A father’s love knows no bounds. André Bamberski, a French citizen, would have moved heaven and earth for his daughter Kalinka Bamberski - a fact that became clear after her untimely and mysterious death. The teenage girl had been staying with her mother, Danièle Gonnin, and her stepfather, Dieter Krombach, when she suddenly died on July 9, 1982. An autopsy couldn't determine the cause, but Bamberski was certain it was the work of Krombach. He set off on a relentless quest for the truth, one that lasted 30 years, cost him his job, and alienated his family and friends.
How far would Bamberski go for justice? What would this grief-stricken father do to the man who took his wife and presumably raped and killed his 14-year-old daughter? His unbelievable true story raises questions about vigilante justice and paints a grim and heartbreaking portrait of a man's thirst for vengeance.
André Bamberski's Wife Left Him For Her Lover
The Bamberski family lived in Morocco in the early 1970s. There, André Bamberski's wife, Danièle Gonnin, began an affair with Dieter Krombach, a physician working for the German Consulate. When the family relocated to Pechbusque, France, Krombach began living in nearby Toulouse and carrying on the affair. One year later, Gonnin left Bamberski for her lover.
The couple divorced, and Gonnin married Krombach. The ex-partners shared custody of their two children, Kalinka and Nicolas, and in the summer of 1982, Kalinka went to stay with her mother and Krombach in Germany.
Kalinka Bamberski Died Under Mysterious Circumstances
On the evening of July 9, 1982, Dieter Krombach insisted on injecting Kalinka Bamberski with an iron supplement he often gave out to his patients, family, and friends. Initially, he said the injection was to aid tanning; later he said it was for anemia. Bamberski allegedly had complained of feeling unwell, so he gave her a sleeping tablet as well.
According to Krombach, he left her bedroom and didn’t come back until the next morning. As Krombach attempted to wake Bamberski for breakfast, he noticed she was unresponsive and called the authorities.
The Autopsy Raised More Questions
In an unusual move, Krombach himself was in attendance at Kalinka's autopsy. It revealed she had choked on vomit while unconscious, had tearing in her genital area, and a whitish fluid on her legs that resembled semen. There were also several puncture marks on her arms and legs. No toxicology tests were conducted, and the cause of death was unclear.
André Bamberski refused to believe his daughter simply died because it was "her time to die," as his ex-wife suggested. He felt strongly that Krombach had assaulted his daughter and killed her to prevent her from speaking out about the crime.
No Charges Were Brought Against Krombach
Bamberski wanted to know what happened to his daughter, and he pressured the German authorities to order additional testing of her tissue. The forensic scientist assigned to the case found that Dieter Krombach’s timeline didn’t add up; Kalinka had fallen into anaphylactic shock, lost consciousness, and asphyxiated on her vomit almost immediately.
However, the rape assessment was inconclusive, and thus to the great and bitter disappointment of Bamberski, no charges were brought against Krombach.
Kalinka's Genitals Were Removed
Eventually, the French authorities acquiesced to Bamberski's requests to exhume his daughter’s body and conducted an autopsy of their own. They were shocked to discover Kalinka's genitals had been removed during the initial autopsy and were never recovered. Without that physical evidence, Bamberski's assertion that Krombach had assaulted the girl couldn't be proven.
Was Krombach’s career with the German Consulate in Morocco a reason for the authorities to protect him? Did he have a secret career in intelligence or contacts within the intelligence community? Or were the organs simply lost due to the careless actions of the medical team? These questions remain unanswered.
Krombach's First Wife Died Under Mysterious Circumstances
Krombach’s first wife, Monika Hentze, passed suddenly at the age of 24. Hentze's family alleged that Krombach had abused her and made threats to take her life. In 1969, Hentze suffered from an unknown illness that caused her to become mute and blind - later followed by complete paralysis.
During her final hours at the hospital, Krombach inserted himself between the doctors and his wife, and injected her with what he claimed was "snake venom." She died shortly thereafter; the official cause of death was a cerebral hemorrhage. Krombach was never charged with any crime connected to her.