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I was born to rape, and I held myself back for a relatively long time. I could have behaved a lot worse than locking up my daughter.
~ Josef Fritzl

Josef Fritzl (April 9th, 1935 - ) is Austrian man who imprisoned his daughter Elisabeth for 24 years in a hidden cellar within his own home and repeatedly raped her and abused her.


Josef Fritzl (now known as Mayrhoff) was born on April 9 1935, in Amstetten to Josef Fritzl Sr and Maria Fritzl. He grew up as an only child raised solely by his working mother, who was physically and verbally abusive to him. His father had deserted the family when Fritzl was four, and never again came into contact with him. Fritzl Sr later fought as a soldier in the Wehrmacht during World War II, and was killed in action in 1944. His name appears on a memorial plaque in Amstetten. In 1956, at the age of 21, he married Rosemarie, 17, with whom he had two sons and five daughters.

After completing his education at an HTL Technical College with a qualification in electrical engineering, Fritzl obtained a job at Voestalpine in Linz. From 1969 until 1971, he obtained a job in a construction material firm in Amstetten. Later, he became a technical equipment salesman, travelling throughout Austria. He retired from active employment when he turned 60 in 1995, but continued some commercial activities thereafter. In addition to his apartment building in Amstetten, Fritzl rented out several other properties. In 1972, he purchased a guesthouse and an adjacent campsite at Lake Mondsee. He ran it, together with his wife, until 1996.

It is known that be began sexually abusing his daughter when she was 11, and began work on the hidden cellar in 1981. In 1984 he kidnapped his daughter and hid her in the secret cellar. Being repeatedly raped over 24 years, Elisabeth bore several children. Though the cellar had electricity and heating, Josef would sometimes turn it all off and refuse to bring her food as punishment.

In April 2008, Elisabeth requested that one of her daughters be taken to the hospital for medical care. He relented and accompanied her to the hospital to care for the daughter. During this, she was able to escape and go to a nearby police station, telling her story. Later that night, Josef was arrested.

On March 19 2009, Fritzl was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for 15 years.

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