A Bit of History

A Beacon in Historical Darkness: The Medal Worn on the Grave

Tucked away in the church cemetery of a southern Swedish village is the gravestone of a civil servant who died in 1902. It would go unnoticed as the average grave of an ordinary man were it not for one remarkable feature: the shining silver medal embedded and encased in glass within the gravestone. All but forgotten and facing the scrap heap, the gravestone symbolizes the overlooked beauty and value of everyday history.
The Local Sweden

History dies deep in the woods: The forgotten Nazi concentration camp survivors in the forests of Småland

History has a way of being forgotten, whether by accident or design, especially when it’s painful. Histories with straightforward and happy endings make us feel good about ourselves and more hopeful about the outcome of our own uncertain times. Those that lack resolution or defy the need for an optimistic conclusion frequently exist in varying degrees of figurative darkness – ignored, neglected, forsaken. Sometimes, the darkness is also literal – a place so tucked away from view that the eyes of the collective consciousness barely need to look away to forget. Just such a place exists in Öreryd, Sweden, where a World War II refugee camp once stood. There, deep in the forests of Småland, the painful yet vitally-important history of 1,000 survivors of Nazi concentration camps has been left to die in the woods.
The Local Sweden

Why being an immigrant parent in Sweden is not for the faint of heart

As an immigrant parent, I am also something of an alchemist. I have transmuted two of the most simultaneously difficult and wonderful things I've ever done – parenting and living abroad – into one big, simultaneously difficult and wonderful thing. In the great alchemic tradition, my discovery is remarkable, but not entirely what I expected. Sometimes it seems like it might be pure gold. Other times, it is as unpredictable as primitive gunpowder.
Royalty Digest Quarterly

When Golden Bees Swarmed America - The Era of Bonapartes in the United States

Years before Waterloo and St. Helena, Napoleon Bonaparte pointed to New Jersey on a map of the United States and told his brother Joseph: "If I am ever forced to flee to America, I shall settle somewhere between Philadelphia and New York, where I can receive the earliest intelligence from France by ships arriving at either port." He couldn't have known when he said it that one day America would be literally swarming with Bonapartes, or that just such a place in New Jersey as he had described would be the hive to which they gravitated.
History Writers Resist Trump

Lessons from the Nineteenth Century: Immigration, Xenophobia and an Inept President

Before Lady Liberty officially became “Mother of Exiles” in 1903 and subdued xenophobia with the help of her three dragons (sorry, wrong story, that was the Mother of Dragons), the tired and poor huddled masses arriving at America’s teeming shores were greeted less than enthusiastically by nineteenth century anti-immigration extremists. Creating a model that is now experiencing a renaissance, groups of mainly white, Protestant men calling themselves Nativists in honor of their “native” American heritage, and united in their belief that immigrants were taking their jobs, threatening democracy, and bent on imposing Papism, banded together to limit the rights of existing immigrants and slow the inflow of new immigrants.
A Bit of History

Gilded Age New York’s “King of Diamonds”

In an episode that predated the Watergate break-in by 100 years, thieves broke into the New York City Comptroller’s office on September 10, 1871, and stole records that threatened to end the corrupt reign of Boss Tweed over the Tammany Hall political machine. Fittingly, the thieves used a symbol of the Tweed Ring – a diamond – to cut a hole in the glass office door. This is the story of Boss Tweed and the diamonds of Tammany Hall.
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