Clark Olofsson: the criminal who inspired the ‘Stockholm syndrome’


Can a charismatic and charming young man make him forget that he is a criminal? Would he dare to defend him before the authorities? Well, this happened in the Swedish capital in 1973, when the hostages of a multi-day bank robbery asked the authorities not to harm the architects of the robbery.

This May 5, a six-episode series about Sweden’s most famous criminal: Clark Olafsson premiered on Netflix.. His criminal record included assault, drug dealing, assault and even attempted murder. But his overwhelming personality elevated him to celebrity status in the Nordic countries.

Delinquency since his adolescence

The series, based on Olofsson’s published autobiography, follows the criminal’s story as he runs away from home as a young teenager in the 1960s to join a sailor’s academy.

(It may interest you: The hermit who has been living in a forest isolated from the world for 40 years).

As he learned to function in various parts of the world, he also became involved in criminal acts. So even as a minor, He was arrested and taken to a correctional facility for minors from which he also escaped along with colleagues from the institution. With these young people he decided to steal from the then Swedish prime minister, Tage Erlander

(Do you visit us from the EL TIEMPO app? You can find the video here).

Olofsson was becoming increasingly sophisticated in his criminal repertoire and on February 4, 1966, he assaulted police officers. This led him to receive his third sentence and the first he would have to pay in an adult prison. At the end of the year, the Swede managed to escape from this confinement in Tidaholm prison.

(Keep reading: The best cities in the world, according to ‘The Telegraph Travel’).

The Netflix series, starring Bill Skarsgard, focuses on showing how charming Olofsson was, despite being a wanted criminal in various northern European countries such as Denmark and Belgium. According to the trailers of the series, this one is based on the ‘truths and lies’ of the real life of this criminal.

The Kreditbanken bank robbery and the captivated hostages

The climax of the story that the streaming platform adapted comes when, on August 23, 1973, Jan-Erik Olsson decides to rob the Kreditbanken in Norrmalmstorg and take the people who were in the bank hostage.

While in negotiations with the police, Jan-Erik Olsson made a strange request: that they allow the hunted criminal, Clark Olofsson, to accompany him to the bank. For six days the criminals stayed with the hostages before releasing them.

But the surprise of the authorities was that the bank’s clients asked that they not harm the captors and did not want to collaborate in the judicial process either against Olsson and Olofsson. In the midst of the investigations, the psychiatrist Nils Bejerot coined the term ‘Stockholm syndrome’, after several interviews with Clark Olofsson.

The various crimes Olofsson committed are explored in all six episodes.

This psychological phenomenon explains why people who have been kidnapped or detained begin to feel empathy for their captor, or captors. They even show greater disposition and liking for criminals than for the authorities.

(Before he left: World War II: this was the last message from the German army).

A scene in the new Netflix series ‘Clark’ shows the captivating Olofsson claiming that it should never have been called ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, but named after the person who aroused these feelings: ‘Olofsson Syndrome’.

The charming man’s time came and he remained in different European prisons until 2018, once his sentences were completed. Today he goes by the name of Daniel Demuynck, an alias he used during his years as a criminal to evade justice.

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