Austrian Kidnap Victim Natascha Kampusch Purchases Kidnapper's House

She was kept in its cellar against her will for over eight years, but now Natascha Kampusch has purchased the home that was once her prison. The 20-year-old told a German magazine why she bought the "house of horrors."


Austrian kidnapping victim Natascha Kampusch
DPA/ ORF

Austrian kidnapping victim Natascha Kampusch

Austrian kidnapping victim Natascha Kampusch has purchased the home in which a man held her captive for over eight years in a cellar dungeon. "I know it's grotesque -- I now have to pay the electricity, water and taxes on a house I never wanted to live in," she told the German magazine Bunte. But she said she would prefer to own the home herself to protect it from vandals and keep it from being torn down to build row houses.

The 20-year-old also told the magazine that she has visited the house since she escaped from her kidnapper on August 23, 2006. "Nothing is as threatening as it was back then," she said. "But at the same time, it's still a house of horrors for me." Wolfgang Priklopil kidnapped Kampusch, then just 10 years old, on her way to school. For eight and a half years, he held her captive in his home. Priklopil committed suicide by jumping in front of a train the day Kampusch escaped.

Kampusch told the magazine that the current incest drama in the Austrian city of Amstetten reminded her of her own experience. "My stomach churned when I saw the pictures," she said. "I felt really sick. All the emotions that I've carefully tried to suppress were suddenly there again. It's very stressful."

She described Josef Fritzl, the man who kept his daughter locked in a basement dungeon for 24 years and sired seven children with her as "self-loving" and a "serious egoist." "He doesn't care about anyone but himself," she said, "and it's monstrous for him to claim that he loves his wife and his daughter. ... What he did was sick." She also said she would be willing to help Elisabeth Fritzl and her family come to terms with what happened to them, "but only if they need it. If they don't want my help, then I'm not going to force myself on them," she said.

Speaking of her own time in captivity, Kampusch said: "It's a very dark past. It's as if I lost my memory and have now started a completely new life."

Nearly two years after her escape, Kampusch still requires the help of doctors, psychologists, teachers, social workers and her family, she told Bunte. She lives on her own and is currently homeschooling to catch up on years of missed education. "They're all trying to help me so that I can someday lead a normal life," she said, "but it's going to be tough for me." Kampusch said she was interested in medicine, technology and the arts, and that she would like to attend university as soon as possible.

dsl/ap

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