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.
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.
Krombach Was Eventually Arrested For Assaulting An Underage Patient
Krombach allegedly had a habit of drugging women in his medical practice in order to assault them while they were unconscious. He also supposedly drugged his wife to ensure he could continue his unsavory activities. That suspected behavior caught up with him.
In 1997, Krombach was arrested and sentenced to two years in jail for drugging and raping a 16-year-old patient in his clinic. Since he did not have a criminal record and was an otherwise upstanding citizen, the judge suspended the sentence and set him free.
Krombach Was Convicted In France, But Still Evaded The Law
Bamberski did not sit idly by as Krombach remained free. In 1995, the doctor was charged in France in absentia for Kalinka Bamberski's murder and was convicted. On the strength of that ruling, Bamberski traveled to Germany during Oktoberfest to pass out fliers warning residents about Krombach’s actions and soliciting help to get justice for his daughter.
Bamberski was subsequently arrested, charged with defamation, and sentenced to six months in prison or a fine of 400,000 Deutsche marks. But Bamberski refused to stop. He even went to Krombach's home, promising that he'd never stop pursuing the doctor's conviction.
Bamberski also spent many hours driving around the German borders, handing out information on Krombach to the border agents, hoping one would recognize him and make an arrest. His persistence paid off, as Krombach was recognized and arrested on an Austrian train in 2000.
But Krombach once again evaded the law. He was released after the judge ruled the French murder trial illegal, and the European Court of Human Rights in France declared the verdict invalid and ordered the government to pay him $20,000.