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Austrian “Horror House” Discovered

Posted by shadmia on April 29, 2008

Josef Fritzl, 73, of Amstetten, Austria had 14 children, seven by his wife, Rosemarie, 69, and seven by his daughter, Elisabeth, 42. Josef is now behind bars in what the Austrian press describe as the case of the house of horrors.

It all began 24 years ago in 1984 when Josef, an electrical engineer, kidnapped, drugged and imprisoned his 18-year-old daughter in the basement of their home in Amstetten, an industrial town 75 miles west of Vienna. He then told his wife that their daughter had run away from home. He kept her locked in a 540-square-foot prison of underground rooms, which he had previously built, some barely large enough to stand upright in. He had planned the dungeon meticulously and it was well soundproofed. The door to the prison was concealed behind shelves and secured with an electronic lock to which only Fritzl had the code.

While in captivity, Elisabeth Fritzl gave birth to the seven children by her father, one of whom died shortly after birth, which Josef disposed of in a furnace. Each time Elisabeth became pregnant, Fritzl delivered the children himself. Of the six remaining children he took three of them – Lisa, now 16, Monika, 14, and Alexander, 11 – out of the cellar after birth and came up with an elaborate charade to explain their sudden appearance to his wife. The other three children – Kerstin, 19, Stefan, 18, and Felix, 5 – were left to be raised by Elisabeth in his home-made dungeon.

Josef’s 18-year imprisonment of his daughter came to an end when Kerstin became seriously ill and had to be taken to hospital. Medical authorities at the hospital became suspicious and called the police. Josef was picked up, and later under questioning, revealed the existence of the basement prison. Police freed Elisabeth Fritzl and the two other children, all of whom were quickly put in the care of medical and mental health experts. Elisabeth, although “greatly disturbed“, agreed to give them a full statement – on condition that they made sure she would never have to see her father again. She claimed that she had been sexually abused by him since age 11. Fritzl appeared briefly in court and was sent to jail to await trial. He faces a15-year sentence if convicted of rape.

Senior police officer, Dr Franz Prucher, says the criminal case has shaken the force.

“We’re being confronted with an unfathomable crime,” Austria’s interior minister, Günther Platter, said as the details began to unfold. “This case is one of incomprehensible brutality and horror, the most shattering and serious case of its kind that has ever come to light in Austria.”

Questions were being asked by everyone from commentators and parents to psychologists and politicians, as to how what the Austrian press has dubbed the “house of horrors” case had come to happen in the small town of Amstetten.

“There are pressing questions raised by this monstrous crime which need to be put to a rich, self-satisfied society in which during a quarter of a century what was happening in the immediate vicinity went apparently unnoticed,” Petra Stuiber wrote in a commentary in the Austrian liberal daily Der Standard.

“How is it possible that no one ever heard or saw anything, how can it be that no one ever asked questions?” she wrote. “What does it say about neighbors, relations, acquaintances and not least about authorities who had anything to do with the family, that the perpetrator succeeded in ‘deceiving’ everybody?”

Local social services told the Austrian Press Agency that there appeared to be nothing suspicious about the family and that Mr Fritzl managed to explain “very plausibly” how three of his infant grandchildren had turned up on his doorstep. Even his wife, Rosemarie Fritzl, “had no idea” what was going on, according to the police, and was devastated to hear of her husband’s alleged crimes. She apparently accepted her husband’s explanation that Elisabeth had run off to join a religious cult at the age of 18 – and that over the intervening years dumped three babies on their doorstep with notes saying she could not cope.

Amstetten’s local governor, Hans-Heinz Lenze, told Austria’s public broadcaster ORF that the children had had regular visits from social workers, who never heard any complaints or noticed anything to arouse their suspicions. He said they were well-behaved at school and fitted in well with their classmates. The three were apparently unaware of their mother’s existence, let alone that their siblings Kerstin, Stefan and Felix were living below them. Mr Lenze also told ORF that Mr Fritzl had telephoned him last week and thanked him and the social services for looking after his family during his granddaughter Kerstin’s illness.

Josef Fritzl, who does have a criminal record, is believed to have spent time in prison in the 1960s for the assault and also has at least one other conviction, for arson, according to Austrian police. Prosecutors are understood to be trawling through court records to find details of his previous offences to see if they shed light on what they have described as his “unfathomable” actions to his own family. The revelation he already has a criminal record will increase the anger that his behavior could have gone undetected by social services for almost a quarter of a century. It also indicates his wife Rosemarie must have been aware – at least to some degree – of her husband’s sinister side.

Investigators are also desperate to determine how his victims could have been hidden away for so long from their neighbors and everyone else in the town, which has a population of just 23,000. They are said to be examining the padded walls of the cellar to work out whether the children’s screams could be heard by neighbors.

Meanwhile, residents refuse to believe Fritzl could have acted alone, while others cannot believe that the “normal” family were hiding such a horrendous secret.

Anita Fabian, a teacher in the town, said: “How is it possible that no one knew anything for years? This was not possible without accomplices.”

Guenter Pramreiter, who owns a bakery down the street from the Fritzls’ home said the couple were regular customers.

“They appeared normal, just like any other family,” he said. “I’m totally shocked. This was next door. It’s terrible.”

See More Video News Coverage Here.

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40 Responses to “Austrian “Horror House” Discovered”

  1. Joe said

    During WWII, Amstetten had a horrific female concentration camp nearby. Many of the locals worked as guards. Fritzl was 10 years old when it was still running. Of course, the locals said nothing. No one stood up and said this is wrong. Many of the children of the camp guards still live in the town.

  2. Miriam said

    Regardless of what he may have seen at 10yrs of age as normalacy; he can still make his own decision as an adult. And he did, he chose to become this disgusting demented person. He deserves more then 15 yrs. He so old he might even die tomorrow without having paid for the harm he’s caused. What a sick man.

  3. Jasmine said

    This story haunts me and is the worst I have ever heard. I know he will pay for what he has done to his child and his children.
    If only I could be there to see it.

  4. Andrea G said

    I am so deeply disturbed by this story, I can barely sleep as it causes me such incredible pain. My younger sister was the victim of rape and incest by my father and she has never fully recovered as an adult. Moreover, I had my suspicions that something really bad was going on in our household, but never did anything, nor did my mother. As a child, I just couldn’t wait to turn 18 and get out of the house. The Elizabeth’s children who were allowed to live normal lives, will suffer from incredible “survivers guilt,” while the imprisoned children, will be haunted in perpetuity by this experience. Little Felix, has the best chance of all at assimilating some semblance of normality.

  5. Pranvera said

    It is horrible, I can’t stop thinking of how could she survived for 24 years living in that space, not to mention the rape and the birth and the rest of the things. And I get paniced every time.
    How could God allow this to happen to a human beign?

    The best punishment for this monster is to lock him for the rest of his life in a jale , with 1/4 of space that Elizabeth and her 3 children had. Not that this would give back to elizabeth and the children anything, but at least he would be aware(hopefully) of the crime(partially) he made.

  6. Sam Saifan said

    How the babies were delivered? Was he of any midwifing experieince? What about vaccinations and birth complications? What exactly happened to Kerstin? was she a victim of another brutal sexual abuse? Is there any chance that this happned for some crazy religious belief and was blessed by the wife? It’s hard to believe that it was a one man show….
    I believe further investigations will reveal a very shocking and disturbing secrets.

  7. Sandra C. said

    I am so horrified by this case, and cannot stop thinking about the poor children who were raised in the cellar. How can they acclimate now, and what kind of lives will they lead as a result of this horrific abuse! We should all keep them in our prayers.

  8. Yohan said

    Can some one kill this guy already? This guy doesn’t deserve to live. 15 years to life is a joke of a sentence. This guy should be placed in front of a firing squad.

  9. mia said

    I was a victim of sexual abuse by my father. I spent many years in therapy. Recovering from it was very difficult. What I have suffered is nothing by comparison to what Elizabeth suffered. I cry when I think about her. The poor woman. She has suffered so much. I pray for her healing. What she has gone through is unimaginable. I don’t think she will recover completely. This case really brings up so much stuff for me.

  10. Alia said

    What’s with Austria and dugeon torture? This is the second case in 2 years.

  11. Neiceybabe said

    I, along with Andrea G, have lost at least two nights sleep over this ordeal. I am deeply affected and have a hard time digesting this horrific truth. (I will discuss with my therapist), no pun intended. Elisabeth knows the other real world, but will suffer undoubtedly. Kerstin, God willing, I pray will recover. But these children only understood confinement, so to them it was home. Their mother made a world of princes and princesses for the children, due to a lack of resources that monster neglegted to supply, for the developoment of their mind. At least the sicko could have made the cellar 7′ so the children could develop physically correct. But the bastard managed to control every aspect of their world, destroying within an already destroyed world any chance of normal development, both mentally and physically. Yes, Felix can and will learn. I fear there may be a long, long road ahead for the other two.
    No sleep in Philadelphia. Sad-Sad-Sad

  12. Mari said

    It’s a very sad story and a unvalivable situation…god bless that family that has been put through the worst…all i can say is he shall burn in the lake of fire(hell) and he will because god will punish this discusting man!!

  13. charandr said

    This is the most disturbing story I have ever come across in my 50 yrs. It is far worse than the news story of Andrea Yates drowning her 5 children in the bathtub, and it cuts deep within my soul. I simply cannot imagine how life was for the remaining children in this oxygen deprived cellar, at the hands of this demented human being. More and more, we are being confronted with EVIL in this sin sick world. What were the conversations between the children and their captor thru the years ? Dad, why ? How did he try and rationalize his behaviour to them? Did he engage them in his sick sexual fantasies also ?
    Lets pray for this family. God is big, and he is able, to do far more than we can ask or imagine. You know God, I dont understand your ways, and why You never alerted anyone to these suffering angels throughout the years. Perhaps no one was listening to You. I pray you would protect this family, and touch little Kerstins body, so she would live and not die.Thankyou Jesus.

  14. Angela said

    For me, This is also the worst story I have ever seen. I cant quit thinking about it. Did he rape her in front of the kids. Guess so, where could they have went during it? Nowhere. So awful. He probally did the same abuse to the kids. Ill pray for the family and hopefully they will recover enough to live out the rest of their lives happily. I’m sure they are being occupied just by all the things they have missed out on, but sadly, all the great things we have probally scare them to a certain degree also…so sad…

  15. Jon said

    He should be given some lashing of the whip! A few strokes and some salt to the flesh.
    He is not human and doesn’t deserve to be treated like one.

  16. ashley said

    that shit is fucking crazy man i cant believe a father would do that to his own daughter i guess thats how crazy people are these days what a shame i feel bad through all the fucking pain that she peobably went through to have those kids by herself and the poor children wow. and what kind of silly ass sentence is that haha wow. he shuld be shanked and killed stupid motherfcker

  17. Natalie said

    I hope the bastard spends the rest of his life (15 years is not enough!!!….joke!!!) and that he gets brutally gang raped to the point of where doctors cant help “repair” him.

  18. Christine said

    This poor woman has experienced the most horrible life I could ever fathom. As if that weren’t enough she has 6 reminders that will forever be a part of her life. My heart truly goes out to Elisabeth and her family, how do you recover from something like this? I have wondered too if he acted out in front of the children and it makes me sick to even think about it. May he face God on his judgement day and stare at him with the same eyes that saw his own daughter suffer for 24 years.

  19. Angel, Idaho said

    Utterly Unforgivable How could this man live with himself? I see awe-full things where I work, but this left my office in complete turmoil. I cannot even fathom how horrific it must have been. My heart & prayers go to Elisabeth & her surviving children. I truly hope that they can make a life out of the ruined years betrothed on them.

  20. marie said

    I would not be surprised if josef’s wife was involved. I would say within the next couple of weeks it will come out that she was an accomplice. Sad

  21. Faisal said

    This is unbelieveable, monstrous..15 years is too little for him, he has no right to live after such a crime…god knows how many more such crimes r happening in dis world gone crazy….

  22. lisa said

    I am haunted by this story. I have lost sleep from thinking about it, the details, these people were robbbed of so much, it had to have been maddening. The video of that heartless bastard laughing and eating and enjoying the beach. Did he ever think about them and how they were passing the time. God bless the victims. They deserve to live lives that want for nothing. They deserve the best that life has to offer them and it still wouldn’t be enough.

  23. Jay said

    it’s a shame that this f*cker is already near the end of his life, because he would never receive the punishment that he truly deserved – eternal torture

  24. meesh said

    i’m also totally sickened, disgusted, and have been extremely dysphoric ever since i heard of this story. i wish i had never heard of it because i, too, have spent many sleepless hours thinking about the poor woman and her children. i start to imagine what ever could have happened down there…what could this monster have done to his own daughter as his sex slave…or to his own children/grandchildren…then i just become completely disgusted and wish not to think about it anymore. i’m absolutely horrified, especially when i put myself in her shoes and think about my own four little children. i just can’t imagine. God, please bless elisabeth and her children. it’s the most unfathomable crime i’ve ever heard. i just hope that b*stard suffers for the rest of his life. he took away his daugther’s youth, her whole life. she is such a strong woman to even have the willingness to continue to live despite all the torture he put her through for 24 years (gosh…still unimaginable). my heart continues to ache for elisabeth and her children. *i don’t feel better about this, but thanks for letting me vent..*

  25. jessie said

    If the bastard would have died before the ‘house of horrors’ being discovered, then what would have happened to Elizabeth and her chidren? the bastard would have died along with his monstreous secret!!!

  26. jessie said

    Has he done it for celebrity?? He has got the title of being the most cruel person existed by now. Killing someone is wrong, but making someone suffer for 24 years is the worst thing existed. As for the children, their home has been the only world they have ever can he say that he loves them by giving them all what they need? Is a washing machine and some food and clothes the only requirements of human being? The whole world must be aware of the dirtiest things that certain people can do. If a father can’t be trusted, how can we trust others!! How can we say ‘GODFATHER’!!! We Mauritians, we will always have a special thought for Elizabeth and her children!

  27. sienna said

    This man manifested more evil than any one can imagine, I hope his conscience now will haunt him for the rest of his life. He knew what he was doing and continued, unimaginable!

  28. Sarah said

    I have read for hours about this. I cannot help but wonder what happened to the girl, Kerstin. If Josef Fritzl raped his daughter, what would stop him from doing the same to his granddaughter who was really his daughter as well. How could anyone do such evil acts? He himself admits that he knew what he was doing was wrong. He even admits that he forcefully raped his daughter. No one can say he was insane and did not know what he was doing. It was all clearly premeditated. I hope that he spends the rest of his life in jail. Then maybe he will have an idea of what he did to his daughter and children/grandchildren. Hopefully then he will understand the consquences and horror of his actions. Although he will do anything to stay out of prison because he will be treated the way he treated Elisabeth. Prisoners do not like child molesters. I wish there was something I could do for the children. They need all the love and compassion possible.

  29. Angie J said

    I just can’t believe that this monster could have done all this atrocity alone, and that the wife, the mother of Kerstin didnt know anything, that is unbelievable. I would not be surprised that the wife knew what was going on in her own house and just kept silent. As far as this guy deserve to be in prison for ever (15 years in jail is not enough), I think that his wife should also be investigated very deeply, because its not only a criminal who makes the crime but also who knows about it and do nothing about it. What a horror!

  30. samantha davey said

    He should be kept in worse condition than elizabeth-an even more confined space and gang raped, with no traetment. He should suffer as she did. He has stripped her of everything and she will never recover. It makes my blood boil that humans do this to one another…

    although he can hardly be called ‘human’…

    15 year sentence makes a mockery of elizabeth. Its a joke. Disgusting, there is no justice here

  31. Erika said

    I do not think, that the mother knew anything about the lives wich were underneath her house.
    She was to scared to ask anything of that lunatic man.
    I do believe he did it alone, but always had god excuses/answers on the upcoming questions.

  32. fariba Heidari Beigvand said

    This story of Fritzl family is really disgusting. It has haunted me for days since I heard the account. The only thing is I doubt the complete ignorance of the family and Elizabeth’s siblings . I doubt the siblings never worried or guessed what might have happened to their sister. I am really and particularly suspicious of the mother . It can’t be possible. It seems all the family were really frightened of this man as to shun the basement for 24 years. very very strange story.
    Of course, There are many fathers and men like Joseph Fritzl, who are as well desirous and keen on controlling others especially the ones they suppose their faith is entitled to them, however they donot choose this way and manner of exploitation. In addition to the account of incest which is really ugly and pernicious, to keep sb for 24 years away from the rights like fresh air, light and space which everybody enjoys is unforgivable.

  33. susan said

    hoping you will join my facebook for elisabeth look in groups under girl who was abused by her dad.

  34. JJ said

    The mother knew! There is no way that she did not question the validity of the children that just “happened” on the doorstep. Most mothers take THEIR kids TO get regualr check ups. Were there not anomalies that the doctors spotted that would have raised alarm bells in her? How is it that a mother did not question where this supposed cult resides? Why did not the mother and father go to the proper authorities to report this? What was the name of the cult/ Hwere was it located.

    Dude, I am not mother, but my god, does a loaf of bread have more intelligence than her? IT’S YOUR DAUGHTER FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!


  35. Silvia said

    this woman had to know something, she had to investigated by herself when her husband was not at home. Why she never went down? Why she never went to the poloice and asked for help to find her daughter? How did she accpet that her daughter went way and let one letter only? What about documents, clothes? Why Elizabeth didnt kill her father? Why she didnt attacked him? Why she didnt ask help to her kids and just turned him down? Why she never screamed? I would prefer do die than to let my father to do it with me. I m crying for Elizabeth and her pain. I m criyng for all her suffer. It is a big alert to us, when we listen, or see something strang, we have to call to the police. We canot be scared of our husband and we need to investigate everything that lookes to be strange. Please kill this monster on a very slow way….
    Dear Elizabeth, i admire your corage, God bless you… i pray for you.

  36. SheHas said

    How can a mother accept bullshit from anybody?
    She had to look for her daughter at all costs.

    Who gives shit about Elizabeth’s fake letters?

  37. Ibrahim said

    The best and proper justice for Josef Fritzl is to apply Saudi Arabian justice:
    Public beheading, to be televised all over Europe.

    Allow the head to be scavenged by animals at the local zoo.

    I also would allow the public to donate money to sustain Elisabeth and her family for the rest of their lives.

  38. Abes said

    To everybody that says all this religious bullshit, consider that your precious God allowed this to happen in the first place. Yea, wrap your heads around that one.

  39. […] Elisabeth Fritzl was incarcerated in a basement cellar for 24 years by her own father. She was repeatedly raped by him and bore him 7 children, one of which died shortly after birth and was incinerated in a furnace to get rid of the body. Elisabeth and her children were freed from their prison after a police investigation, prompted by the hospitalization of her eldest daughter Kirsten, 19, discovered their dungeon. Read the entire story here. […]

  40. […] Comments The Wounds of Elisab… on Austrian “Horror House…mc on RIP Levi King Floresiidk on RIP Levi King Florescookinsweet on Teen Victim of Rape […]

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