Director Jon Seal and U.S. representative Erik Brakstad join us for an online discussion on the new documentary The Teachers’ Protest, now available as virtual cinema from Scandinavia House!
When teachers in 1942 Occupied Norway were first informed that they must join the Nazi Teachers’ League and teach Nazi ideas in their classrooms, the idea was met with immediate resistance. Eight thousand teachers wrote letters to protest; when they were threatened with salary withdrawals or firings, they continued to refuse. In a desperate attempt to break them, the Nazi government went on to arrest 1,000 male teachers, sending them to prison camps 300 miles above the Arctic Circle. With the education system, the true battle then began.Director Jon Seal weaves together archive footage and first-hand testimony with the skillful animation of Herlov Åmland’s poignant drawings to tell this gripping story to an international audience for the first time.
Jon Seal will discuss the making of this film, as well as the historic events behind it, with Erik Brakstad, the grandson of Edvard Brakstad, one of the teachers who protested in Norway. Edvard Brakstad’s diaries of imprisonment at Kirkenes are one of the important historic documents used to research this documentary; you can read them online here.
Registration is required; please sign up at the event above. You can send questions for Jon and Erik in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org or share them with us during the chat at the event.
General admission Virtual Cinema tickets to the film are now on sale here; ASF Members received an email with their complimentary virtual screening passes on July 9.
About the Panelists
Jon Seal is a teacher with 30 years of classroom experience and has published a number of educational books. He is also a filmmaker working in both documentary and fiction. He has long been amazed by the incredible story of the Norwegian teachers and their protest against Nazi education in World War Two.
After finding that there was so little known about this story outside of Norway, he decided to make a documentary. Jon’s passion to tell this story has kept him dedicated to the film over the last four years. He is very excited to see how the story has connected with and touched audiences.
Erik Brakstad has a keen interest in Norway’s occupation years — his father, grandfather and uncle were each arrested by the Germans during the war at different times for different reasons. He has given presentations to a wide variety of audiences telling these stories. He is particularly enthusiastic about The Teachers’ Protest because it does such a good job of putting his grandfather‘s experience into context, and bringing this important story to a broader audience.
Erik has been a staff member at six different Norwegian language camps over the last 35 years. While he’s had his own general contracting business since the late 20th century, he has worked the last six years mostly as a construction trainer for Tivnu — a social justice construction skills gap year program for Jewish participants. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two teenagers.