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Austrian Incest Dad Blames Hitler

This is one route I did not expect the Austrian incest story to take. Josef Fritzl, the father who imprisoned his daughter for 24 years, is claiming being raised in Nazi times instilled him with the "decency and uprightness" that led him to keep his daughter in the cellar for almost a quarter of a century. He was instilling discipline in his unruly daughter and had “rescued” Elisabeth (then 18) to keep her from “going out to seedy bars” and “drinking and smoking.”

Fritzl explains his actions through a series of jailhouse notes passed to his lawyer like this:

I have always had high regard for decency and uprightness. I was growing up in Nazi times, when hard discipline was a very important thing. I belong to an old school of thinking that just does not exist today. I grew up in the Nazi times and that meant there needed to be control and the respect of authority. I suppose I took on some of these old values with me into later life, all subconsciously, of course.

Apparently Elisabeth started acting out when she hit puberty. To see how Fritzl thought his imprisonment was actually saving her,


Fritzl says:

When she got into puberty she stopped obeying any rules. She was going out to seedy bars and would spend whole nights there drinking and smoking. I only tried to rescue her from that life. She even ran away from home twice and associated herself with some bad people that were not right for her. I would bring her back home each time, but she would run away again each time. I was forced to act and do something about it. I had to create a place where I could keep Elisabeth separated from that world, and I was ready to use force.

That "force" resulted in six surviving children, three of whom lived in the basement for their entire lives. Time magazine has a piece on how they're adjusting to life above ground.

Fritzl has also just confessed to having an "addiction" to incest that he couldn't control. He says, "I knew Elisabeth didn't want me to do what I did to her. I knew that I was hurting her. It was like an addiction... In reality, I wanted children with her." Yet he still claims the media coverage has been "unfair" saying, that he deserves credit but he's "no monster."

Whether he's a monster or not may be up to a judge. Elisabeth may sue her father and former captor for damages.

Is Fritzl a monster? Do you buy that his actions were influenced by his Nazi-era upbringing? Is the media being unfair?


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