“Da byen ble stille”, “When the town went quiet”, is a documentary film researched by writer Henrik Broberg and based on his book with the same title. The film is produced by John Arvid Berger and directed by Erik Smith Meyer and Trond Brede Andersen. The film explores the history of Tromsø’s jewish community and asks: Who were Tromsø’s jewish community? How did they end up in the arctic north? and what happened to them?
Erik Smith-Meyer Erik Smith-Meyer is the director and narrator of this film. He takes the audience on a journey through the history of Kjell and others in Tromsø. Along the way he makes his own unple
asant discovery: The missing portrait in the city hall of Tromsø. What is this? His own great-grandfather was the Nazi mayor of Tromsø during the war. The picture has been removed, and nobody has told him the story. Thus we reach the heart of the story: How could these atrocities become everyday life in Tromsø? What would we have done? And what would Erik himself have done?
Kjell Armand Smith is a man with a Jewish father and with Jewish background. He was conceived during the family’s failed escape from the Nazis during the war. He was a child in his mother’s womb when his father was captured by the Nazis, and he was a toddler when his father was under arrest and tortured in Tromsø. His father was killed in Auschwitz, and Kjell grew up as a poor and fatherless child. The Nazis had taken everything away. He loved cats, but some boys in the neighborhood killed it. Yet, he is reluctant to tell who did it. It is better to stay silent. But the pain remains, and Kjell has chosen a life as a boxer. To give way to the anger?
This documentary is scheduled for release summer 2017, screening dates are to be announced. In the meantime, you see photos and videos about the Jewish community in the “When the Town went Quiet” archive.