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Authors: Natascha Kampusch

3,096 Days

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3,096 Days


Natascha Kampusch was born on 17 February 1988 in Vienna and became victim, at the age of ten, to what proved to be one of the longest abductions in recent history. She finally gained her freedom in 2006. On the day she escaped, her abductor, Wolfgang Priklopil, committed suicide by throwing himself under a train.
3,096 Days
is her own account of her ordeal.


Natascha, now aged twenty-two, lives in Vienna, where she is continuing her studies.

3,096 Days



With Heike Gronemeier and Corinna Milborn


Translated by Jill Kreuer





Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London
, England

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

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3,096 Tage
first published in Germany by Ullstein Buchverlage 2010

First published in English by Penguin 2010


Copyright © Natascha Kampusch, 2010

Translation © Jill Kreuer, 2010

All rights reserved


Grateful acknowledgement is made for permission to reproduce the following copyright material: quotation on p. v is from
Trauma and Recovery
by Judith Herman, copyright © Judith Herman, 1992, reprinted with permission from Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group; the poem on pp. 87–8 is from
, by Karl May, copyright © Karl May, 2006, reprinted by permission of The Continuum International Publishing Group


The moral right of the author has been asserted

Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher‘s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser

ISBN: 978-0-670-92000-6

‘Psychological trauma is an affliction of the powerless. At the moment of trauma, the victim is rendered helpless by overwhelming force. When the force is that of nature, we speak of disasters. When the force is that of other human beings, we speak of atrocities. Traumatic events overwhelm the ordinary systems of care that give people a sense of control, connection and meaning.’ Judith Herman,
Trauma and Recovery

Dear Reader

To get a deeper insight into my biography you can find a 2D-Code at the end of each chapter. By scanning the 2D-Code, you will receive video, text, picture and audio information about my childhood and captivity on your mobile phone. Also you would be welcome to send me any questions or to request a dedicated autograph card.

All my best
Natascha Kampusch


How to Get Started

Please send an SMS with the keyword
to the following number: +43 676 800 92 022.

Follow the link in the reply SMS to download the free 2D-Reader.

Free Content. Data-transfer and SMS costs are according to your mobile phone contract.


Questions, dedicated autograph, etc.


My mobile site





Publisher’s note
: these codes provide links to content which is not controlled or maintained by Penguin. Penguin excludes all liability in relation to any content accessed by these codes and any liability arising from any use of these codes.


1.  My Crumbling World

My Childhood on the Outskirts of Vienna

2.  What Could Happen Anyway?

The Last Day of My Old Life

3.  Hoping in Vain for Rescue

My First Weeks in the Dungeon

4.  Buried Alive

The Nightmare Begins

5.  Falling into Nothingness

How My Identity Was Stolen

6.  Torment and Hunger

The Daily Struggle to Survive

7.  Caught Between Visions of Madness and a Perfect World

The Two Faces of the Kidnapper

8.  Rock Bottom

When Physical Pain Eases the Psychological Torment

9.  Afraid of Life

My Psychological Prison is Complete

10. For One, Only Death Remains

My Escape to Freedom



My Crumbling World
My Childhood on the Outskirts of Vienna

My mother lit a cigarette and took a deep puff. ‘It’s already dark outside. Think of all the things that could’ve happened to you!’ She shook her head.

My father and I had spent the last weekend of February 1998 in Hungary, where he had purchased a holiday house in a small village not far from the border. It was a complete dump, with damp walls where the plaster was crumbling off. Over the years he had renovated the house, furnishing it with beautiful old furniture, making it nearly inhabitable through his efforts. Still, I was not particularly fond of going there. My father had a number of friends in Hungary with whom he spent a great deal of time, always drinking a little bit too much thanks to the favourable currency exchange rate. In the bars and restaurants we visited in the evenings, I was the only child in the group. I would sit there saying nothing, bored.

I had reluctantly gone with him to Hungary on this occasion as well. Time seemed to move incredibly slowly, and I was angry that I was still too young and had no say in how I spent my time. Even when we visited the thermal spa in the area that Sunday, I was less than overjoyed. In a rotten mood, I was strolling through the spa premises when a woman I knew asked me, ‘Would you like to have a soda with me?’ I nodded and followed her into the café. She was an actress and lived in Vienna. I admired her because she always exuded great serenity and seemed so self-assured.
Besides, I had always secretly dreamed of being an actress. After a while, I took a deep breath and said, ‘You know, I would like to become an actress too. Do you think I could do that?’

She beamed a smile at me. ‘Of course you could, Natascha! You’d be a great actress if that’s what you really want!’

My heart leapt at that. I had truly expected not to be taken seriously or even to be laughed at – as had happened many times before.

‘When you’re ready, I’ll help you,’ she promised me, putting her arm around my shoulders.

BOOK: 3,096 Days
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