When She Ran Away at Age 18, Her Parents Thought She’d Joined a Cult. The Truth Was More Horrible.

Rosemarie and Others Unaware
Elisabeth was right underneath her mother’s feet for 24 years behind this door

Upstairs, with three of Elisabeth’s children, Rosemarie was unaware. All the family knew is that Josef would often retreat to the cellar to work on machinery plans or something similar. This was Josef’s “workshop” and was off limits to all but him, he said. Rosemarie, still believing the fake letters, did her best to raise Elisabeth’s children and hoped that her daughter was safe. As Monika, Lisa and Alexander had all been reported as foundlings, social workers routinely made home visits, but still, no one suspected Josef of any wrongdoing.

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