Natascha: The Girl In The CellarThis extraordinary interview reveals the ordeal of Nat­­ascha Kampusch, imprisoned in a cellar for eight years by Wolfgang Priklopil.

Although her story has since been pushed slightly down the league table of horror by the similar experiences of Elisabeth Fritzl and Jaycee Lee Dugard, Natascha – snatched on her way to school in Vienna in March 1998 – emerges as a startlingly self-possessed, intelligent and articulate young woman who is even able to feel compassion and insight for the sick individual who stole her childhood.

In recalling details of the dank, musty dungeon in which she was held, Natascha holds nothing back. Utterly calm, she relates how her captor violently and brutally exerted total control over her, humiliated her, kept her hungry, forbade her even to cry in case her tears damaged the tiles and how she bided her time until she was able to escape.

"Because the whole situation is so hideously unjust, you shouldn’t allow yourself to give up," Natascha explains. "That would be an admission of defeat. There was a kind of fighting spirit that kept me alive." Incredibly, in the eight years her daughter was missing, her mother, Brigitta – also interviewed here – never doubted her daughter’s fierce survival instinct for a minute.

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