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Thursday, 19 March 2009

Elisabeth Fritzl

Among the unbearable horrors perpetrated by Josef Fritzl, for some reason, the image that sticks with me is of Elisabeth, aged 18, giving birth alone in a dark cellar, in pain, with nothing but a pair of rusty scissors and an old book on childbirth to help her. Fritzl didn't even bother to visit her for ten days after she gave birth. She must have been absolutely terrified. Under these nightmarish circumstances, it would have been understandable if she had ignored the baby or been unable to care for it. Instead, in the confines of her prison she taught that child and the others she was 'allowed' to keep, to read. She told them about life outside. She somehow managed to love them and be a mother to them. Instead of wallowing in the repellent details of Fritzl's behaviour, maybe we should also consider what an extraordinary woman Elisabeth is. He may have enslaved her for twenty four years, but he did not destroy her humanity.

8 comments:

Marina said...

Yep, she is really extraordinary. It pains me to think what she must have gone through in her life :(

Jane said...

It sounds trite but I hope she can find some peace - away from the lurid gaze of the press.

Kit Courteney said...

Perfectly put.

Ruth Moss said...

Yes, it makes me so sad to think of that... to think of the way she did everything she could for her children even despite the most difficult and painful circumstances.

Jane said...

I know! And the thing is, there are loads of really useless parents out there who abuse and neglect their children whereas she tried to love and care for hers in a tiny, damp cell. The Austrian Govt should take care of her for as long as she and her children need.

Anonymous said...

I hope she can have something of a normal life - its so sad that what should have been the best part of her life was stolen from her.

Juxtabook said...

An amazing woman. Like you I find her whole terrifying experience depressing, but that image of birth is truely shocking. All by yourself, over and over again, with no help or pain relief, or hand holder, and later with the older children having to comfort them and feed them whilst in labour with the next. She must have amazing strength and an amazing heart and I hope both can keep her going whilst she adjusts to life outside and living with her past.

Antonia said...

Well said. That woman deserves all the happiness she can get from life from now on. Not that she didn't deserve it before. I expect it will take a number of years to overcome the dread and fear brought about by what she's been through.