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.
A Bit of History

Countess Emilia Plater and the Perpetual Anomaly of the Woman Warrior

Joan of Arc, Countess Emilia Plater, Wonder Woman: Singular women placed on a pedestal, carefully arranged and served on a silver platter of inimitable exceptionalism, meant to be admired for their sacrifice, but not duplicated. These are the flawed foundations of the stories of “heroic” women that have helped insure that the concept of the women warrior remains an anomaly more akin to a fictional superhero than an accepted reality.
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.
The Local Sweden

The integration tool you probably aren't using in Sweden

For immigrants in Sweden, it can feel at times like the normal daily routine offers precious few opportunities for cultural and historical immersion. This is doubly true for those raising a family. Between acclimating to new ways of doing things, learning the language, working and/or studying, setting up and maintaining a home, caring for children and prioritizing their needs, trying to squeeze in time with a partner, and maybe actually having a social life, it's no surprise that our knowledge of Swedish culture and history often goes woefully uncultivated.
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

The Stockholm Holocaust memorial – A restoration of human dignity and a warning against inhumanity

...when looking at the columns of granite slabs listing the victims' names – grouped by the family name of the survivor or survivors who came to Sweden – along with their dates and places of birth and death, it is possible to comprehend how important a memorial like this is to the collective consciousness. It is a reminder that infants and the elderly were victims. That victims came from all over Europe. That the only reason why many names are on this monument is that someone from their family managed to survive to remember them. That many others are not on the monument because no one survived to remember them.
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.
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