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Who Is Josef Fritzl?

Illustration for article titled Who emIs/em Josef Fritzl?

Austrian authorities are still trying to piece together the story of Josef Fritzl, the man who kept his daughter, Elisabeth, captive in the family cellar for 24 years and fathered 7 of her children. Why, for instance, did he raise three of the children above-ground while keeping the other three surviving children (one died in childbirth) in the basement? According to the Guardian, Fritzl said that the Lisa, Monika and Alexander "were sickly and cried too much in the cellar for my liking," which is why he didn't bring them out in daylight. The Guardian points out that Fritzl's logic is completely flawed, as "one would expect that Kerstin, Stefan and Felix [the children raised outside the basement] would also have cried a lot as babies."


Another issue raised by the Guardian (and our own commenters) is how Fritzl's wife, Rosemarie, did not know what was going on right under her nose. Franz Pölzer, head of the criminal investigation of Fritzl, says"It defies logical thinking that a woman who has had seven children with her husband would make it possible for him to have another relationship with his daughter and have another seven children."


For now, the focus is on psychologically rehabilitating Elisabeth and her six children. "It could take between five and eight years," to restore any sort of normalcy to their lives, according to Mas Friedrich, the psychiatrist who looked after Natasha Kampusch — the other woman famously kept in an Austrian cellar. Trying to determine the motivations of a complete psychotic like Fritzl, however, could take an eternity

Josef Fritzl: The Unanswered Questions [Guardian]
Austria: Natasha Kampusch Says Fritzl Children Should Stay In Cellar [Times of London]

Earlier: Austrian Man Locked His Daughter In The Basement For 24 Years

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@tscheese: also, it appears that they lived in a large-ish apartment complex, and none of the tenants were allowed into the basement. i know if my landlord told me that the basement was off limits, why would i try and go in there? chances are these people didn't have keys to it, and at any rate the door was hidden too. it's sad, but i can't say i would have done anything different.