August 23 - 1973 - The Norrmalmstorg Robbery
Jan-Erik Olsson did not go into the Kreditbanken on the Norrmalmstorg square in Stockholm planning to take hostages. Really, he just wanted to rob the bank. Unfortunately for him, the police tried to prevent his robbery, so he decided to take four bank employees hostage. His demands included weapons, money, and a getaway car so he could release the hostages, but most importantly he asked to have Clark Olofsson to join him at the bank. Olofsson was the most famous criminal in Sweden, with a string of bank robberies, prison escapes, and accessory to the murder of a policeman to his name. Olsson and Olofsson had met in prison, and the Swedish authorities delivered Olofsson to Olsson. Once they held four hostages in a bank vault, they then began treating their hostages with a measure of sympathy and kindness. The hostage crisis was national and international news, which meant Olsson was able to talk on the phone with Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. Because the hostages repeatedly begged authorities to not harm their captors, the hostage standoff lasted for six days. In the end, the police moved in after distributing tear gas. The hostages' relationship with their captors helped coin the term "Stockholm syndrome," although the actual story was much more complicated than a simple psychological principle.