The Josef Fritzl Story – The Austrian Monster
Josef Fritzl is an Austrian criminal who kept his daughter, Elisabeth, in captivity for 24 years in the most horrendous conditions, during which time he physically assaulted and raped her, impregnating her seven times. She gave birth to all seven children, 3 of which joined her in captivity, while the other three Josef Fritzl and his wife (Elisabeth’s mother), Rosemarie, raised. The seventh child died three days after birth due to respiratory issues and denial of medical attention and Fritzl incinerated the new-born’s body in a stove in the cellar. He would make his daughter, Elisabeth, watch pornographic videos and reenact certain scenes in front of the children. And he did all of this for close to a quarter of a century without his wife ever finding out.
In August 1983 when Elisabeth was 18 years old, Josef asked her to help him carry a door down to the basement. She held the door while he fitted it into the frame, then he took a ether-soaked cloth, smothered her face until she was unconscious, and threw her in the chamber she helped complete.
After Elisabeth woke up, that’s when her new life in captivity began. Her mother reported her missing, but Josef Fritzl forced Elisabeth to write letters claiming she had left home and any attempt to find her would result in her fleeing the country, which he delivered to the police.
On April 19, 2008, Elisabeth’s eldest daughter, Kerstin, who was 18, fell unconscious and Josef agreed to seek medical attention for her. Later, Josef turned up at the hospital with a letter, supposedly from Elisabeth, but after Dr. Albert Reiter discussed the letter and Kerstin’s medical history, something didn’t add up, and hospital staff discreetly alerted the police to a potential situation.
After begging her father to allow her to visit the hospital, Elisabeth was released on April 26th, 2008 to see Kerstin, but police swarmed in at the hospital and took them all into custody for questioning. After making police promise her she would never have to see her father again, Elisabeth opened up about her life over the past 24 years in captivity. After a 4 day trail, Fritzl pleaded guilty to rape, incest, enslavement, false imprisonment, and coercion, and was convicted to life in prison at the age of 73.
As of 2016, he is currently in a psychiatric section of Garsten Abbey prison for the criminally insane.
One of the first things that may jump out about this case is how did Josef’s wife go 24 years without knowing the events that were taking place in the home. Well, Josef had access to a secret area in the basement which he concealed by walls. According to his statement in 2008, he started converting his basement into a prison cell layout in 1982, and installed a washbasin, toilet, bed, refrigerator, and hotplate. More on the house layout from BBC News.
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