Kidnapped doctor put on trial for murder in France

A German cardiologist went on trial on Tuesday for the 1982 death of the daughter of a Frenchman who took justice into his own hands and had the doctor kidnapped, bound and delivered to a French courthouse.

Kidnapped doctor put on trial for murder in France
Photo: DPA

Dieter Krombach, 75, entered the Paris courtroom on crutches, preferring not to look at Andre Bamberski, 73, who has spent 29 years trying to get justice for his 14-year-old daughter, Kalinka.

A French court already in 1995 convicted the doctor in absentia of manslaughter over the death of Kalinka, his stepdaughter, who died at his home near Lake

Constance in 1982 after he gave her a mysterious injection.

“We’re here to fight, we will fight to the end,” Krombach’s lawyer, Philippe Ohayon, told journalists before the start of the new trial.

“The possibility of being tried is unbearable for Mr Krombach but he won’t escape this time,” said Laurent de Caunes, a lawyer for Bamberski who is a civil party in the case.

“Today something is happening that he’s wanted for years,” said Bamberski’s other lawyer, Francois Gibault, with his visibly emotional client declining to make any statement.

Bamberski was arrested in 2009 in Mulhouse near the German border after tipping off police about the whereabouts of Krombach, found in a doorway near the city’s courthouse, tied up and bleeding from a head injury.

Berlin had refused to hand him over on the grounds that he was tried and acquitted in Germany, but Bamberski spent two decades trying to have him sent to jail, convinced that he drugged Kalinka in order to rape her.

Charged with kidnapping, assault and criminal conspiracy, Bamberski has said that he gave the go-ahead for the kidnap and would suffer the consequences.

Questioned after Kalinka’s death in 1982, Krombach told German investigators he injected her with an iron-based solution to help her tan faster. He later said it was a remedy for anaemia.

German prosecutors found that the injection “probably” caused her death but dismissed the case for lack of evidence.

But France reopened it following an autopsy on Kalinka’s exhumed body, convicting the doctor of manslaughter in 1995.

The German cardiologist won a 2001 case against France before the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled he was denied a fair hearing and the right to an appeal in the case.

The cardiologist was stripped of his licence and handed a suspended jail sentence in 1997 for sexually abusing a 16-year-old patient after injecting her with anaesthetic in his surgery.


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Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.