From V for Vendetta to A Perfect World, pop culture has popularised Stockholm Syndrome like no other. Considering how widely used the term is, you might expect it to go back a few hundred years. But what if we told you that this mental condition got its name from a relatively recent event? Here’s all you need to know about Stockholm Syndrome, the robbery that gave the condition its name, and the man that wooed all of Sweden despite his many crimes- Clark Olofsson.
What is Stockholm Syndrome?
While we’re certain this condition doesn’t need an introduction, here’s a brief summary of it.
Stockholm Syndrome is the name given to the bonding hostages develop with their captors during captivity. WebMD describes it as “an emotional response” that happens to abuse and hostage victims. The signature symptom of this is positive feelings towards the abuser or captor. It can happen over the course of a few days or even years.
The scariest part of Stockholm Syndrome is the hostility the victims develop against anyone who comes between the victim and the captor. This can include police, legal authorities, or anyone in power to stop the captivity or the abuse.
While Stockholm Syndrome has been around for a long time, its name and identification are pretty recent. In the year of 1973, Nils Bejerot, a criminologist from Stockholm, identified this syndrome in many victims of a bank raid.
Clark Olofsson and the Norrmalmstorg robbery: the origin of the Stockholm Syndrome
Imagine being a part of a bank robbery, not unlike Money Heist. However, unlike the victims we see in Money Heist, there’s a charming captor involved. This seemingly fascinating captor continues to soothe you during your 6 days of captivity singing Roberta Flack’s beloved song Killing Me Softly. Quite the material for an exciting Netflix Original!
Jan-Erik Olsson met Clark Olofsson at a Swedish correctional facility. Enamored by the latter’s history of bank robberies, Olsson began planning one of his own involving this man. When he finally succeeded in seizing the bank at Norrmalmstorg square, he demanded his friend be there. With 4 hostages whose lives the government couldn’t risk, they brought to him Clark Olofsson.
Olofsson was supposed to be a communication link between the police. Right after Olofsson arrived, a woman naked Kristin Ehnemark said that she felt safe with the robbers but was afraid the police would come and use violent means to stop them. This was the beginning of the syndrome. After the prime minister of Sweden got involved in the rescue attempt and negotiation calls, the same woman told him that she was displeased with his attitude and said she wanted him to let the robbers and hostages leave the bank premises.
The robbery went on for 6 days and it was during this time that Olofsson, according to himself, tried to keep the environment safe. However, reports vary on this statement and Olofsson had also shot a police officer’s hand and face. The court dismissed his appeal.
Was Clark Olofsson romantically involved with any of the victims?
One of the most popular myths that prevail to this day about the robbery is that Olofsson was romantically involved with the victims of the robbery. While Kristin Ehnemark and Clark Olofsson became very good friends, there was no romantic involvement between the two. However, Jan Olsson went on to marry one of his female admirers from the robbery. Yet, the fact remains that it didn’t occur during the robbery.