A Father Spent 30 Years Trying To Avenge His Daughter, Then Pulled It Off Brutally

A Father Spent 30 Years Trying To Avenge His Daughter, Then Pulled It Off Brutally

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.

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.

Andre Bamberski.

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.

Krombach Remained Free In Germany

After the results of the French autopsy revealed that Kalinka Bamberski had died in a violent and brutal manner, Krombach was charged with voluntary homicide, later convicted in absentia, and sentenced to 15 years in prison. However, Germany declined to arrest and relinquish him, so he remained a free man there, living a life of privilege riding horses and sailing.

Why wouldn’t they arrest him? The Germany authorities considered the French conviction to be void for three reasons. One, the autopsy didn’t conclusively prove murder; two; Krombach’s story could have happened the way he said it did; and three, Bamberski's mother claimed he was innocent.

Andre Bamberski.

Bamberski Had Krombach Kidnapped

Bamberski heard rumors that Krombach was planning to depart Germany for West Africa in 2009. He knew that if Krombach reached Africa, his attempts at securing justice for his daughter would have failed. He spread the word that he was looking for some help, and a sympathetic Kosovar immigrant named Anton Krasniqi answered the call.

The plan was for Krasniqi to snatch Krombach from his balcony, take him over the French border, and call Bamberski when it was finished. When Bamberski received the call confirming Krombach was in France, he immediately alerted the authorities. Krombach, beaten but still alive, was arrested and taken into custody.

Justice Was Finally Served, Three Decades Later

During Krombach's 2011 trial, Danièle Gonnin, Kalinka Bamberski’s mother and Krombach's now ex-wife, testified against her former spouse. She said she believed Krombach had administered sedatives to her without her knowledge or consent the night of the murder. What's more, additional medical testing revealed that the teenager had been drugged and raped.

Krombach was finally convicted of "voluntary violence leading to unintentional death, with aggravated circumstances" and sent to prison for 15 years.

As for André Bamberski, he was convicted of kidnapping and sentenced to one year of suspended jail time in May 2014. But he doesn't regret his actions; as he said to his daughter's grave: "Kalinka, you see? I promised that I would give you justice. Now you can rest in peace."
A Father Spent 30 Years Trying To Avenge His Daughter, Then Pulled It Off Brutally
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