Folklore Fights the Nazis: Humor in Occupied Norway, 1940-1945

Folklore Fights the Nazis: Humor in Occupied Norway, 1940-1945

by Kathleen Stokker
     
 

    Armed with jokes, puns, and cartoons, Norwegians tried to keep their spirits high and foster the Resistance by poking fun at the occupying Germans during World War II. Despite a 1942 ordinance mandating death for the ridicule of Nazi soldiers, Norwegians attacked the occupying Nazis and their Norwegian collaborators by means of anecdotes, quips,

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Overview

    Armed with jokes, puns, and cartoons, Norwegians tried to keep their spirits high and foster the Resistance by poking fun at the occupying Germans during World War II. Despite a 1942 ordinance mandating death for the ridicule of Nazi soldiers, Norwegians attacked the occupying Nazis and their Norwegian collaborators by means of anecdotes, quips, insinuating personal ads, children’s stories, Christmas cards, mock postage stamps, and symbolic clothing.
    In relating this dramatic story, Kathleen Stokker draws upon her many interviews with survivors of the Occupation and upon the archives of the Norwegian Resistance Museum and the University of Oslo. Central to the book are four “joke notebooks” kept by women ranging in age from eleven to thirty, who found sufficient meaning in this humor to risk recording and preserving it. Stokker also cites details from wartime diaries of three other women from East, West, and North Norway. Placing the joking in historical, cultural, and psychological context, Stokker demonstrates how this seemingly frivolous humor in fact contributed to the development of a resistance mentality among an initially confused, paralyzed, and dispirited population, stunned by the German invasion of their neutral country.
    For this paperback edition, Stokker has added a new preface offering a comparative view of resistance through humor in neighboring Denmark.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
 “An indispensable history of a nation’s resistance to occupation. . . . Stokker’s penetrating study shows folk humor as a form of psychological warfare.”—Choice

Folklore Fights the Nazis concludes that Norwegians—traditionally regarded as serious-minded folks—employed a sly sense of humor at the expense of their invaders, even in the face of possible harsh retaliation.”—Jack Hovelson, Des Moines Register

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780299154448
Publisher:
University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date:
02/15/1997
Edition description:
1
Pages:
280
Sales rank:
1,433,222
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

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