Monday, 8 January 2007

Natascha Kampusch on Austrian TV station ORFGermany-based journalist Allan Hall and fellow journalist Michael Leidig have released the first book about teenage abductee Natascha Kampusch, which I bought at the Angus & Robertson store in Burwood Westfield shopping centre just before Xmas.

Kampusch, it turns out, is very mature and has set limits on what she will disclose to the media. She has refused to reveal any evidence pointing to sexual abuse by Wolfgang Priklopil. Police believe that it did occur, but she won't say. She also refuses to blame her abductor:

"People were shocked that she wept for Priklopil. She wanted to go to his funeral but police would not let her. Instead she lit a candle beside his coffin in the hospital and spent 10 minutes alone with him. She does not totally condemn him. It must be some extreme form of Stockholm Syndrome, the bonding of captor and captive."

This bonding has been mentioned many times in relation to Kampusch and Priklopil. But Hall and Leidig go further, stating that Natascha was, in any case, even before the abduction, an unhappy child.

"She was a latchkey kid, frequently left home alone. She was unhappy, wet her bed, overweight and teased at school.

"If Priklopil knew her before he took her he may have felt he was saving her from a bad life. But she had already built up defences to deal with abuse and in that cellar became more than a match for the non-entity of the man who took her.

"One newspaper described her as 'the hostage from hell'. Priklopil didn't get the pliant little creature he was hoping for in Natascha Kampusch. She wasn't anybody's fool. She emerged from the ordeal alive. He didn't."

She's a survivor. I'm looking forward to reading the book, when I get a chance.

It seems that Kampusch has given two TV interviews: on 6 September and 18 December. ORF, the Austrian TV station that broadcast those interviews, provides information on its Web site about what Natascha is now doing:

She is undergoing a strict physical therapy to treat her joints and muscles, which have suffered greatly during the long years with almost no possibility to move at all. Other experts help her make up the lost time in school - right now she is studying to get her degrees from elementary school and Junior High.

Good luck to her. I hope she does well and gets a good job doing something she can enjoy. Ski instructor? Teacher? TV program host? We'll see.


callie said...

This has not been as closely followed here in the states and I just read your post & the included links - I'm fascinated, as I'm sure many are after reading these snippets.

I will have to add this to my TBR pile. Thanks -- I think!

Dean said...

I don't know what it is about this case that attracts me so. Possibly because she refused to visit her biological parents after her release. In any case, she seems really, really grown up to me. So maybe being kidnapped and sexually abused (if that's what actually happened) is not such a bad thing, after all.

It's just so odd!