Anorak News | Josef Fritzl Case To Be A Film

Josef Fritzl Case To Be A Film

by | 17th, March 2009

FRITZL Watch: Anorak’s at-a-glance look at media treatment of Josef Fritzl – the film, the jury and the stench…

The case is being heard behind closed doors, away from the media. The court sits at 9am local time. Court spokesman Franz Cutka told one and all that due to the sensitivity of the trial, no details of the proceedings could be released. Which means news is sourced in a daily press briefing.

Everyone gets the same news. But how will it be framed..?

Daily Mirror:

Rudolf Mayer, 60, stunned the court by daring to portray Fritzl as a loving dad because he didn’t kill all seven of the children he fathered incestuously. As further evidence of Fritzl’s compassionate side, Mayer added that his client spent Christmas with his cellar family and took a sick Kerstin to hospital.

And he insisted Fritzl deserved credit for facing up to his crimes.

He told the jury: “You will hear claims that Josef Fritzl is a monster. But we need to see everything before you decide. He could have claimed that he was mentally unstable and tried to escape these proceedings. But he did not do so. He’s not trying to say he was mentally ill.”

Fritzl pleads sanity.


Jeremy Armstrong In Room 119, Courthouse, St Poelton, Austria. I was there:

The stench filled the courtroom in seconds – and everyone knew it was the smell of terror. It wafted chillingly from a small box handed to jurors by the court clerk. They opened it one by one and were faced with a piece of wall taken from Josef Fritzl’s horror dungeon. That fetid smell represented 24 years of suffering in a damp cellar, an unimaginable life of pain and torture hidden from the world.

I sat a few feet away as each juror carefully lifted the lid of the box. The woman juror closest to me grimaced as she closed it and handed it on, unable to hide her disgust as she glanced at Fritzl just feet away.

Prosecutor Christiane Burkheiser turned to the jury and asked: “Have you ever wondered what it was like in the cellar?” Then, handing them a box of items belonging to the family during their incarceration, she said grimly: “Smell them. That is what it was like down there.”

I, along with almost everyone in the room, watched Fritzl intently. But there was not a flicker of reaction, emotion or remorse.


Daily Telegraph: “Josef Fritzl trial: Elisabeth delivered babies in rat-infested dungeon”

Elisabeth Fritzl was forced to deliver her own babies in a rat-infested dungeon with nothing but a dog-eared book on pregnancy to help her, a jury was told.

The prosecutor, Christiane Burkheiser, told the jury that on August 29, 1984, Fritzl asked Elisabeth, then 18, to go to the cellar under the pretence that she should help him to carry a door into his garage.

But once she was there, he held an ether-soaked cloth over her face to knock her out, then dragged her into the 200 sq ft cellar he had spent months preparing as her prison.

“He took his daughter downstairs on the pretext he needed help moving a door, and he drugged her and dragged her into the cellar where he tied her up,” the prosecutor said.

“On the second day he put a noose around her waist which severely restricted her freedom even in the small room in which she was confined.

“How big was that room? It was 18 square metres – where she spent the next nine years.

“It is virtually the same size as the jury box in which you are sitting.”

The Guardian: “One judge, spare jurors and a man trying to show Fritzl as a human”

The defence lawyer

Rudolf Mayer, 60, is one of Austria’s most famous lawyers. In 1996 he defended two alleged neo-Nazis in the so-called “letter bomb trial”, during which he revealed the true perpetrator and succeeded in getting his two
clients acquitted.

He claims to have received death threats for the first time in his career since taking on Fritzl’s case, and says his job is “to show Josef Fritzl as a human”. Mayer claims that when Fritzl was offered his services, he said: “Yes, I know him from the TV!”

The prosecutor

Christiane Burkheiser, 33, has been working on the prosecution since Fritzl’s arrest last April. Lively and extroverted, she had only been in office for 10 months when she “inherited” the case, but has since compiled the 27-page indictment.

She is often seen around St Pölten with her black, flat-coated retriever, Jogi, who accompanies her to the office. To relax, she runs and has recently taken up ju-jitsu. She recently revealed the pressure of the case has caused her to start smoking again, five years after giving up.

The jury

It comprises people randomly chosen from lower Austria’s electoral roll,
aged between 25 and 65. There are 12 jurors sitting in on the trial but just eight of them will eventually return Friday’s verdict – four are on standby, ready to step in should any juror feel unable to hear the harrowing details of the case.

The accsued:

American Chronicle: “With a scraggy comb-over and a grey check jacket hanging from his gaunt frame, Fritzl hid his face behind a quivering blue binder.”

The tagline:

Elisabeth Fritzl was raped 3000 times

The play:

The Canberra Times: “DUNGEON HUMOUR”

A group of New Zealand performers have smashed the boundaries of good taste by creating a rock opera inspired by Josef Fritzl, the man who imprisoned his daughter Elisabeth in a home dungeon for 23 years, forcing her to have seven of his children. The Sunday Star-Times reports that the show, Das Roq Opera, will debut at the Dunedin Fringe Festival on March 26. It is described as a “flamboyant, Rocky Horror-style musical”.

The entertainment. The horror.

Posted: 17th, March 2009 | In: Reviews Comments (3) | TrackBack | Permalink