May 20, 2008 Updated Nov. 23, 2010
Josef Fritzl, photographed just after his arrest
Josef Fritzl locked his 18-year-old daughter Elisabeth in his cellar and raped her repeatedly for the next 24 years. She would bear him seven children, three of whom he moved upstairs to live with him and his wife, and four to languish below, one of whom would die days after birth.
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.