On July 10, 1982, 14-year-old Kalinka Bamberski died in her stepfather’s arms. The biological father has been fighting for almost 30 years to convict the person responsible. And becomes a criminal himself.
On the morning of July 10, 1982, 14-year-old Kalinka Bamberski was found dead in her bed by her stepfather. The girl was visiting him and her mother in Lindau on Lake Constance. As the emergency doctor found, the teenager choked on his vomit during the night. The police order an autopsy. But they find no cause for the vomiting.
According to her stepfather, the girl had been bathing in the bay behind his house all day in the blazing sun and may have suffered sunstroke. In the evening she complained of a headache and went to bed early after dinner. Around midnight he saw her again when she got a glass of water. The next morning he found her dead in her bed.
The stepfather also explains to the police that he had already noticed rigor mortis in the morning. Nevertheless, he claims to have injected funds to revive her. But the autopsy also find puncture holes that appeared to have been made before the girl died. Allegedly, her stepfather injected iron to tan her skin. “We frowned at that,” recalls the pathologist who was there at the time in a documentary about the case. “It doesn’t fit medically.” Other organs would be damaged so massively that this is not compatible with the life of such a young person”.
Kalinka Bamberski’s father does his own research
Despite this, the dead girl’s blood is not tested for iron or other substances. And the pathologists are not further examining the tear in her genital area and the white fluid on it. The question of whether sexual contact preceded the death is ignored in the record. Heart blood, pelvic organs and genitals are not added to the corpse or kept as usual, but disposed of. Kalinka’s stepfather is present throughout the autopsy. He is well acquainted with the chief coroner.
Kalinka Bamberski and her family hail from near Toulouse in France. During a longer stay in Morocco, the mother met the influential doctor Dieter K. from Lindau. She left her family for him and married the German. Five years later, in 1980, her children went to a boarding school in Freiburg and only visited their mother on weekends and during the holidays. The biological father, an accountant, remained in France.
When he receives the autopsy report, suspicion creeps up on him and he begins his own research. André Bamberski believes that the stepfather abused his daughter and then killed her to cover it up. In 1983 he turned on the Munich star lawyer Rolf Bossy. He enforces that the tissue samples taken are examined at the University of Munich. But the pathologists cannot come to a clear conclusion. They refer to drug experts.
Police have already investigated Dieter K.
In 1985, three years after Kalinka’s death, the public prosecutor commissioned the Bremen pharmacologist Peter Schönhöfer. He is to investigate whether an iron injection is to blame for Kalinka’s death. In fact, iron has never been detected in Kalinka’s blood. There is a lack of solid evidence against the respected cardiologist and internist. Even the exhumation of Kalinka’s body in December of the same year does not bring any clarity, since the girl’s genitals were apparently removed.
André Bamberski finds out that Dieter K. was already under investigation 13 years before Kalinka’s death because he had passed harmful substances on to his first wife. When she was 15, he got her pregnant. He was 30 years old then. The injections left the young woman deaf, blind and dumb. Ten years later she died as a result of a cerebral hemorrhage. In this case, too, the evidence for an indictment was lacking.
But Kalinka’s father continued to fight and turned to the French judiciary in 1991. She takes up the investigation and commissions new reports. Finally, they open proceedings against the doctor from Lindau. There is insufficient evidence for rape and murder. However, the authorities are convinced that Dieter K. killed the young girl. In March 1995, the stepfather was sentenced to 15 years in prison for intentional coercion resulting in death. In its reasoning, the court expressly emphasizes that the injection was a deliberate act. Although the girl’s death was not intended, it was accepted. But Dieter K. is not extradited from Germany and continues to live there as a free man.
The “Justice pour Kalinka” initiative is founded
In 1997, Dieter K. was put on trial in Germany for allegedly drugging and abusing a 16-year-old patient. He shows no remorse. In a bizarre television interview, he says that while she didn’t say yes, she didn’t say no either. She returned his kisses and only smiled when asked if she wanted to go on. “He who is silent seems to agree, as they said in ancient Rome. I’m not saying she was thrilled that I was doing it, but I had the illusion that she agreed.”
Dieter K. is sentenced to two years’ imprisonment on probation and a two-year ban from working for sexual abuse of a person unable to resist. After the verdict, numerous other cases will come to light. Many women had kept the abuse secret from the socially respected doctor out of shame or fear. However, because some of the cases are statute-barred or there is insufficient evidence, there are no further trials.
In 2001, an acquaintance of André Bamberski founded the “Justice pour Kalinka” (“Justice for Kalinka”) initiative. Dozens of supporters organize demonstrations and write letters to politicians, including then-Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. In front of the German consulate in Toulouse, they demand an international arrest warrant for Dieter K. With success. In 2004 this will be issued. But the Munich public prosecutor’s office again refused extradition. Because without new facts and evidence, proceedings in Germany cannot be reopened and therefore no extradition can take place.
Kalinka’s father has Dieter K. kidnapped
When all legal means had been exhausted, Kalinka’s father resorted to drastic measures: he had the now 74-year-old Dieter K. beaten up by three men in his house late in the evening of October 17, 2009, 27 years after Kalinka’s death and kidnapped to France. In Mulhouse, Alsace, they leave him tied up in front of a courthouse and inform the police. The officers arrest him. André Bamberski admits to the crime.
In 2011, Dieter K. had to answer to a Paris jury. The French investigators are convinced that he did not inject his stepdaughter with iron preparations but with an anesthetic in order to then abuse her. But apparently the 14-year-old had not tolerated the drug and vomited unnoticed. However, because her protective reflexes failed due to the anesthetic, she choked on her vomit.
Kalinka’s mother, who is now for the first time convinced of the guilt of her then husband, appears as a joint plaintiff. Danielle Gonnin had already separated from Dieter K. in 1989, but had always testified in his favor and portrayed him as an exemplary stepfather.
15 years in prison for Kalinka Bamberski’s stepfather
On October 22, 2011, Dieter K. was sentenced to 15 years in prison for intentional bodily harm resulting in death. He had protested his innocence to the end: “I swear to the court and to Mrs. Gonnin that I never did anything to Kalinka,” he says at the end of the three-week trial with a trembling voice.
André Bamberski told press representatives after the conviction: “Of course, my first thought applies to Kalinka. I have achieved what I promised. That means a full trial. A fair trial. I have achieved this goal. The judiciary has decided her memory. And I will be able to mourn now”. Three years after the verdict, he was sentenced to a suspended sentence of one year for kidnapping the doctor.
Dieter K. will be released from prison in February 2020 for health reasons. He dies in September 2020 in a retirement home in Lower Saxony.
Watch the video: Musician and actress Edith Stehfest took drugs for years. She was raped under knockout drops and knew nothing about it until the LKA came to her home and she was asked to identify the victims and perpetrators in a rape video. Today she wants to encourage those affected by sexualised violence.
Sources: ZDF documentary “Enlightened”, ARD documentary “The Dead Girl from Lake Constance”, with material from DPA