciate its style, humor, realism, and message. Some of the positive aspects of the novel are:

  • Its fast-paced and action-packed plot that keeps the reader engaged and entertained.

  • Its witty and sarcastic dialogue that adds humor and irony to the story.

  • Its vivid and detailed descriptions that create a realistic and immersive atmosphere of war.

  • Its anti-war and anti-Nazi stance that exposes the evils of fascism and militarism.

The negative reviews

Gestapo has also received some negative reviews from readers and critics who dislike its content, tone, accuracy, and ethics. Some of the negative aspects of the novel are:

  • Its graphic and gratuitous violence that shocks and repels the reader.

  • Its biased and stereotypical portrayal of Soviet soldiers as savages and rapists.

  • Its dubious and questionable authenticity as a memoir or testimony of war.

  • Its plagiarism and appropriation of other sources without proper citation or acknowledgment.

The legal issues

Gestapo has faced several legal issues and controversies due to its content and authorship. Some of the legal issues are:

  • It has been banned or censored in some countries, such as Germany, Poland, and Russia, for being offensive, inflammatory, or defamatory to their people and history.

  • It has been sued or challenged by some authors, such as Leon Uris and Willi Heinrich, for plagiarizing or copying their works without permission or credit.

  • It has been disputed or debunked by some historians, such as Guy Walters and Roger Moorhouse, for fabricating or exaggerating some of the events and characters in the novel.

The legacy of Gestapo

The influence on other war novels

Gestapo has influenced or inspired other war novels that share some of its features or themes. Some of the war novels that have been influenced by Gestapo are:

  • The Dirty Dozen by E.M. Nathanson, which tells the story of a group of American convicts who are sent on a secret mission to assassinate German officers during World War II.

  • The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins, which tells the story of a group of German paratroopers who are sent on a secret mission to kidnap Winston Churchill during World War II.

  • The Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth, which tells the story of a group of mercenaries who are hired to overthrow a dictator in an African country.

The adaptation into a movie

Gestapo has been adapted into a movie in 1976, directed by Gordon Hessler and starring David Carradine, Richard Basehart, and Maria Socas. The movie is titled The Dirty Heroes and follows the same plot as the novel, with some changes and additions. The movie received mixed reviews from critics and audiences, who praised its action scenes and performances, but criticized its low budget and poor quality.

The availability of the pdf version

Gestapo is available in pdf format for free download on various websites and platforms. However, some of these websites and platforms may be illegal or unsafe, as they may contain viruses, malware, or spyware that can harm your device or data. Therefore, it is advisable to use caution and discretion when downloading Gestapo or any other pdf file from the internet.


Summary of the main points

In conclusion, Gestapo is a controversial war novel by Sven Hassel that depicts the adventures of a group of anti-Nazi soldiers who serve in a penal regiment during World War II. The novel has been praised for its style, humor, realism, and message, but also criticized for its violence, bias, accuracy, and ethics. The novel has faced legal issues for being banned, sued, or disputed in some countries and by some authors and historians. The novel has influenced other war novels and has been adapted into a movie. The novel is available in pdf format for free download on the internet.

Personal opinion and recommendation

Personally, I think Gestapo is an interesting and entertaining war novel that offers a different perspective on World War II. I enjoyed reading about the exploits and misadventures of the group of soldiers who try to survive and rebel against the Nazis and the Soviets. I also liked the style and humor of the novel that adds some lightness and irony to the dark and grim story. However, I also acknowledge that the novel is not for everyone, as it contains graphic and disturbing scenes of violence and brutality that may offend or shock some readers. I also recognize that the novel is not very reliable or accurate as a source of historical information or testimony, as it contains many errors and exaggerations that may mislead or confuse some readers. Therefore, I would recommend Gestapo to readers who are looking for a fast-paced and action-packed war novel that challenges the conventional views on World War II. I would also advise readers to read Gestapo with a critical eye and an open mind, as it is not meant to be taken literally or seriously.


  • What is the meaning of Gestapo?

Gestapo is an acronym for Geheime Staatspolizei, which means Secret State Police in German. It was the official secret police of Nazi Germany that was responsible for suppressing opposition and dissent within Germany and occupied territories. It was notorious for its brutality and cruelty, as it used torture, intimidation, and murder to achieve its goals.

  • Who is the author of Gestapo?

The author of Gestapo is Sven Hassel, a Danish author who claimed to have served in a German penal regiment during World War II. He wrote 14 novels based on his alleged experiences and observations of war. He died in 2012 at the age of 95.

  • Is Gestapo a true story?

Gestapo is not a true story, but a fictional or semi-fictional novel that is based on some real events and characters. However, many of the events and characters in the novel are either fabricated or exaggerated by the author for dramatic or artistic purposes. Therefore, Gestapo should not be considered as a reliable or accurate source of historical information or testimony.

  • Is Gestapo a good book?

Gestapo is a good book depending on your taste and preference. If you like war novels that are fast-paced, action-packed, witty, and realistic, you may enjoy Gestapo. If you dislike war novels that are graphic, violent, biased, and inaccurate, you may not like Gestapo.

  • Where can I find Gestapo pdf 12?

You can find Gestapo pdf 12 on various websites and platforms that offer free pdf downloads. However, you should be careful and cautious when downloading Gestapo or any other pdf file from the internet, as some of these websites and platforms may be illegal or unsafe.


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