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Affable and unremarkable

JOSEF Fritzl was born on April 9, 1935, in Amstetten, a working-class town 75 miles west of Vienna.

He owned a number of properties in the region and paid his dues at the fishermen’s club. Most neighbours remember him as an affable, if unremarkable, fellow.

After mandatory schooling, Fritzl studied electric engineering at a polytechnic school and got a first job with steel company Voest. From 1969 to 1971 he worked for a construction material company in Amstetten, where he gained a reputation as an intelligent worker and a good technician. Then he went into the service industry and took over an inn 15 years ago.

Rosemarie, Elisabeth and her five other children, remained in psychiatric care this week. Clinic director Berthold Kepplinger said they were doing “quite well”.

Authorities, meanwhile, were deliberating the future of Kerstin and her two brothers, aged 5 and 18.

Officials have discussed the possibility of providing new names to the children, who “never saw sunlight” until they were freed from the basement last week.

Mr Kepplinger said Elisabeth has spoken “quite a lot” about what she went through in captivity.

“It was definitely dreadful for her and for her children,” he said.

The case started unfolding on April 19 when Kerstin was found unconscious and was taken to a hospital. After receiving a tip, police picked up Elisabeth and her father on Saturday. Fritzl freed the children the same day. Authorities have not disclosed who provided the tip.


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