One of the characters in Einar Kárason’s Devil’s Island is believed to be based on the Icelandic woman who continued to receive pension benefits from the Icelandic state ten years after her death in the US.
From Devil’s Island, the movie.
Her name was Steinthóra Eyjólfsína Steinthórsdóttir and she was the daughter of a well-known seeress named Jósefína from the farm Nauthóll, which stood below the Öskjuhlíd hillside in Reykjavík, ruv.is reports.
Kárason is said to have been inspired by these women and other members of their family when writing his trilogy, Djöflaeyjan (Devil’s Island), Gulleyjan and Fyrirheitna landid.
Fridrik Thór Fridriksson’s 1996 film Devil’s Island is based on Kárason’s book where Steinthórsdóttir’s appears as Gógó, played by Saga Jónsdóttir, the mother of the main character Baddi, played by Baltasar Kormákur.
Steinthórsdóttir was born in Iceland in the 1920s but moved to the US in the 1950s. She later lived in Denmark for some time before relocating to Minnesota.
After her death, Steinthórsdóttir was kept alive in the system of the Icelandic Social Insurance Administration and the Commissioner of the Inland Revenue which rely on information from the National Registry, which never received her death certificate.
Haukur Ingibergsson, the National Registry’s director, said it is becoming increasingly difficult to monitor the statuses of Icelanders as more and more grow older and move between countries.
However, this case is unique and Ingibergsson said the National Registry must learn from it.
He said foreigners who live in Iceland sometimes come to the National Registry to get some sort of a life certificate to certify that they live and work in Iceland. Perhaps a similar system should be established here, he suggested.
In any case, the National Registry will now work on improving the system, Ingibergsson said.
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