What happened to Elisabeth Fritzl’s children after they escaped?

Bruno Cooke March 1, 2021
What happened to Elisabeth Fritzl’s children after they escaped?
Photo credit should read Helmut Fohringer/AFP via Getty Images

After the Fritzl case broke, Elisabeth Fritzl, her six surviving children (Lisa, Monika, Alexander, Kerstin, Stefan and Felix) and her mother (Rosemarie) received medical and psychological treatment in a local clinic. 

Those held captive in the cellar needed extra therapy to help them adjust to the light and space of the outside world. Where are Elisabeth Fritzl’s children now?

What happened to Elisabeth Fritzl’s children?

Elisabeth Fritzl had seven children while in captivity in the basement of her father’s home in Anstetten, Austria.

Kerstin, the eldest, was born 30 August 1988. Stefan (1 February 1990), Lisa (29 August 1992) and Monika (26 February 1994) followed.

On 28 April 1996, Elisabeth gave birth to twins, Alexander and Michael. Michael died after less than three days. On 16 December 2002, she gave birth to Felix.

Elisabeth’s father, Josef Fritzl, fathered all seven children.

Kerstin, Stefan and Felix spent their entire lives in the cellar until the story broke in 2008.

Josef arranged for Lisa, Monika and Alexander  to be “discovered” as foundlings outside the home. He and his wife Rosemarie (Elisabeth’s mother) brought them up themselves, while the other siblings and Elisabeth lived in the basement, unknown to Rosemarie.

Photo credit should read DIETER NAGL/AFP via Getty Images

Where are they now?

Austrian authorities offered Elisabeth and her six children new identities. Now, therefore, none of them live by their birth names.

With ages now ranging from 19 to 33, each of the children has adjusted to their new realities in different ways.

For example, there was a period during which “there was conflict between the cellar children and the upstairs family raised by their grandparents”, according to one of the carers who helped write Monster (quoted in The Sun).

“The day the upstairs children started calling Elisabeth ‘Mama’ was the day she knew she had won their hearts.”

As a result of their identity changes, little information is available about the fates of many of the children, now adults.

Kerstin, Stefan and Felix

Kerstin, Stefan and Felix lived entirely underground until 2008. 

Now 32, Kerstin apparently “loves music and clothes”. Her brother Stefan (31) dreamed of being a ship’s captain and seeing the world with his own eyes.

Felix attended school among peers who knew nothing of his past.

Elsewhere, The Sun reported in 2019 that Elisabeth was in a relationship with her bodyguard, Thomas Wagner. Wagner reportedly moved in to live with Elisabeth and her children.

Lisa, Monika and Alexander

As of 2013, Monika was allegedly preparing to go to university, while Lisa was finishing her school exams. Alexander was hoping to become a mechanical engineering apprentice.

Since they now have different names, and presumably seek to maintain a bubble of privacy around them, very little up to date information is available about Elisabeth Fritzl’s children today.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.