Elisabeth: He drugged me and tied me up in the basement

“He said he had imprisoned his daughter for 24 years and was himself the father of her seven children,” Reuters quoted Franz Polzer, head of Lower Austria’s criminal investigation department, as saying. The police then transferred Fritzla to the investigating judge at the provincial court in St. Poeltenu.

An incomprehensible crime

“We are here faced with an incomprehensible crime,” he said of the case, which shocked not only Austria, Interior Minister Guenther Platter on local television. “Everything that happened there is beyond human imagination.”

Authorities are now preparing to investigate the full circumstances of the case, which began before 1984. On August 28 of that year, Fritzl lured his then 18-year-old daughter into the basement of his home, where he left her tied up and handcuffed. However, the suffering started earlier, according to her testimony, her father had sexually abused her since she was 11 years old.

Elisabeth Fritzlová spent 24 years in windowless basements of around 50–60 square meters, giving birth to seven children, one of whom died shortly after childbirth.

Life behind reinforced concrete doors

The police conducted a search of the prison.

“It is not a single room, but several rooms: one for sleeping, one for cooking and there is also the plumbing,” said the head of the criminal police of Lower Austria quoting Franz Polzer . According to available information, the premises were equipped with a shower and a small electric stove, their free height did not exceed 170 centimeters.

The cellar was closed by a reinforced concrete door with electronic security, of which only Fritzl knew the code, moreover hidden behind a shelf full of cans, boxes and other objects.

Explanation? It does not exist

The case caused a heated debate in Austrian society. However, according to the head of the Austrian criminal bureau, Franz Lang, there is no explanation for him, except that the father invented such a perfect legend about the disappearance of his daughter that the authorities simply did not see it. . Shortly after Elisabeth disappeared, her parents received a handwritten letter urging them not to search for her.

Fritzl did the same after the birth of three of his daughter’s seven children. The newborns were gradually found on the doorstep of his home with a note stating that their mother could not provide them with sufficient care, and were adopted by Fritzl and his wife. The two oldest children – a 19-year-old girl and a year-old younger son and the youngest descendant, a five-year-old boy, shared her prison with her.

Lang admits that the actions of the authorities at the time of Elizabeth’s disappearance and the subsequent “discovery” of her three descendants will still need to be considered.

Hans-Heinz Lenze, the local governor, offers a possible answer as to why the 42-year-old was not imprisoned for almost a quarter of a century. “Who would have thought that the biological mother of the children was locked in the basement,” he told the Austrian APA.

Psychiatrists and Campusch

Elisabeth, all her children and Rosemarie, Fritzl’s wife, are now cared for by doctors and psychiatrists.

Natascha Kampuschová also showed interest in helping them. She also attempted life in captivity. Two years ago, after eight years in prison, she escaped from the house of her captor Wolfgang Priklopil.

The case came to light after Elisabeth’s eldest daughter, Kerstin, was hospitalized in serious condition at a local hospital, which shared the cramped space with her mother for 19 years.

When doctors attempted to contact her mother to help them determine the cause of the girl’s problems, Josef eventually released her, saying she had “gone” home. But she betrayed her executioner.

Fritzl is not unique

The case of a twenty-four-year-old Austrian prisoner is far from unique. Two years ago, the same Austria was indignant at the story of Natasha Kampusch, who had managed to escape after eight years of captivity from the house of her prisoner.

However, the list of children abducted, imprisoned and abused is long. Many of them felt pain caused by their own loved ones.

Another Austrian city, Linz, has also witnessed the torture of children. A mentally ill mother of three daughters didn’t leave them here for eight years. She entrusted Katharina, Victoria and Elizabeth after divorcing her husband, who worked in Linz as a judge.

Not just Austria

In the fall of 2006, Hungary was terrified by the case of a 27-year-old woman who had been kept in the house by her father, a prison guard, for thirteen years. He raped the girl in front of her gravely ill mother. It was only his death that freed her.

In Ohio, USA, two years ago, the abuse of children aged one to fourteen by their adoptive parents was heard in court. Nine children were locked in cages without blankets. The cages had an alarm if the children tried to escape. The parents justified the inhuman treatment out of fear for their safety.

Three years ago Britain was rocked by the death of Rachel Hudson, a 20-year-old mother of two, who was jailed and systematically abused by relatives, including her husband. Eight members of this “family from hell” have been charged with murder.

Psychologist: cases of imprisoned children will increase

Anything can happen behind the walls of satellite houses, says psychologist Jeroným Klimeš.

Austrian Josef Fritzl imprisoned his daughter in the cellar for almost a quarter of a century, along with the children he had with her. Are similar cases typical of our time? Or are we talking about it more?

I would say that is more of a problem today. I even think that there will be more and more similar cases. In the past, people lived more together, there were several house trustees and such. Such a thing wouldn’t have been so secret before. But pretty much anything can happen behind the walls of luxury homes in satellite towns, and no one even thinks about it. After all, in this case as in the case of Kampusch, the perpetrators had their hiding places technically perfectly secured.

So, are criminals resorting to such behaviors more often because they are less likely to detect them today?
This is only one reason. The second is that today’s diverse sexual and violent fantasies can grow almost unchecked. The general morality of society is no longer as strong a regulating factor as it once was.

What can lead parents to imprison their own children in an underground dungeon?
There is often a wrong action at the beginning. In an effort to keep it a secret, they gradually accumulate more errors, which can lead to a case as bizarre as the last one. Fritzl started abusing his daughter when she later gave birth to his child, he probably didn’t want to let her out for fear of finding out.

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