|Birth Day:||April 9, 1935|
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He married his wife Rosemarie when he was twenty-one and she was seventeen.
Josef Fritzl was born on 9 April 1935, in Amstetten, Austria. In 1956, at age 21, he married 17-year-old Rosemarie (born 23 September 1939), with whom he had three sons and four daughters, including Elisabeth, who was born on 6 April 1966. Fritzl reportedly began abusing Elisabeth in 1977 when she was 11.
Josef Fritzl (now known as Mayrhoff) was born on 9 April 1935, in Amstetten to Josef Fritzl Sr. and Maria Fritzl. He grew up as an only child raised solely by his working mother. 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, Josef Fritzl married Rosemarie, 17, with whom he had two sons and five daughters.
Reflecting on his childhood, Fritzl initially described his mother as "the best woman in the world" and "as strict as it was necessary". Later, he expressed a negative opinion of his mother and claimed that "she used to beat me, hit me until I was lying in a pool of blood on the floor. It left me feeling totally humiliated and weak. My mother was a servant and she used to work hard all her life, I never had a kiss from her, I was never cuddled although I wanted it – I wanted her to be good to me." He also claimed that she called him "a Satan, a criminal, a no-good", that he "had a horrible fear of her". In 1959, after Fritzl had married and bought his house, his mother moved in with them. Over time, their roles reversed, and his mother came to fear him. Eventually, he also admitted he had later locked his mother in the attic and bricked up her window after telling neighbors that she had died, and kept her locked up until her death in 1980. It is unknown how long Fritzl kept his mother locked up in his attic, but newspapers have speculated that it may have been up to 20 years.
In 1967, Fritzl broke into the Linz home of a 24-year-old nurse while her husband was away and raped her while holding a knife to her throat, threatening to kill her if she screamed. According to an annual report for 1967 and a press release of the same year, he was also named as a suspect in a case of attempted rape of a 21-year-old woman, and was known for indecent exposure. Fritzl was arrested and served twelve months of an eighteen-month prison sentence. In accordance with Austrian law, his criminal record was expunged after fifteen years. As a result, more than 25 years later, when he applied to adopt and/or foster Elisabeth's children, the local social service authorities did not discover his criminal history.
After completing compulsory education at age 15, Elisabeth started a course to become a waitress. In January 1983, she ran away from home and went into hiding in Vienna with a friend from work. She was found by police within three weeks and returned to her parents. She rejoined her waitress course, finished it in mid-1984, and was offered a job in nearby Linz.
The Fritzl property in Amstetten is a building dating from around 1890. A newer building was added after 1978 when Fritzl applied for a building permit for an "extension with basement". In 1983, building inspectors visited the site and verified that the new extension had been built according to the dimensions specified on the permit. Fritzl had illegally enlarged the room by excavating space for a much larger basement, concealed by walls. Around 1981 or 1982, according to his statement, Fritzl started to turn this hidden cellar into a prison cell and installed a washbasin, toilet, bed, hot plate, and refrigerator. In 1983, he added more space by creating a passageway to a pre-existing basement area under the old part of the property, of which only he knew.
On 28 August 1984, after Elisabeth turned 18, Fritzl lured her into the basement of the family home, saying he needed help carrying a door. This was the last piece needed to seal what would turn out to be the chamber where Elisabeth was held captive. After Elisabeth held the door in place while Fritzl fitted it into the frame, he held an ether-soaked towel on his daughter's face until she was unconscious, then threw her into the chamber.
Following the fourth child's birth in 1994, Fritzl allowed the enlargement of the prison, from 35 to 55 m (380 to 590 sq ft), putting Elisabeth and her children to work for years digging out soil with their bare hands. The captives had a television, radio, and video cassette player. Food could be stored in a refrigerator and cooked or heated on hot plates. Elisabeth taught the children to read and write. At times, Fritzl shut off their lights or refused to deliver food for days at a time to punish them.
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. 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.
On 19 April 2008, Fritzl agreed to seek medical attention after Kerstin, the eldest daughter, fell unconscious. Elisabeth helped him carry Kerstin out of the chamber and saw the outside world for the first time in 24 years. Fritzl forced her to return to the chamber, where she remained for a final week. Kerstin was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, the Landesklinikum Amstetten, and was admitted in serious condition with life-threatening kidney failure. Fritzl later arrived at the hospital claiming to have found a note written by Kerstin's mother. He discussed Kerstin's condition and the note with a doctor, Albert Reiter.
Elisabeth pleaded with Fritzl to be taken to the hospital. On 26 April, he released her from the cellar along with her sons Stefan and Felix, bringing them upstairs. He and Elisabeth went to the hospital where Kerstin was being treated on 26 April 2008. Following a tip-off from Reiter that Josef and Elisabeth were at the hospital, the police detained them on the hospital grounds and took them to a police station for questioning.
Pursuant to the agreement that she would never have to see her father again, Elisabeth Fritzl gave videotaped testimony before Austrian prosecutors and investigators on 11 July 2008.
On 13 November 2008, authorities in Austria released an indictment against Josef Fritzl. He stood trial for the murder of the infant Michael, who died shortly after birth, and faced between 10 years and life imprisonment. He was also charged with rape, incest, kidnapping, false imprisonment and slavery, which carry a maximum 20-year term.
On the first day of testimony, jurors watched eleven hours of testimony recorded by Elisabeth in sessions with police and psychologists in July 2008. The tape is said to have been so "harrowing" that the eight jurors did not watch more than two hours at a time. Four replacement jurors were on standby to replace any of the regular jurors in case they could not bear to hear any more of the evidence.
In May 2008, a handmade poster created by Elisabeth, her children and her mother at the therapy facility was displayed in the Amstetten town centre. The message thanked local people for their support. "We, the whole family, would like to take the opportunity to thank all of you for sympathy at our fate", they wrote in their message. "Your compassion is helping us greatly to overcome these difficult times, and it shows us there also are good and honest people here who really care for us. We hope that soon there will be a time where we can find our way back into a normal life."
Kerstin was reunited with her family on 8 June 2008, when she was awakened from her artificially induced coma. Doctors said that she would make a full recovery.
Lawyer Christoph Herbst, who represents Elisabeth and her family, said, "Fortunately, everything is going very well"; they spend their time answering hundreds of letters from all over the world. Felix, Kerstin, and Stefan, brought up underground with their mother, have learned to swim. All of Elisabeth's children attended a four-day summer camp organised by firefighters, with 4,000 other young campers, in August 2008. The children, along with their mother, also have made day trips, including swimming outings, on which care was taken to keep them out of reach of the paparazzi and to protect their privacy.
The case was featured in the 2008 documentary, The Longest Night: Secrets of the Austrian Cellar and the 2010 documentary, Monster: The Josef Fritzl Story..
The trial of Josef Fritzl commenced on 16 March 2009, in the city of Sankt Pölten, presided over by Judge Andrea Humer.
On 18 March 2009, Elisabeth Fritzl attended the second day of the criminal trial against her father Josef, in preparation for a book she wrote about her ordeal. She did not plan to see her father again. Fritzl's attorney, Rudolf Mayer, confirmed that she had been in the visitors' gallery in disguise at the time her video testimony was aired. "Josef Fritzl recognised that Elisabeth was in court and, from this point on, you could see Josef Fritzl going pale and he broke down", Mayer said. "It was a meeting of eyes that changed his mind." The next day, Fritzl began the proceedings by approaching the judge and changing his pleas to guilty on all charges.
On 19 March 2009, Fritzl was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for 15 years. He said that he accepted the sentence and would not appeal. Fritzl is currently serving out his sentence in Garsten Abbey, a former monastery in Upper Austria that has been converted into a prison.
In March 2009, Elisabeth and her children were forced to move out of the family's hide-away home and returned to the psychiatric clinic where medical staff had started trying to heal the family and unite the "upstairs" and "downstairs" siblings during the previous year. Elisabeth was reported to be distraught and close to a breakdown after a British paparazzo had burst into her kitchen and started taking photographs.
The 2009 novel, The Crimes of Josef Fritzl: Uncovering the Truth, by Stefanie Marsh and Bojan Pancevski, is about the case. Room author Emma Donoghue was inspired by the crimes, and her novel inspired a film adaptation of the same name.
An article in March 2010 in The Independent stated that Elisabeth and her children recovered remarkably well, given the difficult lives they endured for so long. According to Josef's sister-in-law, Christine, Elisabeth enjoys spending her time shopping, taking frequent showers, and driving. She has passed her driving test without difficulty. Her relationship with Thomas, one of her bodyguards (who is 23 years younger than her), was reported to be ongoing, with him becoming a big-brother figure to her children. All of Elisabeth's children have developed normal sibling relationships with each other, and after having trouble dealing with the traumatic events, the three "upstairs" children slowly began recognising Elisabeth as their mother. The children enjoy being outdoors, playing video games, and spending time with their mother and grandmother. Despite their strained relationship, Elisabeth and her mother Rosemarie started visiting each other more, and Elisabeth has reportedly forgiven her mother for believing her father's story.
On 28 June 2013, workers began filling the basement of the Fritzl home with concrete. Estate liquidator Walter Anzboeck stated that the construction would cost €100,000 and would take a week to complete. The house was to be sold on the open market. While most neighbours approved of the proposal, some preferred that the property be demolished due to its sordid history. Asylum seekers were offered the house to live in. The house was sold for €160,000 in December 2016, with the buyers voicing their intention to convert the building into apartments.
In May 2017, Josef Fritzl changed his name to Josef Mayrhoff, probably due to getting into a prison fight that resulted in several of his teeth getting knocked out after other inmates set up a fake dating profile with his name and picture. Mark Perry, a British journalist who interviewed Fritzl in his cell, says he has shown no remorse for his crimes. He recalls he kept saying "just look into the cellars of other people, you might find other families and girls down there".
In April 2019, it was reported that Josef's health was declining and that he did not want to live anymore.
Josef's abuse of Elisabeth resulted in seven children.
Currently, Josef Fritzl is 86 years, 0 months and 8 days old. Josef Fritzl will celebrate 87th birthday on a Saturday 9th of April 2022. Below we countdown to Josef Fritzl upcoming birthday.