“It wasn’t me”:

Prince Vittorio Emanuele’s defense in the death of Dirk Hamer


In July 2023 the book “The Prince – The true story of Vittorio Emanuele“. This was written by Birgit Hamer, sister of the deceased Dirk Hamer who died 4 months after being hit by a bullet during a fight in which he was involved Victor Emmanuel of Savoy. The preface is by Beatrice Borromeo Casiraghi, who directed a miniseries on Netflix, dedicated precisely to the human and judicial story linked to the news. And in the trailer, Vittorio Emanuele’s voice begins like this: “Someone shot that poor boy with a gun. It wasn’t my rifle”.

The murder

Born in 1937, Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia is the son of the last king of Italy, Umberto II. He is certainly a character who, despite himself, polarizes the public opinion. Despite himself for a series of reasons: he was a child when the Second World War ended, when Italy chose the Republic and the exile of the Savoy males, then readmitted to the Belpaese in 2002. Among the controversies, even later.

Because it is inevitable for the Savoys: above all when a part of the country still blames the family, wrongly, for the annexation to Piedmont in 1861 which led to the unification of Italy. 1861, a distant era, in which Vittorio Emanuele was far from being even in the projects of his ancestors.

Now, the story of Dirk Hamer’s death seems to be something confusing history and chronicle, too recent to be completely crystallized and assimilated without generating reactions. What happened? On August 18, 1978, Vittorio Emanuele was off the island of Cavallo, Corsica, with his yacht. There were two other boats: the Coke’s Nicky Pende former husband of Stefania Sandrelli, and the Mapagia, where some were staying German tourists.

At one point Pende’s guests would take the Zodiac dinghy from Emanuele Filiberto, son of the “Prince”, to reach the marina: Vittorio Emanuele shouldered his carbine and was involved in a fight with Pende himself. Two shots were fired: according to the accusations, one of them penetrated the nacelle of the German tourist boat, thus hitting Dirk Hamer, the 19-year-old son of doctor Ryke Geerd Hamer. The German teenager slept in the hold. The bullet severed his femoral artery, ending its journey in his tailbone.

Thus the young Hamer died on December 7, 1978: the event, as can be understood, threw his loved ones into the blackest despair and led to a trial. In 2011 Pende stated: “I constantly had the impression of a fake trial”. In fact, Pende, in an interview with Fatto Quotidiano, recounted his impressions of the brawl and the trial, explaining among other things that he saw, after being wounded, Dirk Hamer staggering standing on the boat and that in his opinion the death would be related to rescue delays. Why “someone, out of cowardice, pretended that nothing had happened”.

The course of justice

The interception of Vittorio Emanuele

The case was placed in the hands of French justice, since the incident took place in Corsica. The defense argued that in that circumstance, it was not only Vittorio Emanuele who was armed, but there would have been other people, who later escaped, who would have fired during the dispute. From its own the prosecution had a fact: the caliber and the bullet jacket that had hit Hamer would not have been the same as the bullets from Vittorio Emanuele’s carbine.

The latter was then acquitted of the charges of homocide in 1991, but was sentenced to 6 months probation for illegal carrying of a firearm outside your home. Vittorio Emanuele would later tell Repubblica: “That incident ruined my life and destroyed my reputation. People judged me without waiting for the sentence”. In fact, the story did not end there and not only because the gossip magazines recalled the story for decades.

On 21 June 2006, Vittorio Emanuele was in custody in the Potenza prison for another legal case – the prosecutor John Woodcock was investigating an alleged tour of escorts, bribes and gambling, as reported by Repubblica – and the “Prince” was intercepted and filmed with a hidden camera while talking to another inmate: “Even if I was wrong… wrong… in the trial I have to say that I cheated them… exceptional, then you have… twenty witnesses and many of those public personalities appeared. The Prosecutor had asked for 5 years and 6 months. I was sure of winning”. With this interception the rejection of the revocation for the ban on expatriation was motivated by the investigating judge Rocco Pavese, even if according to the defense the interception would have been manipulated with some omissions. However, public opinion found itself wondering: were those words, provided they weren’t manipulated as the defense claimed, real or the result of a context such as prison?

In February 2011, as reported by Il Fatto Quotidiano, Vittorio Emanuele spoke firsthand about those wiretaps: “These news are sometimes manipulated or are not true. But now is the time to speak up, to bring out the truth. Two French courts ruled acquitting me of all responsibility. They did it because there is clear evidence. The bullet that hit the boy couldn’t have been from my rifle. Someone shot that poor boy with a gun, that’s the truth”. Birgit Hamer who had abandoned her modeling career to try to find justice for her brother, said instead: “Watching that video is horrendous, but it is also a great relief. Now that gentleman will never again be able to claim that he didn’t shoot my brother: I won my battle, indeed Dirk’s”.

A long battle then ensued in Vittorio Emanuele’s Italy on right to be forgotten, in which he was sentenced to 2 years suspended for slander against the sister of the deceased. The Italian justice stated that “must deal with the right of the community to be informed and updated on the facts on which the formation of one’s beliefs depends, even when the person entitled to that right is discredited, so that Savoia cannot complain about the exhumation of a fact certainly suitable for the formation of the public opinion”.

In another lawsuit filed by Vittorio Emanuele for libel in the press the Cassation in 2017 on the other hand stated that “the circumstantial elements used in the sentence of the appeal (the investigations carried out by the French gendarmerie, the solution given to the case by the Parisian Court and the interceptions carried out in the Potenza prison) actually constitute a compendium of circumstantial evidence more than sufficient to substantiate the opinion that Savoia has been acquitted of the crime of voluntary homicide, but not that all his responsibility has been excluded in the tragic event for which he bears, however, a load of responsibility”.

The medical theories of the victim’s father

Ryke Geerd Hamer with photos of his wife and son

After the death of his son Dirk, the doctor Ryke Geerd Hamer developed a highly controversial medical theory in 1981, according to which diseases are caused by trauma and unresolved conflicts: the same doctor was affected by testicular cancer, which would have been linked to the loss of his son and the legal proceedings that followed. His wife also had cancer: she died of cardiac arrest 7 years after her son.

Hamer’s statements, sometimes also accused of anti-Semitism, were refuted by official medicine, even if some people and organizations in the world continue to follow them. According to his theory, called New German Medicine, tumors would originate precisely from unresolved conflicts, metastases would not exist, viruses and bacteria would help heal, traumas could also be visualized through a CT scan, while diabetes in women would be caused by a conflict of a sexual nature. Several courts in different countries have ruled on individual cases in which patients who had embraced Hamer’s theories died after abandoning the paths of official medicine.

We also publish public media reports because we want to document how ruthlessly they lied about Dr. Hamer and the murder of his son Dirk. We recommend reading the documents in our online archive and the book "Einer gegen alle" (One Against All).