A Woman Hitting a Neo-Nazi With Her Handbag

The photograph by Hans Runesson

A Woman Hitting a Neo-Nazi With Her Handbag (Swedish: Kvinnan med handväskan, lit. "The woman with the handbag") is a photograph taken in Växjö, Sweden on 13 April 1985 by Hans Runesson. It depicts a 38-year-old woman hitting a marching neo-Nazi with a handbag. The photograph was taken during a demonstration of the Nordic Reich Party supporters. It was published in the next day's Dagens Nyheter and a day later in some British newspapers and sparked a discussion in Sweden about "violence unleashed against innocent demonstrators."

Runesson's photograph was selected as the Swedish Picture of the Year (Årets bild) 1985 and later as the Picture of the Century by the magazine Vi and the Photographic Historical Society of Sweden.[1]

The photograph was produced using gelatin silver process and editioned by gallerist Pelle Unger.[2] Twelve copies, three AP and three PP has been produced in the size 58 by 80 centimetres (23 in × 31 in) and price ranges between €3000–6000.[3]

Danuta Danielsson, the woman in the photo, committed suicide, jumping to her death from a water tower, two years after the photo's release, due to the unwanted media attention she received as a result of the photo's popularity.[4] She was born in 1947 and moved to Sweden after marrying a Swedish man she'd met at a jazz festival. She was of Polish Jewish heritage and her mother had been imprisoned in Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II.[1][5] A local artist, Susanna Arwin, expressed desire to raise a life-sized statue of Danielsson but it was ultimately decided against for two reasons, the first being that council members in Växjö were concerned such a statue could be interpreted as promoting violence and the second being that Danielsson's surviving family reported that they would be unhappy with Danielsson memorialized in such a manner.[5][6][7][8][9] Seppo Seluska, the man in the photo, was a militant from the Nordic Reich Party.


  1. ^ a b "Berättelsen om det förra århundradets bästa foto" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. 15 February 2014. Archived from the original on 17 February 2015. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Pelle Unger Gallery Stockholm photo journalism". Pelle Unger Gallery Stockholm photo journalism. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  3. ^ ""hans runesson" – Search at Stockholms Auktionsverk". auktionsverket.se. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  4. ^ "A woman hitting a neo-Nazi with her handbag, 1985". Rare Historical Photos. 2015-10-10. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  5. ^ a b "Iconic 1985 protest photo goes viral in 2016 for obvious reasons". Women in the World. 2016-12-13. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
  6. ^ Swedish town nixes statue of woman hitting neo-Nazi, by Judah Ari Gross; in the Times of Israel; published March 1, 2015; retrieved December 9, 2016
  7. ^ ""Tanten med väskan " blir staty i brons" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. 1 April 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  8. ^ "Snart blir "Tanten med väskan" staty" (in Swedish). SVT Nyheter. 18 November 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  9. ^ "Tantstaty stoppas i Växjö" (in Swedish). Sveriges radio, Studio Ett. Retrieved 18 February 2015.

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