In 2008, the Fritzl case was brought to the forefront by Elisabeth Fritzl who told Austrian police officers that her father Josef Fritzl had held her captive for 24 years. Josef used to abuse, assault and even rape her while she was being held hostage in a basement area of their family home.
This meant Elisabeth was forced to give birth seven children. Three of them remained with their mother while the other three were taken into Fritzl’s care. Fritzl and Rosemarie raised three of them and one of them died very soon after being born.
Josef was taken into custody by police officers on suspicion of false imprisonment and rape. In March 2009, he was found guilty of all charges and sentenced to life by the court.
Elisabeth Fritzl, the Girl in the Basement
Elisabeth Fritzl was a child of Josef Fritzl and Rosemarie in Austria. She was the youngest of 6 siblings, with 3 brothers and 3 sister.
In 1977, she was 11 years old and her father used to abuse. Elisabeth began preparations to become a waitress after she had completed her schooling.
In 1983, she ran from her home and fled with her friend to Vienna. Within 20 days, police found her and returned her to her parents. She returned to her waitress training and obtained a job in the city.
How Elisabeth Fritzl Land in the Basement
Josef Fritzl called Elisabeth in 1984 to help him fix a basement door at their Austrian home. Unaware of Fritzl’s intentions, Elisabeth went down the stairs to assist her father. As she was about leaving the place, she was stopped by a small piece of cloth soaked in ether that was placed over her nose and mouth.
Elisabeth didn’t know that her father was planning to make her a sex slave. Josef Fritzl had been planning to build an underground prison cell over many years. Official permission was also received from the municipal authorities in the late 1970s.
Josef was able to get permission for the building of nuclear bunkers in his basement in those days of cold war so it was quite normal.
Josef received a 2000-pound grant from the local council to help with the construction costs. Before he could reach the cellar, where he intended to keep Elisabeth prisoner, a series of doors had to be opened.
24 Years of Life in the Basement
Elisabeth was forced to endure hell for the next 24 year as the terror unleashed on her was unending. Sometimes she was forced to catch rats using her naked hands. She recalled that summer was her worst season due to the unbearable sweat.
The rest of the world was living while Elisabeth was stuck and motionless. Her father initially tied her up with an iron cable so that she couldn’t move more than a half meter to either side of her bed. The chain was then attached around her waist, giving her more mobility.
After a few months, he removed the chain because it was causing problems during sexual activity. Josef sexually abused her and raped her several times per day for many years before she was freed in April 2008. In those 25 years, he raped her at most 3000 times. This resulted in seven children. Elisabeth’s kids had to witness her abuse growing older.
Three of her children were in the basement with her, and three of her other children showed up mysteriously at the door of Josef Fritzl’s wife Rosemarie.
Know where is Elisabeth Fritzl now?
After being held captive for 24 years, Elisabeth saw the sun for the first time. She visited the hospital to see if one of her children required urgent care. Her father immediately took her back to the basement, prompting suspicion among one of the hospital staff members who alerted the police.
Police officers saved her and transferred her to the state care centre. Elisabeth received therapy in a village near her in Northern Austria. According to psychologists who examined her, she should receive lifelong therapy for the years of trauma she had suffered. Elisabeth was given a new name.
Elisabeth now lives in bright surroundings with her children so there’s little chance she will be reminded of the past.
Her children range in age from 17 to 35. Some of her children struggled to recover due to their anxiety and prone panic attacks. To get back to their normal lives, they were required to follow a strict diet, exercise regularly, and take mood-altering medications.
Rosemarie, Elisabeth’s mother, was initially a difficult relationship. However, it was smoother over time and they became close as a result of ‘The Independent’ news publication.
Where is Josef Fritzl?
Josef Fritzl, her father, is currently in Garsten Abbey prison. He is suffering from dementia. Josef Fritzl changed his last name to Josef Mayrhoff because he didn’t want to share his identity.