Incest case Amstetten: "The father was not the only one who had a cellar key"

From Amstetten reports ChroniquesDuVasteMonde editor Meike Dinklage

Sabine Kirschbichler and her brother Thomas: For two years they lived with perpetrators and victims in a house

© Jens Passoth

Sometimes Sabine Kirschbichler met him, below, at the front door. "Mostly it was already dark then," she says, "the Fritzl, you only met in the evening." Often he brought along shopping bags, "several bags at once," says Sabine Kirschbichler, she speaks very Austrian, "from Spar, and then I thought that something was wrong with the marriage, because he does the shopping without his wife alone." His wife, Rosemarie Fritzl, has hardly ever seen her. "She seldom left the apartment, but sometimes, when I brought down the trash, I heard her quarreling through the door, and the children were quite calm."

Sabine Kirschbichler lived in Ybbsstraße 40 for two years, from 2001 to 2003, on the second floor, 90 square meters for 460 euros. Her living room was next to the two stained windows, which have been seen on so many photos for two days, because they have become the symbol of the incest case of Amstetten: symbol of the imprisoned children in the house number 40 and the double life of the family father Josef Fritzl, 73 who secretly committed the worst crimes: raping his daughter again and again and taking her and her children's liberty, their health, education, a life. In the basement he kept Elisabeth hidden, today she is 42, he fathered her with her seven children, burned one, took three to himself, into the house, to the daylight, left the two oldest and the youngest with the mother. Claimed that Elizabeth was living in a sect and had the three children at the door for him to raise with his wife. Narrated with it the authorities, the neighbors and probably also the own wife. Anyway, he says that out. The man is completely self-confessed, now, after 24 years.

Symbol for the incest case of Amstetten: The overcast windows in Ybbsstraße 40

© Jens Passoth

Now, on the weekend, everything came out. And Sabine Kirschbichler, 25, and her brother Thomas, 30, sat in front of the TV on Sunday evening, saw the news, the pictures with the stained windows on the second floor, looked at each other, and Thomas said: "Now I know why we could not rent a basement in the house. "

Together they had lived in Ybbsstraße, a transition, just as her life is one again: Sabine has been living with her mother in a small town 20 kilometers from Amstetten. Her boyfriend lived with her mother, then he left, her son is three and a half. She does not have any training, not even a job. Brother Thomas is a construction worker, a pithy guy with earring and muscles and also just moved to his mother, they share four rooms with a dog and two cats.

On the next page: What was hidden behind the cellar door?

"Elisabeth's brother said: There is only one boiler room in the basement"

There are a dozen apartments in the house, all belong to Josef Fritzl

© Jens Passoth

Sabine, blond and very pale with a friendly, restrained smile, says it was strange: next to them on the second floor lived one of the seven children of the couple Fritzl, the brother of Elisabeth. And this brother, probably in his mid-thirties, a rather fat man, short hair and almost always drunk, had a key to the basement. "He was the janitor, so he introduced himself to us and if we needed something, a tile was broken or something with the electrical system, then he went into the basement and brought replacement, always immediately." Her brother Thomas says it has already been noticed that he always locked the basement so carefully. He asked him why, and why a flat does not include a basement room. "Then the son of Fritzl said: Oh, there is only one room, full of heating and boiler." Wall to wall they have lived, the Fritzl son and the Kirschbichlers, "Never had a visit," says Sabine, "and whenever you have rung, he had a bottle in his hand, beer, wine." But the father, who came, Fritzl and his son had good contact.

Franz Polzer, Head of the State Criminal Police Office Lower Austriasaid on Tuesday afternoon to "It's entirely possible that someone had a key to the basement, but still did not notice." The dungeon was soundproof and located behind the first basement room. " They talked to the siblings of Elisabeth Fritzl if they ever suspected. They had assured that they had noticed nothing, "and were credible."

There are a dozen apartments in the house, Owner is in all cases Josef Fritzl.He and his family lived on the ground floor, on the first floor are eight or nine small one-bedroom apartments. The Kirschbichlers barely had any contact with the other tenants. Thomas thinks that Fritzl must have felt very safe - "with his secret with so many tenants, and always the same question about the basement."

They can say little about Josef Fritzl"He was calm, comfortable, friendly, somehow easy going," says Thomas Kirschbichler. Once, when they signed the lease, they were in the apartment, "a lot of wood, even wooden ceilings, old, but not antique furniture - nothing special, all very normal," says Thomas. The children were taught to play a guitar, "and the middle man went to karate, and when he had the orange belt he proudly showed it to me on the stairs," says Thomas. The girl went to the convent school, her father picked her up. No, both say, they have never wondered how it happens that two retirees have such young children. "That there should be a daughter in a sect," says Sabine, "we have heard nothing about it." They went out when Thomas's girlfriend wanted to move in with the apartment and there were problems with the Mietvertag.

On the next page: Ybbsstraße - a sad fair

Only a few names are legible on the bell buttons

© Jens Passoth

Most nameplates at house number 40 are torn off the bell buttonsOnly three are still legible. The police want to protect the people, police are everywhere these days at the Ybbs, corner dam street. The closed road looks like a fair, but a sad, only light, no noise. At night, a fleet of OB vans stops in front of it, the spotlights illuminating the rear facade of the bunker-like house. Two policemen stand guard all night. The people from the house opposite have rented their balcony for camera teams, the woman next door hurriedly pushes her bike onto the property and closes the door. The bakery Pramreiter in the corner house makes coffee and its rolls the business of their lives.

There are also many late in the evening who are not really onlookersbecause looking here is not funny. It is more of a stare, a collective staring at the house, the bunker, gray and the garden grown. Because you can not do more here, but there is, because the house is there. What unites is the blow this crime puts the people in the place. The force of action. Maybe you think in such a place that if you just look at the building long enough something would go away. As if, when you grasp the exterior, you could also understand the interior and touch the hidden.

Siege on Ybbsstraße: The whole world stares at the house where the unbelievable happened.

© Jens Passoth

"I'm just glad that I do not live there anymore"says Sabine Kirschbichler. And she certainly never wants to enter this house again. Do not even go. But Thomas was tempted, and he drove to Ybbsstrasse on Monday night. There he stood, and looked, like all, staring: To the windows, the symbol of horror in the house with the number 40. The windows next to his.

WRAP Fritzl pleads guilty to all counts in incest case ADDS hometown reax (March 2021).

Amstetten, crime, Amstetten, abuse, incest, Kampusch, Austria, Kirschbichler