On air: Should we try to understand Josef Fritzl?

_45575085_fritzl_afp226body1It’s the second day of the trial of Josef Fritzl in Austria. He’s been labeled a monster but his lawyer says he’s a human being, and Fritzl blames his mother for bullying him.

Does Josef Fritzl deserve some understanding? Can there be any justification for what he did or is he simply evil?

It’s an issue that often comes up when terrible crimes are committed – if we label these people monsters, do we lose the opportunity to learn from these crimes and try to stop them happening again? Are we avoiding the question of whether society is to some degree responsible? Can they be rehabilitated? Or should we lock them up and forget about them?

130 Responses to “On air: Should we try to understand Josef Fritzl?”

  1. 1 Monica in DC
    March 17, 2009 at 14:45

    I think I understand just fine… the guy is a monster, period. I don’t care what he and his lawyer say, the guy’s a psycho monster. He can blame his mother all he wants, lots of people have horrible parents, but not all of them do what he did. 24 years his poor daughter was locked in a windowless cellar being raped repeatedly by her own father, bore children by him, and one died. I hope they find him guilty of everything and that he rots in jail.

  2. 2 Rachel in California, USA
    March 17, 2009 at 14:47

    We need to understand so that we can prevent such things from ever happening again. Understanding doesn’t mean toleration or sympathy or exoneration; it means tracing the threads of causation back to their origins.

    What do we need to understand specifically?
    –How it happened that this was not noticed by anyone, neighbors or teachers or passersby.
    –How it happened that the mother was afraid to ask for help; how outreach toward terrorised women could be more effective.
    –How it happened that the father wanted to do such a thing, and how he imagined that he would not be caught.

    I do not know whether he could ever be “rehabilitated” or even what “rehabilitation” might mean in this case.

    It is not possible to punish him in such a way that he’d be hurt as badly as the hurt he has caused. In considering appropriate consequences, the future healing and well-being of his victims should be carefully considered. What fate for him would truly move the victims toward health and wholeness?

    They need to be sure that he can never harm anyone again. Beyond that, I don’t know.

  3. 3 Bernard Okello
    March 17, 2009 at 14:49

    How and why should we?????? if at all i had the authority i would sentanced him to murder straight way.being african thats tottally unacceptable in my society so to me he is better dead than alive. Ben in Juba

  4. March 17, 2009 at 15:04

    as far as criminolgy study is concerned its very important we study the psychological aspect of this man right from his growing days then only law can be framed up to tackle when this kind of catastrophical happenings prop up in future across the world?

  5. 5 Steve in Boston
    March 17, 2009 at 15:10

    Label him what you want, understand him all you want, blame society all you want–just as long as you lock him up and throw away they key.

    Sexual predators can not be rehabilitated.

    Hopefully he will meet the same fate in his Austrian prison that he would in an American prison. Sexual predators in American jails have an abbreviated life span.

  6. 6 Roy, Washington DC
    March 17, 2009 at 15:10

    I’ll never be able to understand how someone can do that to anybody, much less their own flesh and blood. As for trying to justify what he did — no way. There is no excuse for doing that. No matter how rough your upbringing was, you have no right to do that to anybody. This might serve as a case study for deviant psychology, but the blame for this rests squarely on Mr. Fritzl’s shoulders.

  7. 7 Kim Johnson
    March 17, 2009 at 15:11

    This Josef does not deserve a second to be wasted on him, he is a monster and an evil. No justification and no excuses, he is a criminal and should be hanged where everybody can see him.

  8. 9 Tom D Ford
    March 17, 2009 at 15:14

    Fritzl should be studied for sure to try and get some idea of how and why he has done what he did so that anything similar can be prevented in the future but that ought not be used as any excuse.

    And I think that Saddam Hussein should have been kept alive so that he tell his own story including about who financed and supported him in the past and any treacherous dealings with US operatives like Donald Rumsfeld and April Glaspie.

  9. 10 A woman
    March 17, 2009 at 15:26

    understanding / finding solution is all fine but that is no reason not to punish him.

    My question is if his mom was cruel to him,,,,,,,, what was he to his daughter? Is int that the reason why human being are different from animals ?

    What he did is not new , just that he took it to a different level. I think the question should be what is the appropriate punishment ? Is there any appropriate punishment for such crimes?

  10. 11 Zita
    March 17, 2009 at 15:26

    Josef Fritzl? I wouldn’t want to understand him or defend him or rehabilitate him. What I would want to know is how to restore and repair the life of the poor daughter, and her children and I want to know what lapses in this country, this society, this town this locality this family, made this situation go undetected for 24 years. And are there any more cases like this lurking anywhere? And what are we doing to bring them into the open?

  11. 12 Mark
    March 17, 2009 at 15:30

    I’m not sure why public money or even air time is being wasted on this case. If the evidence in incontrovertible and if Fritzl has acknowledged his actions, then string him up, I say, preferably in public. I don’;t think his actions are a manifestation of anything but his inability to respect the most basic human morals. Why should we even devote any of our energies trying to understand what is hopefully a very rare aberration? There are other problems in this world affecting millions every day that are more deserving. He deserves no mercy, no column inches and no air time whatsoever.

  12. 13 Venessa
    March 17, 2009 at 15:30

    There is nothing to understand about Josef other than he would like to make excuses for his behavior. There is no excuse, he knew right from wrong or else he wouldn’t have kept such a secret.

    Lock him up and throw away the key.

  13. 14 viola
    March 17, 2009 at 15:32

    The only way his crimes can be excused is by claiming they are culturally acceptable, in the way throwing acid on young girls who want to go to school or murdering a daughter or sister for dishonouring the family name is considered a cultural issue by the cultural relativists.

    So what do people from differing cultures have to say about this crime?


  14. 15 Ewewale
    March 17, 2009 at 15:33

    An African living in the interiors of the continent will find it painfull how the West see an academic perspective to an issue that is clearly spiritual.
    I am very sure Mr Fritzl will make appointments with therapists if he is found innocent miraculously.
    He would undergo deliverances or rituals if he were African.

    It is only in the West the issue of society being responsible to some degree can be raised because here in Nigeria we know that someone somewhere in the neighbourhood is watching and any Fritzls would be found out very early in their practice.

  15. 16 Bob in Queensland
    March 17, 2009 at 15:37

    You’ve got it right in your question: we should try to understand Fritzl from the perspective of learning how to spot the next predator BEFORE he destroys other lives. Understanding doesn’t have to mean “forgiving” or even “going easy”.

    That said, I find many of the previous posts baying for “prison murders” and “public hangings” distasteful. By all means punish Fritzl to the full extent of the law but this sort of lynch mob mentality shows that, as a whole, humanity is little better than the defendant in this case.

  16. 17 ecotopian
    March 17, 2009 at 15:39

    I’m glad I’m not alone in not wanting to discuss this. Kim’s right, we don’t need to waste any time on him. There have to be some more pressing issues somewhere we could be talking about.

  17. March 17, 2009 at 15:46

    personally, i don’t want to understand him. enough said

  18. March 17, 2009 at 15:49

    To me, I think Josef should have another day in court to let him know that though he and others have choosen evil to be their means of making endsmeet, there still exit legality. If found guilty, he must feel the full wieght of God’s Wrath on earth and let him be aware that evil must be paid with evil.

    Mohammed Kondawa

    Monrovia Liberia

  19. 20 Rob (UK)
    March 17, 2009 at 15:50

    I don’t understand why there needs to be a distinction here. Trying to understand why Fritzl committed these crimes in no way legitimises them. If we label criminals as monsters – somehow apart from humanity – we lose an opportunity to learn from them and to prevent atrocities like this in the future.

    We learn from mistakes made in war – why not from individual criminals?

  20. 21 Carlos King
    March 17, 2009 at 15:55

    Good day WHYSayers.

    Should we try to understand Josef Fritzl? No. There is nothing worth understanding about him. The evidence is clear. He is a pervert and not only a pervert but an evil pervert.

    I hope and pray he was not a churchgoing person. That would be another black and blue eye for christianity.

    There are no words in the english language to describe how evil this monster is. He is definitely demon possessed.

    Share a thought for the daughter and children. In order for them to have a “normal” life, they have to leave Austria and assume false identity. Poor girl. If not for the grace of God, she is ruined for life.

    Carlos- Kingston, Jamaica

  21. 22 Chernor
    March 17, 2009 at 16:02

    I think we should try to understand why he did it in the first place. I am not saying it is justifiable, but for one to do what he did, something strange must have led him to do it.

    The man is already Old enough so death or death sentence could mean little to him.

    I dont really know what to do to him that will actually measure up to what he did; that’s why we should prioritise knowing the root cause and make sure that it does not happen again.

  22. 23 Assiya
    March 17, 2009 at 16:05

    This was a collective crime. Neighbhours, govertment, fellow extended family. Everyone should be punished for not being there for this girl as they should have been.

  23. 24 Andrew in Australia
    March 17, 2009 at 16:12

    While I can say that justification for Fritzl’s actions cannot be an excuse for him or in sentencing him, to understand him is important. As a psychologist it is in my sphere to try to understand such behaviour and learn from it. After all to simply dismiss this as the actions of a monster does two things. Firstly it absolves us from responsibility for such peiople in society and divorces us from feeling any empathy for such a person or to go to that dark place within us all and explore the feelings that reside there, that reside within Fritzl. Secondly it does nothing for us as a society to demonise him as we therefore do not learn the lessons that are there for us to see such people not as abberant or unique, but as a personality on a contuniuum that we also exist on. From understanding we can see where personalities go wrong and how to recognise them and more improtantly, how to intervene and in what way. It is not such a stretch to think that we so-called ‘normal’ members of society could become a Fritzl, we all develop in the same society, interract in basically the same way so the potential is there. Discounting any physical abnormality or acquired injury Fritzl was and is still one of ‘us’. Like it or not we must face up to ourselves as biological beings subject to desires and motivations, good or bad.

  24. March 17, 2009 at 16:15

    From what is known, people all over the world have heard, seen and read the dispicable manner of this man’s lifestyle. It proves that the upbringing of a child is most important for the childs future behavior. If the child is abused and later grows up, she or he will abuse others in some way or other. However, there is no justification for Mr. Fritzl’s crimes against his own daughter, it was a monstrous and barbaric crime he inflicted on his own daughter for his own satisfaction. He should have the stiffist sentence, a good horse whipping prior to being imprisoned for life.

  25. 26 steve
    March 17, 2009 at 16:17

    Just like with terrorism, if you insist on “understanding” why they did it, you almost legitimize what they do. He’s a monster, like terrorists, doesn’t deserve to be understood, and he should be locked up and the key thrown away. Happy St. Patrick’s Day

  26. 27 Andrew in Australia
    March 17, 2009 at 16:19


    You say we shouldn’t bother to understand Fritzl yet you go on to state that “… how evil this monster is. He is definitely demon possessed….”

    This highlights my point exactly. To just revert to such labels does nothing to aid society. In fact what such comments do is give people a license to do horrible things to each other. In saying this we let people off the hook and avoid responsibility. Oh it is OK to torture people because you are evil and demented and that is what your kind do. We all have freedom to choose our actions and must all account for them than to hide behind labels. It does nothing to understand how people, in general, tick.

  27. 28 sam in kansas city
    March 17, 2009 at 16:27

    There is no question as to whether that the guy is evil. He deserves no mercy for his inhumane behaviour. But i beleive we should study him and understand why he did what he did so as to prevent future situations from occuring from other psychos.

  28. 29 Nate, Portland OR
    March 17, 2009 at 16:30

    Understand!?! Sure, in the way we try to understand cancer – as a prelude to wiping it out. What in the sum total of his genetics and experiences led him to become a monster? Perhaps he committed smaller crimes early in his life that could have allowed authorities to get involved and get him off the path he was on.

    At this point there should be no “understanding” in the sense of empathizing or forgiving. I don’t care if he was molested as a child. I empathize with the child, but the adult must either learn to control or (better) eliminate those urges or be removed from society. In this case, given the horrific nature of the crimes, the removal should be irrevocable. Off with his head.

  29. 30 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    March 17, 2009 at 16:34

    It is rare that sexual predators can be rehabilitated. Once identified, they should be watched. If they offend again, they should be locked up.

    Fritzl is not a monster. He’s a sociopath for whom compassion doesn’t exist. What I personally wonder is how his “free” family and neighbors could have been unaware of the situation in his home. I don’t think they could have been, and they are thus also culpable, though in far lesser degree.

  30. 31 Andrew in Australia
    March 17, 2009 at 16:35

    No Steve,

    You got it wrong. By saying he is a monster legitimizes what he did and not the other way around. As I have said if you simply dismiss this as the actions of a madman or a monster then all that you do is give carte blanche to anyone who feeling the same way a reason to go ahead with what they do. I am a monster therefore I must behave like one and what is it they do.. they do terrible things. If you understand a terrorist you can see what motivates them and take away their power or resolve the problem. Unless of course we are the problem and in that case we certainly don’t want to deal with that now do we?

  31. 32 Steve in Boston
    March 17, 2009 at 16:45

    @ Andrew in Australia

    “It is not such a stretch to think that we so-called ‘normal’ members of society could become a Fritzl, we all develop in the same society, interact in basically the same way so the potential is there.”

    I believe that the role of the ordinary citizens of Austria, Germany and most of Europe in the annihilation of the Jews during the Holocaust prove you to be correct.

    However, all the more reason to severely punish this man: to let others like him know that in a civilized society we won’t stand for these kinds of crimes, regardless of the excuse.

  32. 33 Kevin Burke
    March 17, 2009 at 16:59

    I think it’s important to note that while understanding and sympathy are not mutually exclusive, they’re also not automatically bedfellows. Understanding something does not mean we have to develop a sympathy.

    That being said- there may not be much understanding to have here. Jeffrey Dahmer’s parents were by, all accounts, totally normal and completely mystified by their son’s atrocious behavior.

    Some people are born without conscience. Just as people are born with other genetic abnormalities. Some people are made that way through brutal childhoods. There is a lot of evidence to show that children who are routinely terrorized and abused can be made into sociopaths.

    I’m not sure what the argument is against working to understand people who engage in violent acts against society. Understanding doesn’t mean we accept or condone, it just means that we seek knowledge of how one person can have a conscience and another lives in absence of a conscience.

    As for rehabilitation? Well. Let’s be honest. There’s not a lot of rehabilitation to be had in some cases. Some people are so fundamentally broken that there’s nothing to be fixed. Hopefully, by understanding what drove them to their acts we can tell the difference between those that can be helped and those that can’t.

  33. 34 Luci Smith
    March 17, 2009 at 17:06

    I do not need to understand Joseph Frietzel and I will leave the punishment to the courts.

    I would suggest reading Alice Miller, “For Your Own Good”, which deals with the problems of cruelty in child rearing as the roots of Violence in Society. The book talks about Adolph Hiitler’s childhood, among others.
    I do not need to understand the psyche of each Murderer, Rapist, Serial Killer or Child Molester any longer after reading all of Alice Miller’s books. I just want to make certain that these people are pointed out, STOPPED, put behind bars and punished.

  34. 35 Duncan Newberry
    March 17, 2009 at 17:06

    There is no more terrible crime than injury to children- and this man has injured not only his daughter but also his daughters children. There is no punishment severe enough for what he has done possible in the civilized world, so best to let him rot in a prison and keep him away from other children on which he could perpetuate his sickness.

  35. 36 Michelle from Jamaica
    March 17, 2009 at 17:15

    What do we really want to understand? We already know, but we refuse to recognize it and call it by name. Evil is in the world and so is sin. We are sinful beings who have seperated ourselves from the teachings of Jesus. Therefore anything is possible and people will continue to commit these atrocities. When we return the basic principles of love, humilty, kindness.; maybe then we will see a change the world.

    If there is anything to understand, I would like to understand his wife. She is the mystery to me. How could she not know? Where did she think her daughter was? Did she file amissing operson’s report. Was any attempt made to find her?
    I would also like to know where the other family members thought she was?

  36. 37 Shane Salt lake City
    March 17, 2009 at 17:15

    Why are we worrying about the disgusting man? We should focus on his daughter and their children and see what we can do for them. Someone should psychoanalyse him and then throw him in a jail cell for the rest of his life.

  37. March 17, 2009 at 17:15

    I believe that it is very important to find out everything that can be discovered about why he has done what he has done. I don’t believe that anything can excuse his actions. He obviously knew what he was doing was wrong otherwise he would not have hidden his actions for over 20 years. But, I do believe that by understanding him will help to prevent others from doing the same or catching the next Fritzl.

  38. 39 VictorK
    March 17, 2009 at 17:15

    ‘Understand him?’ To what end? This reflexive sympathy is too often the response of the ‘caring’ left to criminals. Materialistic explanations (underprivilege, poverty, disenfranchisement, American troops in Iraq, etc) and speculative psychobabble can’t substitute for a simple recognition of good and evil.

    There are evil people in the world and they will continue to commit evil acts. Our only responsibility is to thwart or punish them.

  39. 40 Amanda
    March 17, 2009 at 17:19

    As someone who’s dealt with victims of incest and sexual abuse, my thoughts have always been on the daughter in this situation. We keep talking about Josef Fritzl, but whether we understand him or not, he has absolutely and irrevocably shattered this woman’s life. Because of that, I can’t bear to try to rationalize what he did. His daughter will most likely always be a scared little girl who sees him as a monster, and I’m inclined to agree with her.

  40. 41 Scott [M]
    March 17, 2009 at 17:22

    Understanding something doesn’t legitimize anything, unless you are a fool! Everything has a reason, perhaps the reason is too complex to understand or comprehend, but there is still a reason—-nothing is arbitrary.

    WHAT IS EVIL? No such thing. What exactly would it be, even if it did or could exist? Mr. Fritzl? Where did he come from? And, why? How could one man have so much power, as to be evil? Evil is a short-cut. It is a cop-out, shove it under the rug. To understand, one does not need to accept or justify, it simply means you know how and perhaps why things can happen.

    It is like saying we shouldn’t ‘understand’ cancer because it is just too bad to discuss.

    Portland, OR

  41. 42 Tori
    March 17, 2009 at 17:27

    Neitzche said, “If you stare into the abyss long enough, the abyss stares back at you.” This man is the abyss of human experience and humanity cannot risk contamination by attempting to analyze him. We know him already: he is Hitler, Gacy, Bundy, Dahmer….He has nothing to teach us. Incidentally, why are these people always men? Let’s stop referring to them as “people” and discuss why it is that it is always men who commit these heinous crimes.

  42. 43 Dr. Jeffrey Sher
    March 17, 2009 at 17:27

    I think that this case raises powerful epistemological questions in terms of what we are able to know and how we know it and how we validate our claims to knowing. I find Dr. Johnson’s certainty about ‘knowing’ the origins of someone like Fritzl’s behavior and so easily treating this as a “disease” disturbing in the certainty that he seems to express rather than holding his interpretations a bit lightly..

    Dr. Jeffrey Sher, Licensed Psychologist

  43. 44 Jason in Seattle (KXOT FM)
    March 17, 2009 at 17:30

    Josef Fritzl will go to jail, this is not the point. To file him away as an anomoly within society is to turn a blind eye to the ugly, yet all too real, aspects of humanity. He does not deserve forgiveness, but it is our responsibility to do everything we can in an effort to curb such behavior in the future.

  44. 45 Din North Carolina
    March 17, 2009 at 17:32

    We learn nothing by trying to understand him. There exist in the world people who have no understanding of right and wrong and attempting to study them to understand why they do these horrific things teach us nothing of use. We have to be willing to remove those that do something so heinous as to violate moral as well as civil law.

  45. 46 tina
    March 17, 2009 at 17:33

    it is great to try to understand him and learn from him…but he still needs to be locked up…he has repeatedly victimized innocent people with calculation and cannot be free to do so again.

    his jail cell will likely be much more pleasant than the one his daughter and children were forced to inhabit for so long.

  46. 47 mark
    March 17, 2009 at 17:33

    I think this man’s actions as well as most serial killers are a mixture of sexual drive and a complete lack of empathy. When a sociopath wants sex they dont care about the other person and do some terrible things.

    We should try to understand why some people dont have empathy.

  47. 48 Iris in Corvallis, Oregon
    March 17, 2009 at 17:38

    I had always assumed that murderers and pedophiles were incurable, and that was a big reason for me to want to lock them up and throw away the key. Does Dr. Johnson believe that serial killers, violent sex offenders and pedophiles are able to be rehabilitated? Could they one day be released into society without fear of them reoffending? His work is fascinating and I hope that more research can be done in this area.

  48. 49 Noble (Corvallis, OR)
    March 17, 2009 at 17:43

    Many people survive terrible childhood experiences and do not go on to commit such crimes. This man possesses free will, and made a conscious decision to commit these crimes unrepentantly for many decades. His reasoning may have academic value, but I have no interest in trying to understand such a man.

  49. 50 A.J.
    March 17, 2009 at 17:43

    Clearly this man is horribly disturbed and has adversly affected his daughter and all the children as well, to put it mildly. It is a heinus crime and should not be excused. However, how can we hold him completely responsible when he obviously is psychologically out of control. Disgusting, horrible, detestable, yes, yes and yes. But now what must be concentrated on is repairing the damage done to his poor daughter and the children. Perhaps there is still some hope for them. A most diturbing story in so many ways.

  50. 51 Steve
    March 17, 2009 at 17:44

    Oh My. Arn’t there some crimes that are so terrible that even if they can be rehabilitated that they should be put away?

    If someone like Fritzl spends years in study, and is then released then someone like B. Madof who only defrauded people out of $50 billion dollars should never go to jail. Lets just figure out about his poor upbringing and ask him to never do it again.

  51. 52 Robert
    March 17, 2009 at 17:45

    No,, Were borh with this…
    We just don’t show it,, when were young we try to keep to the “rules”,,, when we get older is when we become ourself…

  52. 53 Scott [M]
    March 17, 2009 at 17:45

    Dr. Johnson (?) is a bit over the top, but if it is not a ‘disease’ (of sorts) what is it? It doesn’t mean it can be treated, justified or excused.

    Another discussion, that at its core, is about free-will versus determinism.

  53. 54 Anna in San Francisco
    March 17, 2009 at 17:45

    This man was not born this way. Our responsibility as a society is to look at how we contribute to the way children are treated, and how this contributes to creating these individuals. Child abuse in our culture is epidemic and under addressed. Let’s stamp out this dynamic, and the possibility of future victims. That said, mass murders and rapists should be locked away from society.

  54. 55 Linda
    March 17, 2009 at 17:45

    Such a person should be studied to discover possible prevention measures .About his release, you are ignoring the victims’ point of view! How would they feel if their persecutor would be set free and walking the streets?

  55. 56 Jennifer - Berkeley, California
    March 17, 2009 at 17:51

    There was a recent article in the New Yorker magazine that talked about a researcher who studies psychopaths, in prison, using brain scans. The hope of understanding these aberrant people was not so much that you could “cure” them, as to learn how distortions arise and maybe lead to early detection, because intervention in CHILDHOOD has been shown to help steer people away from possibly becoming monsters. I think that is the kind of understanding we are talking about–there are many conditions and disorders that are well understood today which in former times were seen as being the result of witchcraft, a curse, or demonic possession or the like. Adding to the pool of knowledge can help human society.

  56. 57 Betsy Morris
    March 17, 2009 at 17:51

    His daughter and her children are key in my mind. As horrified and threatened as I feel about this man, they have suffered the most. What do they need to recover their lives? would seeing this man in prison, or having the possibility that he could express remorse help them in any way? They need to decide that.

    I believe life in prison is absolutely jusitifed. I would even consider death penalty, but I would first see what his family of victims needs to heal.

    There are all too many (even 1 is too many) men who have rationalized killing or beating or violating their wives and children instead of dealing with their own rage and vulnerability. We can benefit from understanding how someone conceals the kind of insane thinking that led to this situation, so we prevent at least a few more people from being harmed in the future.

  57. 58 Micah in Oregon
    March 17, 2009 at 17:51

    It is very important to understand this individual to prevent further atrocities. At the same time he needs punished for the rest of his life. As a society we can greatly benifit from the knowledge of the human mind that can be learned from this individual. If we could have studied Hitler maybe we could have understood similar war crimes since then.

  58. 59 Laura Vaillancourt
    March 17, 2009 at 17:53

    Remember the old saying, ” We fear what we do not understand”? This is applicable in this case.
    I also believe that behavior such as this is a reflection of the ‘shadow’ in our society. Incest, torture, and imprisonment are taboo in our society, and we do not have a great understanding of what causes people to act out in these ways due to our fear and ignorance around these acts. Bravo to psychologists and therapists who reach through the darkness into the depths to gain understanding.

  59. 60 Jennifer - Berkeley, California
    March 17, 2009 at 17:54

    Obviously people have long struggled with this question of evil and free will… a recurring trope in science fiction and fantasy is that of the “brain wipe,” the idea that horrible criminals could be sort of psychically cleansed and then start on a new life under a new identity. (This is fantasy! I’m just saying there are lots of possibilities to be considered.)

  60. 61 Nina from Utah
    March 17, 2009 at 17:54

    Ha-ha-ha…He blames his mother for Bullying him?!!! I was abused by my father and I have grown up to be a very kind and responsible person. The way someone treated you as a child is no excuse to abuse children or women, or anyone!

    Heath Ledger playing Jocker in The Dark Knight aswers the question “should we try to anderstand him” very well. There are people who like cheos, who like killing, abusing and causing pain for no real reason besides the fact that they LIKE IT. There is no cure for these individuals…

  61. 62 Brian, in Berlin, Germany
    March 17, 2009 at 18:09

    The question should perhaps focus on Austria itself. The petit-bourgois, uptight, “alles in ordnung” society seems to have assumed that because Fritzl kept his windows clean or whatever, he must be “one of us”, a good citizen. Until Austrians – of course not all but, in my experience, many – accept that the world has changed from the 1950s, there will always be so-called “monsters”, at the extreme edges of a prim and prissy society, protected by their superficial adherence to the norm.

  62. 63 Todd in Atlanta GA
    March 17, 2009 at 18:09

    My instinctive response to this vile man is to lock him up in a dark cold place and throw away the key.

    …society needs to fully understand how and why people like this become the monsters they are. We don’t need to see this happening again.

    Getting rid of him might provide punishment, but then we’d have to bring him out again years later, for him to provide insight into someone else doing the same thing, or even worse.

  63. 64 Anthony
    March 17, 2009 at 18:14

    How can you blame the neighbors? I just found out my neighbor moved out, and I live in an apartment complex. I have no idea what my neighbors do, or what they’re into. You can’t start blaming a bunch of people that don’t deserve it when things like this comes up. If we can blame them, then extremists and the world can blame you’re average American for innocent deaths in the Middle East.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  64. 65 patti in florida
    March 17, 2009 at 18:19

    Try to understand him? Maybe that would be useful, as long as it does not take one iota of punishment off of him. Maybe this is the least of what he did, but it strikes me as particularly evil that he took vacations, getting massages from young girls on a beach while his family languished in a basement. There is so much more to say, but I would probably just be repeating what most people feel, it makes me sick to think about it…

  65. 66 Chad in Tennessee
    March 17, 2009 at 18:24

    This is not a thing to be studied or rationalized. And I personally believe that anyone capable of doing so should seek immediate professional help because one would have to be as insane as he is to even fathom it!

  66. March 17, 2009 at 18:25

    It is not necessary to understand Josef Fritzl. The ability of people to commit the crimes he may have committed will not decrease if our understanding of them increases. Rather than waste resources on rehabilitating people like Josef Fritzl and other dangers to the public, we should use money to keep them away from the public so the public will be safe. The safety of the public is the only thing we need to think about. The feelings of criminals shouldn’t be considered.

  67. 68 AL
    March 17, 2009 at 18:28

    If we want to understand why he did what he did – we must try to understand why it is that so many men hate women and feel the need to have power over them. Only then can we begin to prevent this happening again.

  68. 69 Karina, Michigan
    March 17, 2009 at 18:30

    He forfeited his right to live when he first laid hands on his daughter. People who commit these heinous crimes give up their right to be considered as human beings.

    It is a conscious decision and they must face the consequences: the death penalty. (Maybe that will finally be a deterrent to others.)

    Why should the society pay for someone to study him or provide tax dollars to support him in jail for the rest of his life? Shouldn’t those resources go to providing counseling services for his daughter and therapy for the children instead?

  69. March 17, 2009 at 18:30

    Understand What !!!!!!

    This is a man who abused a helpless child!!, and that is the whole matter!!.

    I think he should he locked up in solitary confinement, and not be allowed to see the light of day for the rest of his life, be done unto him what he inflicted upon his daughter.

    No quick punishment of hanging or being shot to death.

    This kind of punishment will also act as a deterrent.

  70. 71 CJ McAuley
    March 17, 2009 at 18:30

    Try to understand him? Sure, make work for more psychologists and psychiatrists! The a paper will be published, and read by their ilk, so they too can make money be writing books! A totally disgusting pervert like this should be put on a plane over the Atlantic ocean and pushed off it! Do not even waste the rope or bullets on him! If not that; then a truly just punishment: locked in a cell for the rest of his life.

  71. 72 Josiah Soap, USA
    March 17, 2009 at 18:31

    I think we should try to understand what his extended family were up to (wife and other kids). There is asolutely no way that they weren’t in on this. Think about it, if dad dissapears into the basement for hours on end – you go looking for him but can’t find him. Then you find a secret door that is always locked. – And they didn’t suspect anything for 24 years, just think back 24yrs, how long that is. They must have known something fishy was going on.

  72. March 17, 2009 at 18:33

    I think punishment is the key. If the sentences for these type of crimes include some kind actual torture, it would make people think twice about commiting these crimes.

  73. 74 Chris
    March 17, 2009 at 18:35

    This case shocked me immensely, and I think it would be beneficial to try to understand this man.

    One question that comes to mind:
    Is his evil – spanned over 24 years or more – any more evil than the man who does this sort of thing for 5 years, or one year – or just once?

    Are these people all suffering from the same ‘disease’?

    Can we prevent this? I don’t think so – not every time – but if we educate people with what we know – then maybe less of this will happen.

    Killing this man is probably what many want to do – but I say, let him suffer in jail – preferably hard labour included – maybe Siberia!

  74. 75 Joy
    March 17, 2009 at 18:37

    How can we understand pure evil? We cannot comprehend these acts or the motives behind them. The problem is that almost all child molesters are antisocial, withdrawn, and reclusive. It is hard to “find” or pinpoint molesters who withdraw into their own world and pop out every once in awhile to drag someone else into their sick existence. How long do we have to debate this issue until government and society realizes that molesters are not treatable? Once established that someone is a molester, they cannot roam free in society. That is where our responsibility lies.

  75. 76 VictorK
    March 17, 2009 at 18:37

    Only someone as corrupted as Fritzl could ever understand him.

  76. 77 mutaz yousif
    March 17, 2009 at 18:39

    I think we should understand why he did what he did?

  77. 78 Melody
    March 17, 2009 at 18:42

    We have to remember that fathers commit incest on daughters all the time – and most of the time no one finds out about it (also uncles, cousins, step-fathers, mom’s boyfriends, etc.) They tell the girls it’s their own little secret, don’t tell anyone because it would hurt mom, or they threaten them. If they get caught they’re thrown in jail for a while and get labelled as sex offenders when they get out of jail These poor daughters might as well be stuck in the basement. Hopefully they can get away from the house, but their minds will never be free of the atrocity.
    Somehow we are more horrified at the enormity of Herr Fritzl’s crime just because the secret was kept so long, his daughter never got away, she had to bear his children. We should try to understand how any father could actually rape his own daughter once or a hundred times and think it’s OK. They are no better than Herr Fritzl. There’s no question that he should have to be in jail forever and be subjected to every test possible to try to understand why he did what he did, but so should other fathers who do the same thing.

  78. March 17, 2009 at 18:46

    It is absolutely ludicrous to speak of Fritzl’s behavior as abhorrent when the vast majority of you support this same behavior against every other species on the planet every day. The arguments that somehow separate this behavior against humans are as thin and unsupportable as the delusions the people like Fritzl use to justify their actions. And why arrest Fritzl when these same actions are being committed by the millions around the globe against humans and the world simply debates rights of sovereignty and levels of aid. You don’t need to spend millions analyzing Fritzl; just look in the mirror.

  79. 80 robin burke
    March 17, 2009 at 18:48

    Hello WHYS, I just tuned in & haven’t read the other posts yet. Of course we should try to understand. I think something we overlook everyday is that in cities, there is less & less a sense of community the bigger & more impersonal a city gets. I grew up in a town in Ireland & now live in Berlin. I’ve been here 2 years in the same appartment & still don’t know my neighbours names, I’ve said hello to them & they look at me as if I’ve just said something rude.
    My point being that if people are so impersonal to eachother on a day to day basis, then people like Fritzel fly under the radar & aren’t discovered until far to much damage is done.
    It asks bigger questions about the differences bwtween public/private life & a sense of community.

  80. 81 Linda
    March 17, 2009 at 18:49

    Let’s suppose for a moment that psychologists and psychologists discover the underlying cause of such maladies by studying these cases. Perhaps they find a combination of genetic sequences with environmental situations as contributing factors.

    Now what do we as a society do about it? Test all children’s gene sequences at birth for the presence of the “evil genes?” What a dilemma for privacy rights!

  81. 82 Michelle from Jamaica
    March 17, 2009 at 18:54

    Have any of the studies done on cerial killers provided any useful information so far? How can this information be used to help others. How will we identify these persons before they commit their acts?

  82. 83 Kristine
    March 17, 2009 at 18:54

    I agree in part that you should try to understand why an individual would commit such inhumane and atrocious acts, but that is only the first step. So after this individual is analyzed, and poked and prodded and we have a window into the cause of his abominable actions, what then? How do we prevent this from happening again? What does it mean now that we understand? What do we do now? Understanding is only the first step.

  83. 84 Chad in Tennessee
    March 17, 2009 at 18:56

    I keep hearing people say that this man was a victim at some point, like that means something. What person on this planet has not been victimized? I come from a dysfunctional, broken family myself. But I could never even conceive of such a horror, nor could most human-beings. Having a bad mommy is something many people come through just fine. Nothing in this mans past could ever justify the living hell he has put his family through. I would not even want to think about trying to understand what he has done or why he did it because I think if I were able to do so I would never sleep again.

  84. March 17, 2009 at 18:59

    whenever a father starts misusing, abusing his daughter he does not stop unless he is stoppped by others.
    therefore stop before the first time (smoking, drinking, drugs, sex with kids)
    and every evil begins with a thought!!!!
    how people cover up their evildoing depends on their personality

  85. 86 Nkem
    March 17, 2009 at 19:03

    We may want to understand him, but I am curious as to why he didn’t seek help at any point in his life. Was he the only child of his mother? Did his brothers and sisters abuse their own kids? He might be sick, but he should not be excused for his actions and for not seeking help. He was smart enough to hide everything he was doing.

  86. 87 Sanyu
    March 17, 2009 at 19:17

    No man is an island. The post that seems to find nothing strange about not knowing the people next door to you in an apartment complex is telling. When a society becomes atomised to this extent, there are no “neighbours” to notice that alls not well, or if they do, as long as the grass is cut, the garbage collected, and there’re no screams in the night, they will respect the “neighbour’s” “privacy”, as their society has raised them to.
    Mr. Fritzel is a monster, but he is also the man in the mirror.

  87. 88 kamscy
    March 17, 2009 at 19:41

    This is not the first time such crime has happened; however, it’s the first I’ve heard of such lasting over 20 yrs. They had kids. Locked up.

    Locking them up for so long, implies this guy knew what he was doing was wrong and didn’t want others knowing. Carrying on for so long in such a fashion implies lots of premeditation. That would mean he had insight so I don’t see how we can justify this psychiatric slant. Blaming his mother is trying to refuse responsiblity for his actions.

    He is not theonly guilty one. In fact the authorities and those who lived in that house who turned a blind eye and ignored the cry for help should also be prosecuted.

    I won’t bother trying to understand the criminal. What I’d want to understand is the action of the neighbours and authorities.

  88. 89 Marek, Prague, Czech Rep.
    March 17, 2009 at 19:44

    I feel that there is no conflict in calling Mr. Fritzl a monster and still trying our best to understand his deeds for securing prevention in the future. It is the matter of a particular question or an aspect you are judging on. By calling him monster you judge his deeds done to a member of your society or your comunity. You actually judge breaching basic values on which your comunity stands. Whitout them, you feel your comunity would not exist and therefore it is so much shocking for you. Than, from this position calling Mr. Fritz “evil” or “monster” perfectly fits. The more you are a member of your comunity, your family, the more intensly his crime troubles you. On the other hand, if you are trying to answer the questin whether we should study this man as much as possible, than the reply should be YES as well. Since without propper understanding of the many reasons behind his evil, monsterish deeds, you cannot make prevention of something simillar to happen. But understanding doesn´t equal forgiveness nor that the man shoud walk away with no or weak punishment. The evil man should be inprisoned for the rest of his life. Or what else in the world could you call evil, if not that what he did (no matter what the psychological reasons where)???

  89. 90 Carl
    March 17, 2009 at 19:52

    This debate is more like like the hooligans in a football match, bringing up issues like in which way this man should be punished. Its hard to beleive such methods are mentioned like castrating, hanging etc in the western society, and It certainly contradicts our human rights efforts.

    I believe there is forgiveness for Josef Fritzl, and that Jesus would have made him a diciple. Jesus followers and friends were outcasts and low rank people as we read the bible, and im sure Jesus would be honored to have a big sinner dedicated to follow him.

    I’m rude enough to mention Jesus in my reply, in a society where our religious heritage is changed as the public opinions, governments, or popes change Because this debate clearly shows that the root of Christianity, which is forgiveness, for many people is out of the question.

    Its a family tragedy, most would agree to that. His wife and children living in a sphere of unfulfilled love from Joseph Fritzl, perhaps knowledge of the truth of his actions, a hope that he would change, his manipulations and their fear. His own guilt, wish to change things, being unable because he made himself a fortess, whitstandable of any truthful confrontation.

    I think he should be responsible for what he did, but issues being brought up in the heat of the debate, death penalty and other ways of punishing him, is a great shame.

    Its not the time to discuss death penalty, its not god to respond to our own anger, there will be no good outcome of the crowds demanding him hanged or shot. Im very thankful to hear one of the wonderful speakers in the show speaking about how Josep Fritzl could perhaps one day being able to understand and help other criminals.

    My compassion and hopes to all the victims in this case, including Joseph Fritzl

  90. 91 Terry Sim
    March 17, 2009 at 20:54

    I don’t think we should listen to him or try to understand him,
    He didn’t offer any human compation to his own offspring,

    I hope he lives a very long & sad life where he is reminded every hour of every day of what he has done,
    Lock him up in a tiny cell with no natural light,
    Give him the same as he gave.
    It’s time we stopped giving evil people any rights, If we show the world that you get back what you dish out, these monsters will think long & hard about doing it in the 1st place.

  91. 92 Dennis Junior
    March 17, 2009 at 22:16

    No, we don’t need to understand Mr. Fritzl….

    Give him the fair trial and lock him up in prison for the sentence in the prison…..

    ~Dennis Junior~

  92. 93 Angel, Salt Lake City
    March 17, 2009 at 22:45

    This man deserves a DEATH sentence. If you put him in prison, will he experience what he made his daughter and children go through? No. He will live there in relative comfort treasuring the thought of breaking ouf of prison one day. In comparison to what he did to her and her children, no punishment is sufficient. Let God punish him in the afterlife to the measure which he deserves.

  93. 94 Archibald in Oregon
    March 17, 2009 at 23:38

    Steve, this is not the same as terrorism. Extremists are another subject, they have myriad motivations, many of which are not always of their making, nor their delight . Fritzl is a deeply disturbed psychopath, he made his own bed, in which he now must sleep and hopefully die, soon.
    Terrorism comes in many varieties, some legitimate; survival against a superior invading force for example, and some not; beheadings and torture. Many forms of terrorism are as abhorrent as Fritzl and should be shown little mercy, but, some actions in desperation (ie. a crime of passion) can be psychologically justified and should bear further consideration beyond just the all encompassing word, “TERRORISM”.

  94. 95 Helen
    March 18, 2009 at 00:53

    I agree with Robin.

  95. 96 Laurie
    March 18, 2009 at 01:05

    As I listened to Dr. Johnson (?) speak about his ‘successes’ with killers, I couldn’t help but wonder what his expertise is with someone who ISN’T a serial killer or mass murderer. I thought he came off very arrogant, yakking about what HE had prevented in the prison, but there was no rebuttal, therefore no proof about his counseling being the reason for less violence…so I would question the validity of any of his statements, especially the thing about humanity being basically non-violent. Violence is everywhere, and your upbringing and exposure to it shapes the adult you become. I don’t think that a mother ‘bullying’ a man like Fritzl could cause him to do the terrible thing he has done. He had something wrong with him, a basic ‘crossed wire’ in his brain, if you will, to have committed these terrible things. Psychopaths have learned that blaming their childhood could garner sympathy for their atrocities; ie: he couldn’t help it, he was abused as a child. Certainly, some abuses could cause extreme trauma, but this man didn’t become a serial killer, or a mass murderer. He took one of his children into the cellar, and held her hostage. (Not to mention the sex and children part.)
    I just wonder how did Fritzl keep all of this from his wife? Could she really not hear babies crying in the cellar? How was the food and clothing smuggled into the cellar? I think that woman has more knowledge than she is letting on.
    Josef Fritzl is a twisted individual who should be put in a cellar, and kept there for 24 years, like his daughter, with no contact with the outside world. And maybe this psychiatrist from the program today should be his next door neighbor. Then he could study Fritzl for many years, and also gain some humility at the same time.

  96. 97 Daniel Berg
    March 18, 2009 at 01:41

    I think we should use him and others that have commited similar crimes to research and find possible solutions to preventing this from happening again. Psychological trends from people that may have been abused before. He should no doubt be locked up for his crimes, but not in prison. Has anyone heard about history repeating itself? Could this be one of those things?

  97. 98 umoh. amos (from Nigeria)
    March 18, 2009 at 07:00

    This guy should be put in a dungeon. That exactly where he belongs period.

  98. 99 Didar
    March 18, 2009 at 07:10

    this guy should be sent to the firing squad…….

  99. 100 Swarnalakshmi
    March 18, 2009 at 08:20

    Josef Fritzl is a psyche. He needs to be punished. No sensible man will do such a thing to his own daughter.

  100. March 18, 2009 at 08:36

    for those who follow constitutions and their laid down laws alone,already this guy is understood by them as being a SUSPECT until proven guilty.and for those who just dont follow laid down constitutions alone but even facts,this guys actions are both SINFULL and a CRIME.
    furthermore,this father has been selfish all this years,denying a would be son in law his natural rights.


  101. March 18, 2009 at 09:17

    and no matter what terms psychiatrists come up with,one thing for sure is that this father’s actions are BAD MANNERS.am eager to say his paintings whilst in prison.


  102. 103 Bhupendra
    March 18, 2009 at 11:02

    He had a terrible mother so he raped his daughters? What is there to understand, he’s a monster! And as for trying to rehabilitate him, what are you trying to achieve? He has committed an unforgivable crime now, punish him.

  103. 104 Miranda
    March 18, 2009 at 13:07

    Why should we try and understand him or WHY he did what he did? Most people who turn to such violence, such distasteful measures, need no motive. Sure, he had a bad upbringing. That, in no way, justifies or even provides suitable reasoning for WHY he did what he did to his daughter and “grandchildren.” This “pity” card he has pulled about his own mother is just a excuse that isn’t even worth listening too. Surely his mother is no longer alive, who are we to even believe that his accusations about his mother are true? He hid the fact that he was beating, raping, and killing in his own house from everyone, the man can not be deemed honest by any means.

    Overall, he is a evil, MONSTER (yes I said it) that does not even deserve to be classified as part of the human race. This goes for all those that can rape, kill, and hold their OWN CHILD hostage in their OWN HOUSE for any length of time, especially 24 years.

    For those of you who think that we should dissect his brain and find motives as to why he did such awful things, go for it. No psychiatrist, at any level, can explain the evil that lurks within this man. After all, who knows the lies that will come out of this mouth next. It sounds horrible to portray someone in this light, but really consider what he has done to other human beings. His daughter did not deserve or ask for what has been done to her and her children will forever be harmed by what they have seen and experienced in their first short years of life.

    Being a Christian, others may judge what I am saying as hypocritical and not being of “Christian Love. “ Take a look in the Bible, when someone hurt a member of your family, they turned them over to the family to do what they wanted to with them. This man deserves to be hurt as badly as his daughter was in turn for his horrid actions. People like this do not deserve second chances, he had 24 years to ponder over exactly what he was doing, and he had 24 years to stop what he was doing. Did he? No. What makes anyone think that a few more years will suddenly “cure” him. Help or no help.

    Surely the wrath of God will fall on this man, and surely he will rot in hell. Such evil, I do not believe, can prevail from someone who is not evil themselves.

    Lock him away, give him a early death, and let him meet his maker.

  104. 105 Chipo Tendai C
    March 18, 2009 at 13:09

    it can be sayed that each parent has a way of raising there children what our collgue did is certainly one way we should never try to do. in as much as he may need our understanding he also should have tried to understand what were the needs of his daugther.

  105. 106 Ameer
    March 18, 2009 at 13:32

    This guy can’t be considered as a human being. He should be punished in such a way that no one dares to think about doing a crime of this nature. I Couldn’t imagine that I live in a world where such a human being lives, who could do this to his own child. It is disgusting. I pray for the wellbeing of the Victim and the children.

  106. 107 manfred
    March 18, 2009 at 13:58

    there is nothing to understand about josef, thats the problem with the western world it is easy for someone to do something wrong and blame it on the abuse one went through,how do you rape your own daughter and blame it on the way your parents or parent did to you?in africa, zambia in particular no one can understand that because the daughter is innocent! that can only be heard maybe if he was doing that to his old mother if she where around.now how do we prevent such a thing happening to someone esle?stiff punishment and thats the only solution.seriously i wish you could leave me with josef with him tide up and i with a chainsaw then you would see if anyone would dare to do such a think in europe or any where else.


  107. 108 Mekonnen
    March 18, 2009 at 14:43

    Just KILL him!!!

  108. 109 Raggie G. Wynter, Jamaica
    March 18, 2009 at 15:32

    There is a principle in law that states that a man cannot be sentenced unless he understands what he has done and charged with. It would therefore suggest that the rational thing to do is to atteempt to understand Josef, his actions, thinking and motives so that when faced with a similar ‘monster’ then the society can take corrective measures against such.

    It is the job of a penal facility not just to deprive an individual of his liberty, but to restore such a one so that he may function within the confines of normalcy wherenver/whenever released.

    Our own emotions should be divorced from the subject at hand so that rationality and the rule of law be applied stringently.

  109. 110 habila bature
    March 18, 2009 at 20:43

    Yeah i think we should reason with josef .come to think of it this guy may be having a kind of mental illness or something it is only after we have verified that, then we can go ahead to nail or condemn the poor man.

  110. March 18, 2009 at 21:55

    Frietzel doesnt fool me.I know his type.He is not remorseful at all.He is just sorry he got caught.I hope he doesnt fool the Austians.

  111. 112 benjy
    March 19, 2009 at 00:20

    There is absolutely no justification to what he has done. If he were truly ‘sick’, he would be doing what he did to every single person that he did. But the fact that he was able to comprehend that there are certain people he could take advantage of and certain people he should not take advantage of indicates cunning and reasoning. People who are educationally subnormal hit people when they are angry, regardless if you are the Pope or the President. It is clear that Josef is not subnormal in any way.

    Yes, understand him and ensure that changes be made to the social fabric that we see today. There is a certain level of apathy and conceitedness, selfishness and disconnectivity that seems to be increasing these days, and this case has clearly illustrated the worst case scenario of this. Primary, secondary and tertiary interventions are easy to come about, but implementing them would take time and resource, of which I am not sure if anyone including governments would be willing to do.

    But at the end of the day, someone like Josef should be punished to the harshest possible within Austrian law, because he committed a crime with a sound mind, and robbed someone else of her life, dignity and self respect. Factor in time and the fact that the girl is actually his daughter makes him the worst scum of the earth. I seriously do not care if he understands how wrong his actions are and I completely disagree with the idea that he should work to support the children. They do not need the money and the thought of the money coming from such a monster would be terribly frightful.

    Think about it: if Josef had done it to a Minister’s daughter, etc. or someone high up in power, I would reckon that the death penalty would be seriously considered before anything else.

  112. 113 Nina S.
    March 19, 2009 at 08:27

    He’s obviously a very disturbed person and he’s done what he’s done, and he will be punished – though there probably isn’t any adequate punishment for this. He’s a lost cause as a person. But what we should be trying to understand is how his family is going to go on. Why hasn’t any of the media so far focused on the impact on his children. How are they coping? What’s going to happen to them next? How does one overcome 20 years of imprisonment and abuse by their father. I’m curious, too: how are the little kids faring, physically. Are they even healthy? Birth by incest has terrible consequences for the health of a child, doesn’t it? Are they getting the support and treatment they need? This is something no one has talked about, because we’re so focused on Josef.

  113. 114 Christy - Florida
    March 19, 2009 at 13:03

    Where are the children born into this nightmare? Where is the mother of the daughter Fritzel abused? Where are her siblings? SOMEONE knew this was happening, and turned their head allowing it to continue. I would have shanked this monster the first chance I had, and would gladly be the one to pull the trigger on him now. He is a waste of oxygen in my eyes. I do not want to understand him, I do not want to blame his mother, I do not want to blame anyone but HIM for this! We know what he did, now we want to know where the children are and if they are receiving proper medical and mental help! I care about the children most of all! And I will be the first to volunteer adopting one of them if it would insure at least one of the child has a proper childhood and stable home life. I am just sick over this story, and for us one day the story will stop but for these helpless children the nightmare will never end! God bless them, and bring peace to their minds and souls. They are the innocent ones in all of this.

  114. 115 Jennifer
    March 19, 2009 at 15:36

    I don’t believe that there is anything to learn from this man. He is a monster!

  115. March 20, 2009 at 07:16

    one important thing people all over the world must never forget is that the shame that this fatherer is said to have felt whilst in the court room,is just the shame you only get when youve been buzted.when he used to know that the daughter is in the cellar,this guy never felt shame….any way,rather than do such a sin and crime like this Austrian father,i would rather drink TUSKER,an awful dirty kenyan beer.

    (western province,kenya.)

  116. 117 Feni
    March 20, 2009 at 09:17

    We must find out the reason inter-acting behind such act. Why did he do it? We must make an in-depth probe in his past & present in details: family background, schooling, social environment, neighbours, statement in court, court’s hearing, verdict, analysis from criminologist etc all should be investigated & analyzed in order to extract the exact reason. As education is a life long process, we should learn a lesson from Josef Fritz. It’ll help us in many ways in trying for a perversion-free world. He will be judged by the court of justice besides. Court is wise enough to discharge its duty. Let’s try for a perversion-free world. God help us all. Amen……..!

  117. March 20, 2009 at 09:22

    I’ll say he is simply human turned monster. If his testimony is true, there is something for us to learn from him. Especially this issue of child abuse by parents. He is simply a victim of circumstance. lets not be fast to place judgement on him, People!

  118. 119 Albert chikalusa
    March 20, 2009 at 09:33

    There is no way we can understand him coz under normal circumstanceis ths man was supposed to respect himself. i can give my own experience at home where my first born daugher is over 20years now but the moment my wife is not at home and its only the two of us i mean my daughter and i i do not feel confortable and i make sure i find something to do outside and sometimes i take my lunch in town as amatter of respect to her so this man Fritzl what was wrong with him if it were in my culture peoplle were going to say it is the power of witchcraft

  119. 120 chascates
    March 20, 2009 at 17:05

    I think the country should be commended for having the trial so quickly. Here in the States it would have taken 3-4 years to come to trial, the trial would have lasted 6 months, and then the appeals process would have lasted 10-15 years!
    Austria may have a culture of not being overly curious about one’s neighbors but similar horrors happen everywhere. Our country holds the record for serial killers and killing sprees.

  120. 121 deedee
    March 20, 2009 at 17:09

    What I want the world to hear is that this is not an isolated case!
    There was someone in the US here that kept a sex slave whom he tortured and raped for 4 years in a coffin in his basement until his wife set her free, naked in the cold, because she couldn’t stand her screaming anymore. When asked why she didn’t let the woman out earlier, she replied: “because I knew if I didn’t let him have her, he would be doing this to me or one of our 4 daughters”
    We must find the rest of the women and sex slaves all over the world and set them all free!

  121. March 20, 2009 at 17:13


    he committed heinous crime,
    he committed horrendous crime,
    great sin,
    not allowed by God the lard,
    and the land of the land world also.

    I am disagree with punishment,
    it is not enough,
    imprisionment of life?
    in fact ,he has no right to live on this earth,
    finish it just finish it.

    In case,
    he remain live,
    we can’t have proud on ourself,
    being a humanbeing.

  122. 123 Rastaban
    March 21, 2009 at 07:34

    I think it’s fine to attempt to “understand” the evil that is Fritzl but his mother cannot be held responsible for his horrendous deeds. He perpetuates his evil even father than the dungeon ordeal by dragging his mother into it. It’s part of what makes him a predator. He drags his daughter into his dungeon and keeps her there and he drags the memory of his mother into his evil after her death. It’s who he is, the same man that attempted to tell investigators and the public that his daughter had consensual sex with him.

    If any credence is to be given to a sociopath like that, especially when he has demonstrated a clear will to deceive and prey upon others, then no, please don’t try to “understand” him. You’ll only serve as a tentacle extending from his heartless soul. The local townspeople seem to have a lot of common sense in negating his existence and saying they’ve never heard of Fritzl. They know how not to be complicit in his evil, maybe because they are so close to him.

    The first thing I thought when I heard that his mother thought of him like Satan was, well, she was right. She was the first one in his life to see him for what he was. It’s too bad others didn’t catch on as quickly as his mother. I think when Elisabeth publishes her biography, then you can try to “understand” Fritzl, but only through her first.

  123. 124 Korahey matan
    March 22, 2009 at 03:23

    I think its questionable weather he is the real biological father of the girl !…. and if he is ,then i think there is somethin wrong with guy . it is vey impotant to find out those things before deciding it …he could be innocent i wouldnt encouraged quick decision .
    thaxs, am in minnesota ,USA. bye !

  124. March 22, 2009 at 11:40

    It is wrong to say,
    he is insane,he is not insane,

    he did all under a strict plan,
    kept his own daughter in solitary confinement for such long time 24 years
    during which she was thousand times raped,
    made mother of seven childern,
    one of died to whom he set on fire.

    he made his wife fool by telling her a wrong story,
    people living around could not know that what he was doing.

    We say he is insane,wrong,
    we say he is humanbeing wrong,
    we say he deserve sympathy is wrong,

    He is monster is right and liable to sever sentence.

  125. 126 bill_bains
    April 6, 2009 at 08:35

    fritzl is a cruel, pathetic, ugly, pervert and sex maniac. he is also an habitual liar, a bully, violent, a coward – all these things add narcissist and you have your classic narcissistic sociopath. There is nothing to understand about him, nothing to learn except that if a “man” is so depraved, cowardly and ultimeately disgusting and devious society can do very little to stop him. Society is based on a bare minimum of social behaviour, when a fritzl drives a coach and horses through any sense of acceptable behaviour – the victim is practically powerless to stop him.
    fritzl is an example of a ridiculous tyrant who chose his daughter to abuse and live out his fantasies so that he could split his life up into segments and satisfy himself, he chose her because he had access to her and he could create an impression that she was unstable and went to a cult to live. She was his victim because she was easy to kidnap and use as a sex toy – he had already groomed her from an early age – fritzl is shockingly pathetic and a totally rotten being (cant use the word human)

  126. 127 Florivette in Boston
    May 7, 2009 at 22:37

    ummm psychologists better understand him and study him faster cause we already have cases like
    Italy’s Josef Fritzl
    Colombian Fritzl
    British Fritzl…..

  127. 128 Jeanne
    May 13, 2009 at 03:17

    Yes we should try to understand how the deprivation and severe abuse in his childhood made him have such violent tendencies, and have no empathy for his own daughter. His mother beat him daily until he bled; he went on to beat his own children. His mother couldn’t properly show affection, didn’t want him, kept him from having friends. His mother made him an angry, perverted and messed up person.

    We need to acknowledge how childhoods affect people very profoundly, for their whole lives. This is vital to help prevent more Fritzls and other violent, perverted people from becoming that way to begin with. One thing we know for sure, people who are raised by loving, gentle parents who give lots of attention, approval and affection never turn into Fritzls.

    At the same time, Fritzl must be punished to the utmost extent possible. He is profoundly guilty. He must realize his sick crimes, be condemned by society, and imprisoned for life. Elisabeth and her children must have him locked away so they don’t have to ever see him again. He is not capable of rehabilitation. We can understand him, but not forgive him.

  128. 129 bill_bains
    May 14, 2009 at 10:49

    Jeanne – I understand your point of view, however I think you are thinking too logically about fritzl. This man made a conscious decision to own his daughter, he chose to kidnap her, tie her up in a particularly humiliating way so she would be “accessible” for sex when he wanted to rape her. He chose to degrade her, showed no mercy to her and did what he wanted to for his own clearly perverted and extraordinarily cruel gratification. The point here is that he admitted he knew what he was doing, I do agree with you when you say he is incapable of rehabilitation. Incapable because he enjoyed what he did and did it to satisfy himself without the burden of caring what he did. The pschyatrist who examined him said that he is totally sane “as sane as you and me”, he is “disturbed”, she added. The only thing that matters is what the victim wants – if she wants him to spend the rest of his purile, pathetic life in the cellar he inflicted on her – then she should have her way. If she wants him dead – then he should be killed, he has lost all human rights because of the enormity of what he has done, the sheer extent and duration of his cruelty is beyond words. Whatever Elisabeth wants, she should get – I know in our “liberal” society where the emphasis is on human rights, any real retribution on him is not possible – there is no point in studying a man who has created himself. The only time he cried in court while being questioned was when the subject of his mother came up – he cried because he was sad for himself – sad because he didnt get the love and care he wanted/expected. He didnt cry for what he did to his daughter or the children who lived in a dank dungeon all there lives because of him. He is totally self obsessed and will do the same again if ever freed. In the crazy Europe I live in he could even be freed one day – wheres the justice in that.

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