Karol Kalmer

death sentence
Born on April 3rd, 1943 - executed on July 20th, 1977, Bratislava

Karol Kalmer

Karol Kalmer (33) was put in prison for various violent and property crimes six times. He spent eight years and a half in several Slovakian prisons. He is released from prison. He knows that he is short of money but he is used to living beyong means. Where to get some money? He and his fellow Dušan break into the Tesla Training Centre in Bratislava at night, on October 12th, 1976. One drill, three pairs of tongs, four screwdrivers, a tweezer, a brace and a hammer are stolen.

They come across with a Public Safety patrol on their way back. The members of that Public Safety patrol decide to check the identity of the two men having a bag on them and walking about the Kollár Square. The men get in the police car to be takem to the local Public Safety Station. When the police car pulls up at Duklianská Street near the tobacconist's, Kalmer quickly gets out the car shouting at the member of Public Safety patrol, Jozef Hambalík, to give him his Lost Identity Card Confirmation back: "Give me my documents! Leave me alone. I'm not joking, I have a gun and I'm ready to use it!". The policeman can do nothing as Karol Kalmer starts shooting. He has his gun (Dreyse Rheinische Metaalwaaren) always on him. The projectile flies into the chest, through a right rib, a right lung, a sternal vertebra and a left lung. It damages the spinal cord which leads to bleeding to spinal canal which results in leg paralysis. Jozef Hambalík survives thanks to the rapid and high-professional first aid.

Kalmer runs away heading for ČS Army Street and keeping himself covered by shooting. Luckily, the second member of the patrol - Michal Ďurčať (the driver) is not injured. The projectiles cause damage to the police car only. Seeing he cannot escape, Kalmer is getting nervous. Some other policemen - Zdeno Krivošík and Miroslav Dzurilla - join the first patrol. Kalmer gets to Cintorínská Street, he keeps on shooting, nobody is injured. It is early in the morning and he is still free. He is hiding in the construction site of an IT Centre Store in Cintorínská Street. Kalmer shoots for the very last time in the morning. The policeman, being present-minded enough, lies down on the pavement quickly and thus he saves his life. Karol Kalmer is arrested at about 8:30 a. m.

Policeman Durčat recognizes Kalmer during the police investigations

Policista Durčat poznává pri rekognicii Kalmera

The Regional Court judge, having considered all the circumstances, sentences Karol Kalmer to death for his attempt to murder three people. Kalmer pretends an amnesia but it is just a waste of time. He can hardly remember what happened when he was arrested. He says he is the kind of man who would never harm a fly. He was not shooting at the policemen. It must have been a gun malfunction. He is susceptible of shooting but it was just to discourage the policemen, not to hurt or kill them... He admits shooting at the police car, but the policemen was following him and thus he could not be in the car. He was upset and that was why he was shooting at the police car. He claims at the trial: "I don't know that a patrol was following me in the Kollár Square that night. I don't remember any gun battle outside the patrol's car which should take place in front of the Public Safety Station. I don't even remember my sitting in that car, I don't remember if I was trying to run away and where to. I don't remember my shooting at the patrol or my getting over some fences...".

His friend Helena says something completely different: "...the accused showed me his gun and he said that if he had been caught red-handed by policemen, he would have shot them dead. Having the last bullet, he would shoot himself dead as he didn't want to be imprisoned again". The following two witnesses say nearly the same. Kalmer says that he wanted to catch Jozef Hambalík's arm only and that he was shooting at Miroslav Ďurčať just for fear.

The shot-up police car

Rozstrílané policajné auto

The authorized experts say that Kalmer does not suffer from any kind of insanity. According to the psychiatrists, there were no surrounding circumstances that could influence Kalmer's ability to recognize what was happening and what he was doing that night. The psychologist proves that there are no doubts that Kalmer knew what he was doing and about the possible far-reaching consequences of his behaviour which he could fully control.

Karol Kalmer is sentenced to death by the Regional Court. He appeals to the Supreme Court of the Slovak Socialistic Republic. The Regional Court's judgement is affirmed. Kalmer attepmted to murder three policemem, one of them was wound to death, and thus the death sentence is fully legitimate. The attempt of Kalmer's re-education is proved not to be possible and the fifteen-year prison sentence effectless. The authorized experts claim that Kalmer presents a kind of danger to the society and that he is highly possible to keep on committing serious crimes. It is not any kind of insanity, it is his trait of character which is impossible to be under an effective psychiatric control. Kalmer is found to be a highly egocentric, impassive, aggressive person who has to air his violence. These are the signs of anethopathy which strongly influences his behaviour. Kalmer's present life is taken into account, too.

The Supreme Court affirms the Regional Court judgement on December 28th, 1976. Karol Kalmer pleas for mercy but the President turns it down. He was executed on July 20th, 1977.

The exhibit sent to the Museum of Crime by
Natalia Novotná, M. A.
Photographs: the author's privat files

© Miloslav Jedlička, D. C. L.
Translated by inspector WO Pavel Vršovský, M. A.