Why he confessed

Josef Fritzl, who enslaved his daughter in a basement dungeon for 30 years, gives his first jailhouse interview

In his first jailhouse interview, Josef Fritzl, the man who this month pleaded guilty to enslaving his daughter in a basement dungeon, raping her 3,000 times, describes the moment he saw her in court. “I was suddenly so ashamed,” he tells the Austrian magazine News. “I would like to write a sympathetic book,” he adds. “Not for the public, only for her. I will try to explain why I acted in such a horrible way.” Fritzl fathered seven children with his captive daughter; the death of one shortly after birth lead to a murder conviction for the 73-year-old. “I tried to make life in the cellar as pleasant as possible for my second family–and in the course of the years, a partnership between my daughter and myself,” he says. Meanwhile, Fritzl’s wife and eldest son, who lived upstairs, have now been served summonses, with prosecutors saying they must have known of Fritzl’s secret family. “Every housewife, charwoman or curious child would someday find a hidden entrance to a cellar sooner or later, by accident or purposeful curiosity,” one lawyer said.


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