His name has gone down in the history books: Josef Fritzl will forever be remembered as someone who committed particularly unscrupulous, cruel and selfish criminals. Fritzl locked his own daughter in a basement dungeon for 24 years, repeatedly raped her there and fathered several children with her. A baby died shortly after birth. He had lied to those around him and also to his wife over the years – the daughter had joined a sect and ran away, he claimed. In 2008 his unbelievable double life was exposed, in 2009 he was convicted. To life imprisonment.

However, the so-called “life imprisonment” in Austria, like in Germany, is reviewed after a certain period of time. Theoretically, an earlier dismissal, after about 15 years, is then possible. And in the case of the “incest monster”, as several media called him, that would have been an option. At least the 87-year-old seems to have done well in prison: his lawyer Astrid Wagner told the “Bild”: “Fritzl is extremely popular with most of his fellow prisoners, he is polite and very charming.” He worked as a caretaker for a long time until signs of physical aging put an end to it. “Now he sits in his cell most of the time. He grows a lot of fruit and vegetables that he eats himself.”

And he wrote his memoirs: “The abysses of Josef F.” was created together with his lawyer. “Josef Fritzl had sent me a letter from his cell. In it he wrote that he had written his autobiography. He needed help with the publication, but also legal assistance. I agreed,” says Astrid Wagner. While the criminal wants to go public with his story and even earn money with it, his daughter Elisabeth has withdrawn to a small village that is not to be made public. She finally wants to lead a normal life and never see her father again, as she told the police during the interrogation.

And yet he probably cannot count on premature grace. In 2022, an application was rejected that was intended to move Fritzl from a special prison for mentally ill criminals to a normal prison. An attempt to grant him freedom “under conditions” also failed. “We had a hearing, wanted conditional release from the measure, but it was rejected,” said his lawyer. The 87-year-old planned to move to a retirement home in his hometown of Amstetten after a possible release from prison if he were to be released. So to the place where he also held and tortured his daughter. It probably won’t come to that, even if his lawyer says: “Fritzl wants to grow old.”

Sources: “Spiegel”, “Bild”, “OE24”