THE BLEKINGE GANG
The Danish cell
The first volume of Peter Øvig’s books about the Blekinge Gang follows the gang members from their time in high school, through their first robberies and up to 1980, when one of the central members of the gang was killed.
The story begins in the late 1960s when the communists Gotfred Appel and Ulla Hauton gather a group of young people around them and send them to a military training camp in Jordan operated by the PFLP, ‘The People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine’.
Under the cover name of ‘The Apples’, as early as the first half of the seventies the group functioned as an illegal cell which procured weapons and money for the Palestinians by means of a series of the greatest heists in Denmark’s history, which the police have never been able to clear up.
The Danish cell formed part of an international network which also included the Baader-Meinhof gang and ‘Carlos the Jackal’. The gang’s most important member was Appel’s right hand man, the charismatic and womanising fireman Holger Jensen, who for ten years was to lead the gang’s criminal and international activities.
‘The Danish Cell’ is the first independent volume of two which narrate the documentary history of the Blekinge Gang based on conversations with people involved and confidential police and secret service archives.
In August 2007, the first volume of The Blekinge Gang received an award from the Danish Art Fund on the grounds that the book “is a deeply fascinating document, in which a whole arsenal of rhetorical ploys and devices were used to unravel, chart and bring to life one of the most bizarre episodes in Danish post-war history.”
Published in Danish only (Gyldendal, 2007)
“One reads 440 pages with all your nerves on edge. Because Øvig is able, with eminent linguistic precision, by changing points of view and leaps forwards and backwards in time to orchestrate his enormous research material with virtuosity – a journalistic, historic and artistic fete of the rarest and most important kind.”
“With his books about the Nazi Occupation, Øvig made new and surprising contributions to Danish history (read: repression) about five dark years. And with this book about the Blekinge Gang, Øvig confirms in no mean terms that he is probably the present times’ brightest, most searching and at the same time most incredibly readable documentary writer.”
“Peter Øvig Knudsen sets new standards for documentary narrative … that much-abused critics’ cliché ‘hair-raising reading’ is on this rare occasion appropriate.”
“Peter Øvig Knudsen’s book is an eye-opener. In these times of terrorism topping the agenda in the Western World, it is truly surprising just what he is able tell about this sectarian and strongly left-wing group.”
P1 Morgen, DR
Posts on the book’s blog
When I first saw Søren Svendsen’s photograph of the building on Korsgade in the district of Nørrebro, I was in no doubt I had found the front page picture for my BZ book. (BZ is the Danish name for the squatter movement). The photo, which was taken on 23rd April 1982, sums up the atmosphere […]
In fact it is epoch-making: Facebookistan is the first critical documentary film about Facebook – not just in Denmark, but surprisingly enough throughout the whole world. We all communicate with each other on Facebook everyday, but this gigantic global and hermetically sealed company has almost completely avoided critical supervision, even though it must be one […]
Seldom have I felt so out of step with the public debate as I have done since the terrorist attacks in Paris and Copenhagen. It seems to be impossible to in any way counteract the absurd tendency to compare any defence of the freedom of speech with intolerance or even incitement against Muslims And the problem […]
The assault on Charlie Hebdo ought to be a turning point in the debate about Islamism and Freedom of Speech. I Hope! For God’s sake let’s start talking about what we can do about our times’ most dangerous totalitarian movement. The Islamists call themselves Muslims, but this is not their most important aspect: The Islamic […]
According to a new documentary film, in December 1987 the Blekingegade gang hand grenades were used in a German terrorist action against a military café in Barcelona. During the attack, one person was killed and nine others injured. A few weeks ago I was visited by the German documentary director Egmont R. Koch and his […]
I have decided to write a book about the Danish BZ Squatter movement in the eighties. The working title is ‘BZ squatter – a love story’ because many squatters quickly began to talk of family, community and love. I made the decision after having for the last two months engaged in an intense and super […]
Apple has finally listened to sense and decided to REVERSE a decision to censure a French book with a naked woman on the cover out of the iBookstore. Naturally, Gyldendal and myself will take immediate steps to re-evaluate the Hippy books in the iBookstore – and our hope is as light green as a hardly […]