A restaurant manager in the Austrian town where the Josef Fritzl trial was held thought he was just making the most of the moment when he added a “Fritzl Schnitzel” on the menu. But local authorities were not impressed.
In the past few days, St Poelten has held the world’s attention as the trial of Josef Fritzl, the Austrian man sentenced to life for imprisoning and raping his daughter for 24 years, unfolded in a courthouse downtown.
So when Josef Otzelberger, a restaurant manager in this Austrian town, decided to revamp the traditional Austrian dish, the schnitzel, and turn it into a customised “Fritzl Schnitzel,” he thought it was just a clever, harmless menu addition.
But Otzelberger has come to regret his little joke.
The lawyer acting as trustee of Fritzl’s assets is now demanding a hefty sum of 10,000 euros from the Hirschenstube restaurant management.
“Morally, this is not justifiable,” said Otzelberger. “I made a small mistake, it was black humour, and I believe asking 10,000 euros for something like this is ridiculous.”
In any case, the town hall made sure no “Fritzl Schnitzels” were ever served. Hours after the sign went up, the mayor of St Poelten called, with a discreet word to pull the sign down.
“I told the manager of the restaurant that the town doesn't want to have its image damaged, not as a result of such actions, nor because of the Fritzl trial itself,” said St Poelten’s Mayor Matthias Stadler.
This little Austrian town may have cashed in from the Fritzl trial, but it’s also eager to limit the damage to the town’s reputation and give St Poelten an image boost.
Taking the traditional town tour
The town hall even organised a tour for journalists, to give them something else to talk about, besides the man who enslaved his daughter in a cellar, fathered her seven children, and was sentenced to life for rape, incest and murder – to name just a few of the charges.
But Meike Friez, a journalist for the German news organisation, Die Zeit, who took the tour, was not impressed.
"They made a small, standard tour, which they probably make for other tourists as well,” said Friez. “I think I will write just one small paragraph about this, I don't think this is really so important.”
On or off the menu, it’s going to take a lot more to shake the shadow of Josef Fritzl in this town.
Date created : 2009-03-20