On March 6, 1981, Marianne Bachmeier opened fire on a courthouse that was full of people in what was then called West Germany. The person she was after was a 35-year-old se*x offender who was on trial for ki-lling her daughter. He took six of her bullets and died.
Bachmeier became well-known right away. The German people watched her trial very closely, which made people wonder if her attempt to get revenge for the death of her child was moral.
Those who knew about the case still remember it after forty years. NDR, a German news agency, called it the “most spectacular episode of vigilante punishment in German postwar history.”
Anna Bachmeier Is Mu-rdered By Their Neighbor
Marianne Bachmeier was a single mother who owned a tavern in Lübeck, West Germany, in the 1970s. Before she became known as Germany’s “Revenge Mother,” she was having a hard time. She lived with Anna, her third daughter. Her two older children were given to adoptive parents.
Many people thought of Anna as a “happy, tolerant youngster,” but on May 5, 1980, she was found dead.
NDR reports that the seven-year-old girl skipped school that day because she had a fight with her mother and ended up with her 35-year-old neighbor, Klaus Grabowski, a butcher in the area who had a history of child molestation.
Later, police found that Grabowski had kept Anna at his house for hours before suffocating her with pantyhose. No one knows for sure if he abused her se*xually. After that, he put the child’s body in a cardboard box and threw it on the bank of a nearby canal.
Grabowski was caught the next night after his fiancée told the police about him. Grabowski said he ki-lled the man but denied abusing the child. Grabowski instead told a strange and scary story.
The ki-ller said he ki-lled the child by strangling her after she tried to threaten him. Grabowski says Anna tried to seduce him and told him she would tell her mother about him if he didn’t give her money.
Marianne Bachmeier got even with Grabowski a year later when he was put on trial for mu-rder.
Six times, a German “Revenge Mother” shoots Grabowski.
It’s likely that Bachmeier felt sad during Grabowski’s trial. His lawyers said that he did what he did because of an imbalance in his hormones caused by the hormone medicine he was taking after voluntarily having surgery to castrate himself years before.
Grabowski wasn’t castrated to keep him from breaking the law again, which was common in Germany at the time for sexual offenders.
The third day of the trial in Lübeck district court saw Marianne Bachmeier pull out a.22-caliber Beretta pistol from her purse and fire it eight times. Grabowski was shot six times and died on the floor of the courthouse.
Witnesses say that Bachmeier said bad things about Grabowski after shooting him. Judge Guenther Kroeger says that after Bachmeier shot Grabowski in the back, she heard the mother scream, “I wanted to ki-ll him.”
It is said that Bachmeier also said, “He k-illed my daughter…” I was going to shoot him in the face, but I hit him in the back instead… “I want him to be dead.” Three police officers said they heard Bachmeier call Grabowski a “pig” after she shot him.
She Was Charged With Mu-rder
While she was on trial, Bachmeier said she had shot Grabowski in a dream and seen her daughter in court.
When asked about Grabowski’s claims that her seven-year-old was trying to blackmail him, Bachmeier later said, “I heard he wanted to make a statement.” “I thought, here comes the next lie about my child, the victim,”
Marianne Bachmeier was all of a sudden at the center of a big fuss. Because she was such a cruel vigilante, her trial was covered around the world.
The German weekly Stern wrote a number of articles about the trial that went into detail about Bachmeier’s life as a single mother who worked and had a hard time raising her children. Reports say Bachmeier sold the magazine her story for about $158,000 so that she could pay her lawyers’ fees during the trial.
The response from readers of the magazine was amazing. Was Marianne Bachmeier a mother who was deeply upset about the mu-rder of her child and wanted to get revenge, or did her act of vigilantism turn her into a cold-blooded ki-ller? Many others said they understood her reasons for doing what she did but condemned her behavior.
Along with the moral dilemma of the case, there was also a legal argument about whether or not the shooting was planned and whether it was m-urder or man-slaughter. Different decisions led to different punishments.
Bachmeier was found guilty of intentional manslaughter in 1983 and given a six-year prison sentence.
According to a poll by the Allensbach Institute, 28% of Germans thought that her six-year sentence was fair for what she did. Two-fifths of those who answered thought the sentence was too light or too heavy.
After only a little over half of her sentence, Marianne Bachmeier was let out of jail in June 1985. She moved to Nigeria, got married, and stayed there until the 1990s. After her divorce, Bachmeier went to Sicily and stayed there until she was told she had pancreatic cancer. She then went back to Germany after it was reunited.
She died on September 17, 1996, when she was 46 years old. She was buried next to her daughter Anna.