There were not much people as animals. Sometimes small and frightened, huddling together in cattle cars, wounds gaping, tongues swelling even as they licked the moist frost from the walls - each of them wondering if he would be the next to die before reaching the crude operating table...And sometimes brawling, robbing and raping as they swept into Hamburg to glut themselves on life for one more day, or just one more night...And sometimes they were heroes, pushing their way through the Russian lines - the Legionnaire, Sven and Tiny, all of them knowing they had lost the war ...and every last shred of their own humanity.
Born in 1917 in Fredensborg, Denmark, Sven Hassel joined the merchant navy at the age of 14. He did his compulsory year's military service in the Danish forces in 1936 and then, facing unemployment, joined the German army. He served throughout World War II on all fronts except North Africa. Wounded eight times, he ended the war in a Russian prison camp. He wrote Legion of the Damned while being transferred between American, British and Danish prisons before making a new life for himself in Spain.