(THIS ARTICLE IS MACHINE TRANSLATED by Google from Norwegian)
"Nazis reportedly do not exist," he wrote Ruth Maier about Norway in her diary, when she, as one of 100 quota refugees in 1939, was granted residence by the Norwegian authorities – on strict conditions.
The young Jewish woman was 19 years old when she came to Norway from Austria, while the rest of her family traveled to England. By 1938, Maier's homeland had been annexed by Nazi Germany. Discrimination and persecution of the Jews in the country became increasingly widespread, and in November of the same year the situation worsened further with the so-called German Crystal Night, which also took place in Austria.
Quisling: The Jewish "Satan empire which is now in full swing, and which threatens the people of Europe – and Norway".
However, Norway was not at all free of Nazis and their anti-Semitic ideas. Elsa Kvamme's documentary No more everyday emphasizes this by cutting from what Maier wrote (quoted) to an archive clip in which Vidkun Quisling talks about the Jewish "Satan empire which is now in full swing, and which threatens the people of Europe – and Norway". The film emphasizes that the new race theories – with terms such as "race hygiene" and warnings against "mixing races" – were also widespread in Norway. This happened, among other things, through the book The Jewish problem and its solution (1939) by the former skier Halldis Neegaard Østbye (under the pseudonym Irene Sverd).
Ruth Maier was among the 532 Jews deported from Oslo on the cargo ship Danube on the night of November 26, 1942. A few days later, she was executed in the gas chamber of the Auschwitz concentration camp, aged 22.
Discovered by Jan Erik Vold
Kvamme's previous film Sorry brothers, it was me from 2019 was a portrait film about Jan Erik Vold. There is reason to believe that the sprout to No more everyday was sown by the filmmaker during the work on the documentary about Violence, as the Norwegian poet has played a crucial role in the discovery and dissemination of Ruth Maier's long unknown story.
Violence has put considerable effort into lifting its colleague Gunvor Hofmo (1921-1995), and has made sure to have several of her poems and other texts published posthumously, as well as written the biography Singer of Darkness (2000). When Vold and Hofmo's nephew went through her papers, they came across Ruth Maier's diaries, which Hofmo had taken care of. These have been edited by Vold and published in book form in 2007 – and have gained a significance that can be compared with Anne Frank's diaries. The original diaries are today maintained by the Norwegian Holocaust Center and included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The relationship with Gunvor Hofmo
Kvamme's documentary tells Maier's story, with emphasis on the relationship between her and Hofmo. Although it is not said directly in the film, it seems clear that the two eventually became lovers. Hofmo's writing is then also largely about the close friend's tragic fate.
"Ruth Maier was among the 532 Jews deported from Oslo on the cargo ship Danube on the night of November 26, 1942."
Kvamme conveys the story through a combination of both reconstructions with actors (where Julia Schacht plays Maier and Ingvild Holthe Bygdnes plays Hofmo), historical archive material, and interviews with those involved. Among the latter is not surprising Jan Eric Vold, but also Maier's surviving sister and a friend of both women, as well as other witnesses and relatives. This is a film characterized by a rich source material, and it could probably have stretched beyond the hour-long TV format for documentaries – but works very well within this framework.
Since Maier has received a good deal of attention with the recycled diaries, the film strictly speaking does not bring out much unknown. However, there is no strong argument against illuminating and disseminating the material also through a film, with this medium's opportunity to reach a wider audience.
World War II has long been a favorite theme for Norwegian filmmakers, but the popular feature films of recent years have concentrated mainly on the heroic tales. A significant exception, however, is the big movie The biggest crime(2020), which deals with similar topics as No more everyday. We need more and more of these stories, in movies as well as books.
We hear so often – almost to the point of boredom – that we must never forget. However, these words have in no way lost their relevance or importance. In parallel with the fact that the survivors who experienced the war are becoming fewer and fewer, meet today refugeeis with closed borders. And xenophobia and frighteningly similar conspiracy theories about ethnic groups are gaining ground, even in our own part of the world. Ruth Maier's story is one of those that is still absolutely necessary to learn from.