August 26, 2006

The diary of Natascha Kampusch.

The Austrian girl held captive for 8 years, since the age of 10, kept a diary. Will she publish it? Imagine the rich offers she is hearing now and how strange it must be to have everyone lavishing attention on her after all these years of isolation. I wonder if, as she wrote those pages, she pictured a book that one day millions would read and if that made her feel she was not alone. The police officer who first interviewed her said she was amazed by her "intelligence, her vocabulary." Thinking of the girl's suffering, I feel heartened by the idea that she used her time -- deprived of schooling and stimulation -- to reach inside herself and discover a writer.


theMickey's said...

When I was un-employed for quite awhile I also used my spare time to to look inside and find out what I got(springsteen).
I too share your views about 'Natascha.'
Use your time wisely and productively.

theMickey's said...

like learning to spell....

Beth said...

I have to hope that her decision to write a journal might go a way towards helping her with the unavoidable psychological harm she's going to be dealing with. To be able to articulate on paper might have kept her sense of self alive.

It would be trite to call this a happy ending, but her survival, her writing, and the psycho's decision to kill himself are all good things.

jimbino said...

Just think: if she'd had hi-speed internet, she would have emerged much smarter than the Amerikan kid for whose 9-mo per year "education" we would have spent over $100,000 in the ten years! Drug-free, sober and abstinent, she also has the advantage of having skipped Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000 and (almost) Windows XP!

Dave said...

Wow Jim you're a classless idiot.

Beth said...

He is indeed, Dave; either that, or both you and I are completely lacking in sly, satirical wit about kidnapped, child sex slaves.

I'm Full of Soup said...

Yes Ann-If she is anything like you.

And btw, I was on vacation this past week (and since I don't routinely read the NYT) but do on vacation since my brother is a lib. But I was pleased to read your NYT oped. Nice job.

jimbino said...

Yes, Elisabeth, you are sorely lacking in something. I hate to have to spell it out yet again to the still-confined mind, but here it is:

1. Sex is good. (Though I read she just did vacuuming.) Anyhow, it is an indication of your own sickness to focus on sex. If I were imprisoned for a long period as a teenager, either by a kidnaper or my own damn gummint, I would choose sex, if given a choice, along with sunlight, defecation, urination, baths, green veggies, Linux and a Mac. What is it that you have against sex that you don't have against the other necessities or delights? Would you feel better if, instead of sex, shé been forced to eat a Big Mac every day?
2. Being kidnaped would in many cases be better than being an Amerikan kid imprisoned by his own parents. (Do you know anything about what life with her mother was like?) Natascha was spared having to dress up, attend church, say the rosary and the pledge of allegiance.

Beth said...

Okay, thanks for clearing that up, Jim. Now I understand.

knox said...

Jim's comments are always very deliberately inappropriate and extreme. read: boring by virtue of trying too hard.

Beth said...

boring by virtue of trying too hard.

heh heh. I like that.

Freeman Hunt said...

Her asking her father about the toy car was heartbreaking. She must have thought about that car often and about how she would play with it if she ever made it home.

If she publishes her journal, I would certainly buy a copy. Did she have hope that she would someday escape or was she resigned to a grim fate? What did she think of her captor, and did her attitude toward him change over time? What did she think about to occupy her time?

Ann Althouse said...

Yes, Freeman, the part about the car touched me too. It must have symbolized a lot to her, and the fact that he kept it meant that he preserved her place in the family and that she could go back even to the point in her youth where she left off if she wanted.

jimbino said...

Hunt and Althouse,

Your sentiments are touching, but they reveal more about your own insecurities and the editorializing of a clever reporter than they do about the realities of an Austrian teenager. If y'all had written the Diary of Anne Frank, nobody would be reading it!

Ann Althouse said...

Jim: WTF are you talking about?

jimbino said...


I'm talking about the PC talk-show bleeding-heart sentimenalism that bears more relation to your impressions of reality than to reality itself. Y'all must me members of some secret women's book club.

P_J said...

My theory: Jim is Quxxo.

Quxxo's last known appearance was as Jacques Cuze (a rather clever play on words, actually).

The name rendered Jacques in French has historically been rendered in English as James.

James = Jim.

Jim = Quxxo.

He's switched obsessions from psychiatry to full legal rights for minors, and has stopped the page length cut-and-paste, but he can't fool me.

Dave said...

Uhh Jacques is French for Jack, not James.

Abraham said...

Well, okay Jim: why do you think she asked about the car?

humbert said...

Am I the only one here getting turned on by this whole thing..?

I guess so.

Sasha Amorosa said...

Ann ~

I'm in Germany, and we are all horrified by this new development and we can't believe that we are aware of so much that is going on in the world, yet we know little about what is going on next door.

May this young girl find peace in the world she will encounter.

Shanna said...

"Her asking her father about the toy car was heartbreaking."
Yes, it really was. I was mostly scanning the article to see if they mentioned what had happened to her and then I got the part about the car and just choked up. Especially when the father said he had kept everything. So sweet.

Imagine that they actually brought the kidnapper in for questioning and then released him. If I were a policeman, I would be looking into how they could have caught him back when they brought him in.

David said...

Anyone who steals the innocence of a child, or anyone else for that matter, gives up the right to walk among us. The perp understood this and spared us the twinky defense or some equally absurd defense.

Closer to home, look at the trouble MEGAN's law is having getting passed. We, as a society worry more about the rights of rapists, pedophiles, child pornographers, and ACLU supported NAMBLA than we do about their victims.

This is a moral failure on the part of western society that is suicidally avoiding passing judgment on the value of our culture and our way of life.

Connect the dots if you will. The radical Islmaists already have and they are betting that we are on the road to self-destruction and dhimmitude.

John Q. Doe said...

David said "The radical Islmaists think we should flush the Bill of Rights down the toilet, so we should."

I disagree.

David said...

Eugenics PI;

I will not fall for the either/or rebuttal you present for consideration. Your argument from an intimidation standpoint is bogus.

Megan's law would keep those who prey on children off the streets for extended periods of time. The sentencing guidelines give too much latitude for interpretation
to Judges who dismiss rescidivism rates as beyond the scope of the instant case.

The efficacy of our Judicial system is suspect if we fail to pass common sense judgment in favor of mercy for illegal behavior. That failure and perversion of moral judgment is what weakens us as a society as we game our responsibility to be held accountable for our actions.

It appears that our society has moved in a direction that is afraid to pass judgment on behavior. The worry is that each of us may want to rely on mercy if we get caught doing something we know we shouldn't be doing.

The victim is always damaged! Who do we remember? The perp who is still alive waiting for a sentence to be carried out or the small coffin or destroyed life of the innocent?

P_J said...


Jacques is the French rendering of Jacob, which in English (at least historically) has been rendered James.

You could take the time to learn both French and koine Greek. Or you could look it up in a Greek-English-French New Testament.

James 1:1 reads,
"James, a servant of God..."
"Iakobos theou ..."
"Jacques, serviteur de Dieu ..."

And the "Uh, no..." thing is generally considered pretty rude and patronizing. Especially when you don't know what you're talking about.

nora said...

To those so certain of and vocal about Jim's depravity for joking...

Why do you think Natascha feels "patronized" by people thusfar? Here's why: It's because of sanctimonious observers who feel all icky inside unless they're dutifully, safely frowning and shaking their heads about how horrible it all is, disallowing themselves access to any imagination (and consequently, any real empathy for her) lest it make them sound strange or feel a little uncomfortable.

Natascha is reeling right now, but seems to have an underlying sense of humor about the whole thing that you're not acknowledging. I'll bet dollars to donuts that if given the choice of a confidant, she'd far prefer the company of someone like Jim over any of you, who post so glibly about "child sex slaves" and how "good" it is that the "psycho" killed himself.

Psycho, maybe, but he was HER psycho, see? You might want to consider forgiving this clearly very strong woman for the life she's led for the last 8 years.

And this blog was one of the first hits from a simple search on Natascha's name. Consider the very real possibility that she could be reading it very soon...

Step up, people. She's real.


p.s. David, you're simply a frightened little fascist making a big grown-up noise. Fuck off with your gutless drivel about something no one truly disagrees on in the first place.

sees said...

She's a brave young lady in more ways than one, and deserves better than to have people obsess about whether or not she was a sex slave and what things she had to do to survive.


IMO... Jim is a pedophile.

robert said...

What a strong person she must be to come out of her ordeal with such soft words for her captor. I have no need to know the intimate details of her captivity and I am glad to hear that she is safe now.

mrsizer said...

Ann, the quality of your commenters seems to be declining. There are a lot of good points raised, but with such vitriol. Could everyone try to remember that the comments are not posting themselves - there are real people on the other side. A "conversation" like this would start fights in most places if it took place in person.

The irony of pointing out examples is not lost on me; I shall not.

techgambit said...

If she indeed wrote her letter to the press conference then its impressive how she achieved this level of writing and vocabulary on her own (considering she was 8 years old).
Apparently she suffered from Stockholm syndrome , maybe the taker also sympatized with her and give her some education?

Auti33 said...


i´m writing this lines from Austria. The whole country is absolutly shocked and here in Vienna this unbelievable story happened and the press nontheless tries to reveal new details of Natascha Kampusch ordeal. Why I´m writing this is the fact, that here in Austria the police noted that "a lot of (maybe hundred) written sheets of paper where found (e.g. shopping lists) and now they must find out who has written them". They never mentioned that she had written a diary (that´s only a suggestion).

Rand said...

I find this story fascinating (in light of the mention of the Stockholm syndrome). Here in Canada there was a similar abduction in which the abductee was kept underground in squalor for around 6 - 8 years. After reading her statement and realising her strength, apparent sanity and intellect, the difference between the two abductions presented a strange thought to me.

Every child is born into the equivalent of the Stolkholm syndrome. Plucked from ??? by one or two people not of its choosing. Kept captive for 16 to 18 years and inheriting - adopting the characteristics and idiosyncrisies etc of its captors. Some are lucky, others are even less lucky than Natascha.

Adrienne said...

It seems incredible to compare it to having to put up with bad parenting, even when there are truly appalling parents.
The fascination is about the mixed elements of confinement, torture, (whether psychological or actual) and love.
I hope she manages to have her feelings, sanity, love and aliveness blossom in the wake of her ordeal.

Rand said...

I am sorry if I left the wrong impression. I did not equate this horrendous experience to bad parenting. I equated it to the experience of a child that has to deal with and fit into a situation not of its own choosing. My parents are loving, moral, dedicated people, but I did not discover myself until I was outside of their sphere of influence. It is not about bad or good - it is about who forms and affects our life vis a vis what we our selves bring to the equation.

Star said...

So....What makes this episode in our collective lives so fascinating is that it is highly unusual...not that it is so deploreable. Whether it is deplorable or exotic is determined by the mentality of Natasha, Jim, Elizabeth, you and me. It is whatever you want it to be.

i read elizabeth's comments about (what she is convinced to be) "unavoidable psychological harm" that she would like to force upon Natascha. It reminds me of a more insideous and less publicised syndrom...lets call it the "elizabeth syndrome". The ES caused by parents, police and media hounds who "interview" (interrogate)a "victim" of a "crime" (aka an experience) and force feed an emotional take on the "crime" with strong implications that the future of the "victim" will be horribly scarred ... forever because of the experience ("crime").

Which crime is greater??? The 30 minute rape, the 89 year bondage or the lifetime sentence to feel like a hopeless, helpless victim?

I totally get Jim's point that the dribble of people who have themselves been psychologically harmed by parents and school and the internet that further promotes a legacy of "victimization".

Eklektik said...

I would like to read about "the period" from her own words.
Police has found out that "both" were using the man's bed! (from dna related substances found on the bed).

I bet,if the man didn't kill himself, she wouldnt sue him for any sexual abuse, but only for kidnapping.
And i am sure she would keep a regular contact with him.