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Josef Fritzl - I called him the Austrian Ogre

Josef Fritzl – I called him the Austrian Ogre

In 2008 the world learned with shock of an Austrian father, Josef Fritzl, who had held his own daughter Elisabeth captive as his sex slave for all of 24 years. Elisabeth had in that time given birth to 7 children father by him.

You can read my article here.

Meanwhile here is the first page of that article@

In the past only fly fishermen would have heard of the Lower Austria town of Amstetten and only a few elderly Austrians would have been able to say that they’ve heard the name Josel Fritzl before.

Amstetten is 40 miles (65 kms) from Linz and 81 miles (130kms) from Vienna and just fewer than 23,000 people live there. The town, which was first mentioned in 995, is on the Ybbs River, a contributory to the Danube. The Ybbs’s crystal clear water makes it a fly-fishing paradise. Few who have gone there to fish though would have known that the town had once been the seat of two sub-camps of the Nazis’ Mauthausen-Güsen group of concentration camps. It’s not something the locals wish anyone to recall or mention.

Resident Josef Fritzl, 73, a “respectable” and “respected” retired electrical engineer, no doubt felt the same way about the town’s concentration camp past. He certainly was secretive about his own life. On a month-long vacation in Pattaya, Thailand, with a friend of long-standing, he confessed to having “a woman on the side” but such indiscretion was only because he had been caught buying skimpy woman’s underwear and a dress. The friend, Paul Hoerer, 69, talking to journalists later said: “He was really annoyed when he saw that I’ve been watching him.” Fritzl had asked him to keep the information to himself. Of course, it was understandable that Fritzl did not want his wife, gray-haired, plump 68-year-old Rosemarie, to know about the lover.

There was also something else Fritzl didn’t wish anyone to know about: the cellar of his house at Number 40 Ybbsstrasse, a large three-story structure divided into individual apartments for tenants.  Rosemarie was, according to Chief Inspector Franz Pölzer, head of criminal investigations for Lower Austria, “discouraged” to go down there. Said friend Hoerer: “Fritzl was master of the house and a bit of a dictator.” So, Rosemarie, having been “discouraged” stayed away. Similarly, Fritzl had forbidden his tenants to approach the cellar. One tenant, Alfred Dubanovsky, 42, a gas station attendant in Amstetten, who had rented one of the apartments for 12 years, recalled having been told to stay away from the cellar and to know that if he did go that way, he would lose his lodging instantly.

Josef Fritzl’s life is now no longer a secret. Forever now he will be known as the father who imprisoned his daughter in a cellar for 24 years and raped her almost daily so that she fell pregnant six times. And Amstetten, because this is where the Austrian Ogre had committed his foul deed, will no longer be known only to fly fishermen.



Marilyn Z. Tomlins


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