Statue of Danuta Danielsson
by Susanna Arwin

In 1985, Danuta Danielsson, child of a concentration camp survivor, swung her handbag at a member of the Nordic Reich Party parading through Sweden. Hans Runesson captured the iconic moment in his photograph, “The Woman with the Handbag.”

Hans Runesson, 1985, “The Woman with the Handbag”

After the photograph’s publication, Ms. Danielsson, afraid of Neo-Nazi reprisals, sought anonymity, but two years later, she committed suicide.

The repercussions of violence and hatred never stop with one generation.

A statue of Ms.Danielsson was commissioned and prompted dialogue over the use of violence in protest. Susanna Arwin, the sculptor, called Ms. Danielsson “more like a symbol of anti-violence and a feeling of ‘enough is enough.’ 

I agree with the sculptor and applaud Ms. Danielsson. Not her violence, although I understand it. Daily, I feel her anger and fear, living in Texas. Home of Ted Cruz, unhinged crazies who tell me I’ll go to hell for being a ‘non-believer,’ and elected officials who supported overturning democracy by storming the Capitol.

(If you have old handbags, get them out. I’ll talk about what we can do with them next post.)

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