It could be a thriller story starring a crazy doctor determined to completely control the sexual urges of young children. It’s actually a well-kept secret in Austria that recently came to light, and its victims are determined to spread the word so that it never happens to anyone again.
One night in March 2021, Ivy Mazes, a photojournalist from Washington, opened her laptop and with trembling hands typed into the Google search engine the address of a villa in Innsbruck, Austria, she tells the New Yorker.
For decades, Ivy, now 55 years old, was haunted by memories of the house in which she was confined for many months when she was 8 years old. She could still very easily bring to mind its pale yellow exterior and remember the spiral staircase in its center in every detail, but what happened inside she never revealed even to the psychotherapist, whom she credits with saving her. her.
“Vitte, Löffel” (spoon please), “bitte, Gabel” (fork please)
The night she was lifted from her adoptive family’s bed in a nearby Alpine valley remains indelible in her memory, as do the dozens of children she was forced to live with overnight under the supervision of adults in medical gowns. who were given pills and injections at regular intervals. “Vitte, Löffel” (spoon please), “bitte, Gabel” (fork please), are two phrases that still make her shudder even when she has to say them herself, since they are associated with simple food in almost military conditions which she ate after school and before going to bed, there abandoned in the villa in the mountains of Tyrol.
How every night she pressed her hands to her sides and told herself over and over again that she shouldn’t wet her bed, because she already knew what was coming, she thinks today. The people in the robes would come into the room, wake her up and drag her to the bathroom where they would force her to wash herself in cold water before leaving her to stand up all night in the corner with the lights off.
Evie didn’t know or understand what exactly was going on inside the villa, but she had a feeling it was nothing good. That’s why even when she was called to tell what dream she had the night before, she avoided telling the truth. Sometimes she got the trick, other times they took her to isolation anyway until she found something to tell them and sometimes the injection was a one-way street.
The unbearable shame of a difficult youth
Through it all, and on top of all of the above, Ivy still to this day can’t get over the unbearable shame she felt all the time, living with a bunch of other kids in the same room but not being allowed to talk to each other, says same in American magazine. A yellow bullet indicated what her bed was and to this day she struggles to convince herself that it’s just a color like all the others, so she stubbornly buys suns for her house in an attempt to disconnect it from her past .
In her 20s, Evie moved to New York and got a job at the Daily News. There she met her ex-husband and had 3 children with him. By the time she reached middle age, and having made good friends and substantial relationships with each of her children, she knew it was time to turn the key in the door of the villa she had vowed never to visit again.
What she discovered shocked her more than she expected, she a child of a woman without a husband and with many psychological problems, who soon left her in an institution with unwanted children, from where she left to live with foster families or to return to her mother , who abuses her, before leaving her again and again in foreign hands.
“In the Name of Order”
As she learned, the villa was indeed a psychiatric center, confirming her suspicions, run by Dr. Maria Novak Vogl, a psychologist from the University of Innsbruck, with the mission of “meeting” difficult children. Historian Horst Schreiber’s book, In the Name of Order, shed more light on what she lived and feared for most of her childhood, after interviewing many of her boarding students, she left the Austrian government to apologize for what she allowed to be held in its premises and to give compensation to those who were forced to live there from a few months to several years.
Because the mental institution, called a prison in the aforementioned book and in all the articles that followed, was actually a testing clinic for managing the sexual urges of young children and how to redirect their sexual identity.
In the heart of the Alps a well-kept secret of child abuse has come to light
In particular, Novak Vogl injected the children who passed through her hands with epiphysan, a substance obtained from the glands of cattle that veterinarians use to reduce estrus in mares and cows. The aim of the monster doctor was to ensure that these children would have low sexual urges, would not masturbate, and therefore would be more manageable by whoever had power over them. Schreiber wrote in his book that Novak Vogl believed she was “crusading against masturbation and fornication.”
A well kept secret
For history, this clinic in Austria was in operation from 1954 to 1987. Data shows that 3,600 children passed through its premises, most of them between the ages of 7 and 15, before Novak Vogl, who had close relations with the system child care of the country, she decided that they had to continue, in foster families or reformatories, where they basically offered dirty work.
Today Ivy, who met so many years later with people with whom she lived so close, but so far in the same space in a climate of fear and shame in her most sensitive years, declares that “I never believed that there would be an epilogue to this history”.
And of course he will get the compensation that the federal state of Tyrol will soon start giving to the victims, not so much for the money, but so that this story will be known to the ends of the earth and never be repeated anywhere in the world.