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The traumatic case of "The Monster of Austria"
Josef Fritzl kept his daughter in captivity for 24 years.
Elisabeth Fritzl had come of age when her father abducted her from her own home. As a result of the constant violations, the young woman had seven children. His unfortunate story is shown in the cinema through a movie.
Elisabeth was locked in the basement of her house for 24 years. Josef raped her for more than two decades and tortured her, all this time.
In 2008 the hostage managed to escape and immediately asked for help. His father became known worldwide as "The Monster of Austria" after he told the story.
The man is currently in custody, although his future may change.
Elisabeth's story made headlines in newspapers around the world. In 2021, thirteen years after he managed to escape, his terrible story came to the big screen with the premiere of The Girl in the Basement.
When Elisabeth managed to get out on April 26, 2008, she found herself in a completely unknown society. The first things that impressed her were cell phones, modern cars and the internet. When she was kidnapped, none of that existed.
The last time they saw the young woman was in Amstetten (Austria), in 1984, when she was still 18 years old.
The person responsible for his disappearance and captivity was his father, Josef Fritzl. For six years he was in charge of building a basement in his own house, as part of the plan. Neither his wife, Rosemarie, nor their six children were allowed to go near it, as they had been forbidden to do so.
Fritzl was an exemplary family man, what they did not know was the secrets he hid and that took more than two decades to discover.
In 1967, a woman reported him for rape. The punishment was a year and a half in jail. When released, his wife welcomed him into the home and they started their life over again, putting what had happened behind them.
After this, they had their fourth daughter, Elisabeth. The following years they had two more children.
Since she was little, Elisabeth was always controlled by her dad. He was even forbidden to get close to people. The Fritzls were shown as an exemplary family. However, there were violent and abusive behaviors on a daily basis, within the home.
Even though Elizsabeth had many restrictions, she He did his best to stay away from home. The young woman kept a secret and that is that her father raped her since she was 11 years old.
In his adolescence he planned to run away from home, so that this punishment would end. Therefore, she got a job as a waitress to have an income and ran away with a friend to Vienna. A short time later, Josef located her and returned her home.
The last time Elisabeth walked through the door that divided life above from life below was a day when both were left alone in the house. In the afternoon, he asked his daughter for some help with a job he was doing in the basement, and he locked her up.
Josef said his daughter had run away to join a religious community. At first the story was not believable. As time passed, the family began to be convinced.
The man was the only one who knew the truth of what happened, while he was holding his daughter captive in a space of 18 square meters under his house.
The basement was built by himself, thanks to his knowledge as a real estate developer and engineer, managing to turn it into a perfect space for captivity.
In this small place, no light entered, no noise from the outside was heard, it had a small bathroom and a small kitchen. Elisabeth in this small space suffered violence, sexual abuse and also gave birth to seven children.
Kerstin was the first child, she was born in 1988. After her were born: Stefan, Lisa, Monika, Alexander, Michael, Felix and Michael, who passed away three days after birth. Some time later, it was discovered that Josef was in charge of cremating the baby.
The captivity became small when the children were born. For this reason, the man created a plan: Elisabeth, forced by her father, wrote a letter in which she explained that in the cult where she was, she could not support her children and that is why she sent them to her grandparents.
This helped the version that had given time before to be totally credible. In this way, three of the six children began their lives in the other part of the house, where they could have a normal upbringing.
One of the "basement kids" got sick and Josef agreed to take her to the hospital. Elisabeth was taken away by Josef days later. During this visit to the hospital, the woman (at that time 42 years old), talked with the doctors and told them about the situation. They contacted the police and Josef was arrested.
Currently, Elisabeth and her children have lived in Austria since 2008, after deciding to move to start a new life. The authorities try to make them re-victimized.
On March 19, 2009, "The Monster of Austria" was sentenced to life imprisonment. Despite being guilty, it is possible that he will enjoy his freedom again. Josef is 86 years old.
The Krems Regional Court, at the beginning of 2022, approved that he be transferred from the special unit for the criminally insane to a common prison.
The man could now apply for early release, in order to be released after serving 15 years of his sentence, this would be at the beginning of 2024.
This information generated a great social indignation, since when the request was accepted, he would spend less time locked up than his daughter did.
The movie and the real case
The press gave Josef the name “The Austrian Monster”.
In 2021, the movie The Girl in the Cellar was released. In this story you can see how Elisabeth lived all that time.
Despite being based on the real life story, there are some changes:
The story takes place in the United States.
Sara is the name of the protagonist and not Elisabeth. Sara was also kidnapped by her father at the age of 18 and taken to the basement of their house.
In the film, the protagonist gives birth to four children as a result of rape. In real life, Elisabeth was seven.
In real life and in the movie, the children were raised in the basement, by the mother. She was the one who taught them to write, read and tried to lead a normal life through a video player and a television.
The actual court file shows that Kerstin, the eldest daughter, was malnourished and was taken to hospital. So that they would not suspect, Josef took Elisabeth to see the girl. The police intervened, questioned her and she revealed everything that was happening.
In the film, despite her father's threats, Sara asked the medical staff for help when her daughter was admitted. The cruel story shows the pain he caused her and her children/grandchildren.
Every time something new comes up in this case, it generates shock in the population and in those who have followed the story. Many know and remember the moment this story became public. The young woman met the real demon in her house and had the face of her father.