The case of Kalinka Bamberski: A desperate father tracked down his daughter’s killer, had him kidnapped

In the summer exactly forty years ago, fourteen-year-old Kalinka Bamberski was found dead in the German city of Lindau. Her death was strange, but at first it looked like it might have been a sudden health problem. But when her biological father, with whom she did not live at the time of her death, got his hands on a very strange autopsy report, he began to suspect that someone had probably raped and killed his daughter. His theory was correct. The ruthless killer was Kalinča’s stepfather, renowned doctor Dieter Krombach.

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The girl’s father, Frenchman André Bamberski, hoped that the German police and justice would put Krombach behind bars for this act, especially when other accusations surfaced against him in later years. But he miscalculated. Krombach continued to remain free, and even though he was then convicted in absentia at least by the French courts, Germany still refused to extradite its citizen.

And so, as the statute of limitations on the case approached in 2009, meaning that Krombach would never be punished for Kalinka’s death, he decided to act. He got a helping hand where perhaps no one would expect it – from the Russian-speaking mafia. This year, the Netflix documentary My Daughter’s Murderer recalled the whole story.

She was young and healthy. And dead

The terrifying story of a desperate father began in the early seventies in Morocco. Frenchman André Bamberski also moved there with his wife and two children for work. He had no idea that a fateful meeting would take place in a distant land that would not only break up his family, but also prepare him to lose his beloved daughter.

He and his wife also met the renowned German doctor Dieter Krombach in Morocco. It didn’t take long for Bamberski’s wife and cardiologist and internist Krombach to become lovers.

The relationship went so far that the marriage broke up and Kalinka’s mother married Krombach. Teenage Kalinka suddenly had to get used to the fact that from now on she would have two homes – one with her father in France and the other with her mother and stepfather in Germany. “In 1982, blonde and pretty Kalinka, who was about to celebrate her fifteenth birthday, attended a French boarding school in Freiburg, Germany. She mostly spent weekends and holidays with her mother and stepfather Krombach in the nearby town of Lindau,” the website outlines Smithsonian Magazine.

The murdered girl Kalinka Bamberski.The murdered girl Kalinka Bamberski.Source: Profimedia

This was also the case during the summer holidays of 1982. Although the slender girl enjoyed her stay in Lindau surrounded by beautiful nature, at the same time she spoke almost no German and was already looking forward to the end of the holidays, when she would go to see her father in France. But she never got to see that again. On the morning of July 10, a honking ambulance stopped at the villa in Lindau, which Krombach ran to meet. “You’re late!” he shouted. Kalinka was lying dead in bed.

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At first glance, it didn’t look like a violent death. “She was windsurfing the day before. According to the statements of her mother and stepfather, she returned home around five in the evening and complained that she did not feel well. After dinner, she went to bed early, but according to Dr. Krombach, she continued to read until about midnight, when he asked her to turn off the lights,” according to Smithsonian Magazine.

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Dr. Krombach subsequently testified that he tried to revive the girl in the morning by giving injections directly into the heart. But it was too late. According to records, she breathed her last in the morning.

About an hour after the discovery of the body, André Bamberski learned about his daughter’s death by phone. His ex-wife, Kalinka’s mother, told him that her daughter had apparently died of a sudden health problem, which could have been the result of exertion in the thirty-degree heat of the previous day. But Bamberski had his doubts. “Kalinka was a healthy young girl, the athletic type, and never had any serious health problems,” outlines Smithsonian Magazine.

Strange injection. And an even stranger autopsy

Bamberski began to think that there might be something else behind his daughter’s death. His suspicions soon focused on the last person who saw Kalinka alive – the doctor Dieter Krombach. And it began to appear that it would clearly not be just the speculation of a grief-stricken father.

In the Netflix documentary, Kalinka’s father talks about the fact that he did not believe that his daughter’s death was caused by a heart attack from overheating:

Source: Youtube

A few days after Kalinča’s death, Krombach confessed to the police that he had given his stepdaughter an injection on the fateful evening. But he changed his statement. “He stated that he gave her a substance known as Cobalt-Ferrlecit. At first he claimed that he gave her the injection to help her tan more quickly. Then again he told the police commissioner that the injection was supposed to help Kalinka in the treatment of anemia – but it turned out that the girl was not anemic,” the server outlines HITC.

Kalinč’s autopsy brought even more doubts into the case. During her visit, the pathologist found injuries on Kalinča’s hands and feet and around her genitalia. “Evidence of a sexual assault was found. According to all accounts, Krombach was present at the autopsy, although the German authorities denied that he was directly in the autopsy room and insisted that he remained standing in the corridor,” says the server What to Watch.

Missing organs

After discovering discrepancies (also temporal, since the time of Kalinča’s death did not agree with Krombach’s testimony about the time of the injection), the German police arrested the doctor, but soon released him due to lack of evidence and closed the investigation.

While Krombach returned to his job as if nothing had happened and his wife, Kalinka’s mother, believed him, André Bamberski was convinced that someone had swept the evidence under the rug and that Krombach was a brutal murderer. He therefore demanded that Kalinča’s body be transported to France, where another autopsy was performed. Her conclusions were terrifying.

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Not only did she confirm that Kalinka had strange injuries on her body, she also showed that someone had apparently swept away the tracks. “This autopsy found that the genitalia and anus had been removed from the body, which meant that no further tests could be carried out to establish sexual assault. The organs were never found,” the paper outlines Mirror.

When, after another time delay, the results of the new autopsy reached Bamberski, he was already one hundred percent sure that Krombach was the man who raped and killed his daughter. But otherwise he was completely helpless. The German authorities refused to prosecute Krombach in the Kalinča case. And when, years later, Bamberski convinced the French authorities to pay attention to the case and the French court actually sentenced Krombach to fifteen years in prison in absentia, the Germans refused to extradite the doctor and he continued to live free.

Another raped

And so the months passed, stretching into years. It was becoming clear to Bamberski that he would have to take care of justice for Kalinka himself. He began to follow Krombach. But his first outing backfired on him – when, a year after Kalinča’s death, he scattered leaflets around Lindau stating that the doctor was a rapist and a murderer, Krombach filed a criminal complaint against him and demanded the payment of hundreds of thousands in compensation.

Even when the judgment of the French court was handed down in the nineties, it did not harm Krombach in any way, personally or professionally. And even though he turned out to be a real monster, the law was still short on him. “Two years after the judgment of the French court, Krombach was accused of drugging and raping a sixteen-year-old female patient. He pleaded guilty, and immediately other women came forward to accuse him of the same thing, but there was not enough evidence to support these allegations,” reports the Mirror website.

For Bamberski, anyway, it meant he was on the right track all along. “See? I wasn’t wrong. Dr. Krombach was a sexual pervert,” he recalled in this year’s Netflix documentary.

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For the rape, the doctor only received a two-year suspended sentence and lost his medical license, but he violated the second sentence and continued to practice secretly until 2006, when he was caught in an illegal operation. He was clearly not troubled by remorse. This is proven by the recording of a rare television interview with him, which was also used in the aforementioned new Netflix documentary. In the interview, Krombach humiliates the rape victim he confessed to. “She didn’t say yes, but she never said no either,” he smiles in the recording.

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When the moderator points out in the interview that, according to the verdict, he drugged the victim, Krombach does not even admit guilt. “As they said in ancient Rome: Those who remain silent agree,” says the rapist in an interview.

Justice in the hands of the mafia

While Krombach mocked his victims and continued to live peacefully, André Bamberski was increasingly troubled. He seemed to be fighting windmills. “Krombach was chased and followed all over Europe. But his efforts caused everyone to gradually leave him, contacts with friends, family and colleagues were cut off. In addition, he was constantly on the edge legally, and more and more people began to question his judgment and even sanity. He was accused of crossing legal and moral boundaries. Because of the hunt for Krombach, he quit his job and spent most of his life savings,” the Smithsonian Magazine website outlines Bamberski’s situation.

In 2009, the time was approaching when even in France the statute of limitations would have expired, and Krombach would never have been punished for Kalinča’s death. At that moment, Bamberski decided on a desperate act. “In September 2009, an injured and bloodied Krombach appeared chained to a fence outside a French police station,” reports the website What to Watch. He was first taken to the hospital, but because he was in the territory of the state where he was officially convicted of murder, the French justice soon got to work and Krombach did not slip away this time.

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Within two years, a new trial took place in which the doctor was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. “He did not serve his full sentence, being released on health grounds in 2020 and dying shortly afterwards at the age of 84,” reports the Mirror.

Bamberski’s desperate act received worldwide attention and caused a scramble between the French and German authorities, with Germany pointing to the strange way in which Krombach had reached France and demanding Bamberski’s extradition for prosecution, and France insisting that Krombach now remain behind bars.

The uproar was that Bamberski was aided in his pursuit of justice by someone who is usually on the opposite side of the law. The killer was transported from Germany to France by the Russian-speaking mafia. The kidnapping for Bamberski was specifically carried out by a bartender from Kosovo, Anton Krasniqi, and two members of the Russian mafia.

Bartender Anton Krasniqi talks in a Netflix documentary about why he decided to help Kalinka’s father:

Source: Youtube

“Bamberski was subsequently sentenced to a one-year suspended sentence by a French court for ordering the kidnapping, and Anton Krasniqi received a year behind bars for the kidnapping, despite this, he never demanded any compensation from Bamberski for the kidnapping, and years later he stated in a Netflix documentary that he would do it again to helped the father get justice for his daughter,” writes the server What to Watch.

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