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The Nazification of Norwegian Cultural
Politics and the work of Frithjof Sælen
Dr. Anette H. Storeide
Associate Professor of European Studies
Frithjof Sælen (1917- 2004)
• 1940: art-student in Oslo
• 9 April 1940: Germany attacks Norway
• Sælen enlisted immediately and participated in
the heavy battles in Hallingdal (“Halling Valley”)
• Critical of Norwegian politics prior to German
attack: Naïve, policy of neutrality as failure and
dangerous mistake
• Children’s books as coverage for political
criticism against German occupation and
Nazification, but also against Norwegian
politicians
• Snorre the Seal (1941) – was denunciated and
banned
• Three Cold Guys (1942)
• January 1943: interrogation by the Gestapo
and warned off against writing further books
• Participation in military resistance work,
escaped to London in 1944
Snorre the Seal (1941)
• Snorre the Seal in the Arctic
Ocean = Norway
• Two bad habits:
1. Dreamer
2. Vanity
”The sly polar
bear
Grumbeling
Paw” = the
Soviet Union
”The dangerous
orca Snap” =
Nazi-Germany
A fight between the good and the evil
”The nice uncle Bart/Mustache”: England as Norway’s saviour
The Seagulls Swing and Bend: Only acting for their own benefit
• ”Fake yellow twinkle
in the eyes”
• ”Red dots above the
eyes”
• The book was
denunciated after four
weeks despite good
reviews
• Far more critical of
the Norwegian Nazis
than of the German
occupants?
Hidden resistance symbols
Three Cold Guys (1942)
Three snowmen producing winter:
• Drummer hail = hail
• Creak = dry snow
• Slush = wet snow
They have icicles instead of hearts
and are travelling by brooms =
traditional symbols of the dark
forces
The three snowmen as symbols of
the Axis powers:
• Drummer hail = Nazi-Germany
• Creak = Japan
• Slush = Italy
The fight between the good and the evil (sun = the Allied)
Literature as resistance
• Writing children’s books as coverage for political criticism:
Subtitles ”A fable in colours for adults and children” (Snorre the Seal), ”A
winter-fairy-tale in colours and words” (Three Cold Guys)
• Sælen worried about the impact of Nazi propaganda on children
• The stories can be read on two levels:
1) Exiting stories for children
2) Normative, educational stories on the battle between the good and
the evil
• Narrative strategies:
1) Classic elements of the respective genres
2) Contrasts, eg. dark-light, cold-warm etc.
3) Norwegian resistance symbols
Why was Snorre the Seal banned, but not Three Cold Guys?
• Snorre the Seal was denunciated – but why that?
• Snorre the Seal ridicules and criticises the
Norwegian Nazis through the presentation of the
seagulls Swing and Bend, eg. ”they are fake” (p. 46)
• Snorre the Seal:
a. A political and satirical presentation of the
occupation of Norway
b. An educational story: from dreaming vanity to
alertness (encourages alertness and resistance)
• Three Cold Guys:
a. Are the satirical points hidden better?
b. A classic narrative on the fight between good and
evil
c. Encourages hope and endurance more than
resistance
d. A story about the world war with no explicit
remarks on the Norwegian Nazis

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The Nazification of Norwegian Cultural Politics and the work of Frithjof Sælen

  • 1. The Nazification of Norwegian Cultural Politics and the work of Frithjof Sælen Dr. Anette H. Storeide Associate Professor of European Studies
  • 2. Frithjof Sælen (1917- 2004) • 1940: art-student in Oslo • 9 April 1940: Germany attacks Norway • Sælen enlisted immediately and participated in the heavy battles in Hallingdal (“Halling Valley”) • Critical of Norwegian politics prior to German attack: Naïve, policy of neutrality as failure and dangerous mistake • Children’s books as coverage for political criticism against German occupation and Nazification, but also against Norwegian politicians • Snorre the Seal (1941) – was denunciated and banned • Three Cold Guys (1942) • January 1943: interrogation by the Gestapo and warned off against writing further books • Participation in military resistance work, escaped to London in 1944
  • 3. Snorre the Seal (1941) • Snorre the Seal in the Arctic Ocean = Norway • Two bad habits: 1. Dreamer 2. Vanity ”The sly polar bear Grumbeling Paw” = the Soviet Union ”The dangerous orca Snap” = Nazi-Germany
  • 4. A fight between the good and the evil
  • 5. ”The nice uncle Bart/Mustache”: England as Norway’s saviour
  • 6. The Seagulls Swing and Bend: Only acting for their own benefit • ”Fake yellow twinkle in the eyes” • ”Red dots above the eyes” • The book was denunciated after four weeks despite good reviews • Far more critical of the Norwegian Nazis than of the German occupants?
  • 8.
  • 9. Three Cold Guys (1942) Three snowmen producing winter: • Drummer hail = hail • Creak = dry snow • Slush = wet snow They have icicles instead of hearts and are travelling by brooms = traditional symbols of the dark forces The three snowmen as symbols of the Axis powers: • Drummer hail = Nazi-Germany • Creak = Japan • Slush = Italy
  • 10. The fight between the good and the evil (sun = the Allied)
  • 11.
  • 12. Literature as resistance • Writing children’s books as coverage for political criticism: Subtitles ”A fable in colours for adults and children” (Snorre the Seal), ”A winter-fairy-tale in colours and words” (Three Cold Guys) • Sælen worried about the impact of Nazi propaganda on children • The stories can be read on two levels: 1) Exiting stories for children 2) Normative, educational stories on the battle between the good and the evil • Narrative strategies: 1) Classic elements of the respective genres 2) Contrasts, eg. dark-light, cold-warm etc. 3) Norwegian resistance symbols
  • 13. Why was Snorre the Seal banned, but not Three Cold Guys? • Snorre the Seal was denunciated – but why that? • Snorre the Seal ridicules and criticises the Norwegian Nazis through the presentation of the seagulls Swing and Bend, eg. ”they are fake” (p. 46) • Snorre the Seal: a. A political and satirical presentation of the occupation of Norway b. An educational story: from dreaming vanity to alertness (encourages alertness and resistance) • Three Cold Guys: a. Are the satirical points hidden better? b. A classic narrative on the fight between good and evil c. Encourages hope and endurance more than resistance d. A story about the world war with no explicit remarks on the Norwegian Nazis

Editor's Notes

  1. Problemstillinger: Gen om kulturpoltikk Case studie: F Sælen Arkiv/materialproblem  problemstillinger i analysen
  2. Om «Snorre Sel» ble aldri så populær både under og etter krigen, og samlet ble solgt i 125.000 eksemplarer,
  3. OM NS
  4. Motstandssymbolikk
  5. Si også noe om bok nr 3