In 1973, a bank robbery captivated Sweden and led to the conception of “Stockholm Syndrome.” In “The Ideal Hostage,” Kristin Enmark, the woman first diagnosed with “Stockholm Syndrome,” goes back to that bank to cast off the stigma of a syndrome that never made sense to her.
Executive Producer: Terence Mickey
Producer: Bart Warshaw
Research and Editing Assistance: Kerrianne Thomas, Samira Tazari, Carson Frame
Memory Motel Logo Design, Theme Song and Music Supervision: Bart Warshaw
When Maddy Savage said she’d introduce me to Kristin Enmark, I delved deep into the bank robbery in which Kristin was a hostage. The most helpful resource was an article by Daniel Lang. A year after the incident, he wrote “The Bank Drama” for the New Yorker, and it’s a beautifully written piece that enters multiple points of view to try and make sense of what baffled a country. Lang’s account takes you as close to the experience as anyone could get at that point.
But when I spoke with Kristin, and I heard her account of the events and her motivations for what she did, I could see how easily her experience could be misinterpreted. As she says, she wanted to survive, while the police and Prime Minister wanted to uphold social stability, a sense of right and wrong. He was working within the confines of the known, while Kristen was working with the unknown, and she had no tolerance for how things “should” be.
“The Ideal Hostage” underscores for me the importance of stories told from as many points of view as possible, to understand what really happened in any given situation. It’s hard and time consuming, but, in my mind, necessary. As well as multiple points of view, the passing of time is important in storytelling. A few years distance can change your perspective and story, and in this way all of our stories, like memories, are constantly changing.