Richard Klinkhamer

Richard Klinkhamer

Richard Klinkhamer (15 March, 1937) is a well known Dutch writer and Murderer.


Klinkhamer is the son of Maria Vogelauer, an Austria woman who came to work in the Netherlands as a personal servant, and Gerrit Zeggelink, a worker for the Municipality of Purmerend. His biological father is Jacob Klinkhamer, the previous husband of his mother. He was sent to Austria in 1940 to stay with the family of his mother as his looks were too similar to that of his biological father. In Austria Klinkhamer lived on a farm with his uncle. As Austria was liberated in 1945 he witnessed his aunt being raped and his uncle being chained as they employed Polish Forced labourers during the war. Klinkhamer, now 8 years of age, was transported back to The Netherlands by train.

His mother managed to survive the war by working for the Germans, because of this she spent some time in prison after the Dutch liberation. Until the release of his mother, Klinkhamer lived with various foster families (He briefly lived with the widow of his biological father of which he witnessed her death). When his mother was released they wandered through The Netherlands, visiting Zeist among other Municipalities. Eventually his mother met a wealthy man from Switzerland and introduced her son as "her cousin". Obviously, Richard wasn't welcome in this new relationship, as he was sent back to Amsterdam to live with Jacob Klinkhamer and his half-brothers and learned to become a butcher.

Klinkhamer got involved in some criminal activities and decided to join the French Foreign Legion in 1957 at the age of 19. He served in Algeria during the war of independence and eventually deserted the French Foreign Legion in 1959. He fled back to Amsterdam via Italy and spent some months working as a chef on a ship in 1960. He then decided to stay ashore and work in the local butcher industry with his half-brothers.

In 1961 he married Leontine van Emmerik, with whom he had two sons and one daughter. Leontine was raised with Hannelore Godfrinon (whose mother was killed by her husband), Hannie and Richard Klinkhamer had an affair around 1969.

Richard and Leontine bought a studio-apartment in Bergen aan Zee around 1970 and got divorced in 1977. One year later he married Hannie Godfrinon and they moved to the small village of Ganzedijk, north-east of Groningen. He invested his pension funds on the stock market and she worked as a nurse on the paediatric department of the hospital in Winschoten.

In 1983 Klinkhamer published "Gehoorzaam als een hond" (Literal translation: "Obedient as a dog"), a successful novel about his time in the French Foreign Legion. The novel became a subject of debate after Sonja Barend accused Klinkhamer of racism towards Jews in a television interview. Klinkhamer walked out of the television studio. His second novel published, "De Hotelrat en andere verhalen" (Literal translation: "The hotel-rat and other stories"), soon followed.

In 1987 the stock exchange collapsed and Klinkhamer lost his house in Portugal and his money. His wife lost her trust in him as he had secretly used her money as well. Their marriage was deteriorating. As a result, they had a raging fight in January 1991 in which he eventually crushed her skull with a crowbar. Determined not to go to prison, he then buried the body of his wife in his garden under a shed and covered the spot with a layer of concrete.

Klinkhamer soon became a suspect after the disappearance of his wife. Her bicycle was found near the train station in Winschoten, but various people had witnessed Klinkhamer placing the bicycle there himself on the morning after the fatal event. He was rigorously questioned by the police and he nearly confessed.

After the interest in the disappearance of his wife faded, Klinkhamer started writing again. He wrote "Woensdag Gehaktdag" (Literal translation: "Wednesday mince-day", or "Wednesday, Ground Meat Day"), the initial version of this manuscript was rejected by various publishers. In 1993, his novel "Losgeld" (Literal translation: "Ransom") was published, a fictional story about a jewellery robbery.

In 1997 he published "Kruis of Munt" (Literal translation: "Cross or coin"), based on the stories of his uncle, Viktor Vogelauer, who served at the SS. It paints a harsh and realistic view of how people tried to survive on either side during the Second World War. In the same year Klinkhamer moved to Amsterdam.

In February 2000, the new occupants of the house in Ganzedijk discovered the body of Hannelore Klinkhamer-Godfrinon while digging in the vast garden. Klinkhamer was arrested and confessed almost immediately. He was sentenced to serve six years in prison for manslaughter in August 2000. After appealing the sentence in February 2001, the it was raised to seven years.

Since his release from prison he has been living in Amsterdam again. His manuscript "Woensdag Gehaktdag" was eventually published in October 2007, in this novel he writes about the various theories of how and why he would have murdered his wife.


* In the spring of 2000, the American broadcaster NBC made a documentary about him.
* In January 2008, the Dutch author Wilfried de Jong spends 24 hours alone with Klinkhamer in a room. This is recorded by the Dutch broadcaster VPRO. [ view]


* Klinkhamer, Richard (2007) "Woensdag Gehaktdag" ISBN 978-90-77895-91-7
* Meijer, Martijn (2004) "Klinkhamer: een leven tussen woord en moord" ISBN 90-6801-431-5
* Klinkhamer, Richard (1996) "Kruis of mun"t ISBN 90-5526-047-9
* Klinkhamer, Richard (1993) "Losgeld" ISBN 90-6100-390-3
* Klinkhamer, Richard (1983) "De hotelrat en andere verhalen" ISBN 90-236-5581-8
* Klinkhamer, Richard (1983) "Gehoorzaam als een hond" ISBN 90-236-5535-4

External links

* [ Dutch newspaper article from the NRC about Klinkhamer in 2000]
* [ An article by Laura Martz about Klinkhamer and his work on]
* [ VPRO Television broadcast of "24 uur met Richard Klinkhamer" in January 2008]

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