Jonathan Harker
  Published on May 17, 2021   
Now blogging on

Josef Fritzl Locked His Daughter Away For 24 Years, Raped Her Repeatedly, And Forced Her To Raise Secret Family In An Underground Dungeon

In 2008, Josef Fritzl was arrested and convicted of locking his own daughter inside a cellar for 24 years where he would constantly rape her and force her into giving birth to 7 children. Josef Fritzl's arrest made international headlines as one of the most depraved acts of human cruelty since the Nazi death camps. Fritzl is known as Das Inzest Monster, or The Incest Monster.

"Deathly White"

Kersten Fritzl was near death when she was rushed inside the Amstetten Emergency Services building on Saturday morning, April 19, 2008.

Amid a psychotic fit, the 19-year-old had pulled out her own hair, leaving several bald patches, became severely anemic, and bitten through her tongue, filling her lungs with blood and causing several of her organs to fail.

Her life now rested with Dr. Albert Reiter, who, despite his best efforts, was quickly losing his patient. Despite the diminishing odds, Dr. Reiter persisted, eventually hooking her up to the dialysis machine and eventually placing her in a medical-induced coma.

Kersten was “deathly white”, missing most of her teeth, and appeared much older than her actual age.

Tests for poisons showed negatively, and a priest was called in to deliver last rites to the near-death patient.

As her life hung in the balance, doctors and nurses desperately searched for a diagnosis.

A Hopeful Letter

Dr. Reiter was convinced that Kersten's mother could help by disclosing any pre-existing health conditions that maybe causing her body to fail. Dr. Reiter knew however that finding Elisabeth Fritzl, Kersten’s mother would be a near impossible task. Elisabeth was a part of a religious sect, so the belief, and refused any contact with the outside world.

Elisabeth Fritzl before being locked away in her father's dungeon.

Elisabeth left only a note with her daughter which was provided by Josef Fritzl.

“Wednesday, I gave her aspirin and cough medicine for the condition. Thursday, the cough worsened. Friday the coughing got even worse. She has been biting her lip as well as her tongue.

Kerstin is very scared of strangers. She has never been in a hospital before. I’ve asked my father for help, because he is the only person she knows.”

Still, Dr. Reiter had to reach her and the best way he thought to do this was to appear on national television. The doctor's persistence paid off when Elisabeth walked through the hospital doors a few days after his public outcry.

And then Elisabeth dropped a bombshell.

Secret Underground Family

When Elisabeth Fritzl finally showed up at the hospital to help her daughter, detectives questioned her about her whereabouts for the last 24 years.

In the beginning she refused to give honest answers, but eventually she started to breke down. Elizabeth agreed to tell detectives the true story in return for full protection her from her father.

She explained that her father, Josef Fritzl, first raped her when she was eleven and since 1984 she has been locked in an underground dungeon, forced to mother several of his children in secrecy.

It was a shocking and unbelievable story, but the police, and the entire world, would soon realize that Elisabeth Fritzl has been living a life of pure hell, exactly as she described it.

Josef Fritzl the Nazi

Josef Fritzl was born on April 9, 1935, to a domineering mother. Josef’s mother Marie was a devout Roman Catholic who married a poor laborer that she considered worthless. Even Josef, as a child, would consider his father a “loser”.

On March 13, 1938, Austria welcomed its honorary citizen, Adolf Hitler, to occupy the nation under the Nazi regime and like most Austrian citizens, Josef and his mother Maria welcomed the Nazi Party, young Josef even joining the Hitler Youth program.

Josef would also later admit that the infamous Mauer clinic, known for extinguishing “unworthy lives” was a place of awe and interest to him as a child.

Sexually Molested By Mother

It was when the bombs started destroying the surrounding city that Josef’s mother became physically, mentally, and sexually abusive to her son. One of Josef’s future sister-in-laws would later state that his mother was “beating him until he was black and blue almost every day.”

Josef also backed up this claim by stating after his arrest,

“She used to beat me. She hit me until I was lying in a pool of blood on the floor. It left me feeling totally humiliated and weak. I never had a kiss from her…she kept insulting me and told me I was a Satan, a criminal, a no-good.”

Although Josef would later claim that his mother never sexually molested him, most experts believe he suffered sexual trauma as a child, even if those memories have been hidden from his conscience.

“Later there would be much speculation that Maria Fritzl had sexually molested her young son over this turbulent period, as bombs were falling over Amstetten. Perhaps he had felt trapped and disempowered, as his controlling mother crossed the boundaries into incest.”

It may come as a surprise to many who see Josef’s mugshot photo that as a teenager he was considered extremely handsome. Even when Fritzl entered his adult life, he had many girlfriends and was extremely sexually active.

Although handsome, he was a loner and instead of spending time with friends, he would devour any books he could get his hands on. As it later became obvious, Fritzl boasted a high I.Q. and was an excellent student at Amstetten’s Secondary Sports School.

Josef received an electrical engineering certificate from Polytechnic and took a job in Linz at the highly reputable VOEST, a Hermann Goring company.

With his new job, Josef started a good living and spent his money on becoming “a dandy”. He was well-trimmed, wore nice suits, expensive shoes, and had a morning routine of visiting his favorite barber shop.

Deviant Behaviors

Josef on a sex trip to Thailand.

Now in his early 20s, Josef Fritzl became a routine exhibitionist (flasher). There are multiple police reports and accusations that Josef would ride his bicycle through the city, exposing his naked member to females.

Soon Fritzl stepped up his sexual conquest by attempting to rape the women that he stalked through the streets. Police soon arrested him for his first attempted rape.

Even though Josef knew he could never stay monogamous, he still desired a steady wife and a family of his own. He met his wife Rosemarie in 1956, who would continue to stay married to Josef until his arrest in 2008.

Rosemarie would eventually bare Josef seven children. Josef never remained faithful to his wife and recalls the three years he spent working in Ghana, “I had various short flings with women in Ghana,” he would later boast. “Nothing serious. I was worried about sexually transmitted diseases. I always chose nice girls, no prostitutes, for that reason.”

In 1967 police arrested Josef Fritzl for the rape of a 24-year-old newlywed nurse whose husband was working the night shift. Fritzl broke into the woman’s home through her bedroom window and wielding a knife he raped her.

“I felt the bedclothes being pulled back,” the woman would tell an Austrian newspaper in 2008, still too traumatized to give her real name. “At first I thought it was my husband coming, but then I felt this knife being pushed against my throat. He pushed it against my neck and said, ‘If you scream, I will kill you.’ Then he raped me. I will never forget those eyes.”

Fritzl spent 18 months in prison and was fired from his position at VOEST. Rosemarie claims she stayed with her husband for her children’s sake.

Forbidden Fruit

No-one could imagine the sick and depraved thoughts that Josef was having about his fourth child Elisabeth, or “Liesel” as he called her.

Soon after Elisabeth turned 11-years-old was the first time that her father raped her. After his arrest Josef would vehemently deny the fact that he indulged in paedophilic acts, claiming, “I am not a man that has sex with little children. I only had sex with [Elisabeth] later, much later.”

Josef, obviously lying so as not to be labeled a child rapist in prison, would force sex on his own daughter at the home, in his car, and even in the woods.

To cope with the sexual trauma that now plagued 11-year-old Elisabeth, she began drinking and partying whenever she could, to the dismay of her father. Afraid someone else would have their way with his daughter, Josef plans to lock her away forever in a dungeon, what he refers to as his “personal kingdom.”

Buried, But Alive

Josef drugged his daughter and tossed her into the subterranean cellar on Tuesday, August 28, 1984. Rosemarie was out of town and only Josef and she remained at the home.

According to police, Rosemarie never knew that her daughter was living under her feet for 24 years.

She would stay in the dungeon for the next 8,516 days, being constantly raped by her father and giving birth to 7 of his children.

What now?

Josef Fritzl will hopefully be serving the rest of his life in prison, however, this could change. Elisabeth Fritzl and her "secret" family are now living under government witness protection.

They could be anywhere, let's just hope they are high above ground.

Secrets in the Cellar: A True Story of the Austrian Incest Case that Shocked the World

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