handcuffsThe words "world's best dad" are embroidered on hats and printed on t-shirts all over this country, but a Frenchman named Andre Bamberski just cornered the market on paternal superlatives. After three decades spent trying to find justice for his daughter's rape and murder in 1982, Bamberski found the man he says did it, kidnapped him in Germany, and placed him in the hands of police in France. Can you really blame him?

I know, I just came out and supported an international crime. But just the thought of someone hurting my little girl raises my hackles. I still hold a grudge against the kid who kicked sand in her face on the first day of kindergarten. Yes, I have a grudge against a (now) 6-year-old. I'm not proud of it. But I'm a parent; protecting my daughter became priority number one the minute I saw that second line on the pregnancy test. Forevermore, that will be my job.

Andre Bamberski has spent almost 30 years living with the knowledge that his daughter wasn't just hurt. She was sexually abused and killed. And no one has ever had to pay for the crime. Losing a child can tear marriages apart and even prompt some parents to take their own lives to escape the pain. That Bamberski kept fighting is a sign of incredible strength, or maybe of the importance of his mission?

According to The New York Times, Dieter Krombach was married to Bamberski's ex-wife, and hence stepfather to 14-year-old Kalinka. French police say the German doctor raped and then killed his stepdaughter at his home in Germany. But Krombach has resisted French officials' requests that he come into their country for questioning for the past 29 years. The German government, claiming there isn't sufficient evidence to suggest he played a role in the girl's death, has likewise refused to extradite him.

Bamberski's decision to kidnap Krombach couldn't have been easy. He tried legal channels, and felt like he was failing to live up to his duty as a dad. So he took the illegal route. He became a criminal for his daughter's sake. At 72, he's now an old man who will have to face charges for sneaking the doctor across the border. But that likely won't happen until after he gets to sit through Krombach's murder trial in a Parisian courtroom.

I'd say that makes it worth it ... how about you? Would you call Bamberski a criminal or a hero?


Image via daquella manera/Flickr