Colonia Dignidad cult victims seek escape from nightmare past

Paul Schaefer A little over two years ago former Nazi Paul Schaefer, who founded a secretive German cult in Southern Chile in the 1960s and was later convicted of sexually abusing children, died of heart failure in a prison hospital.

But today, ten years after Chilean police raided Colonia Dignidad’s properties, many of his victims are still seeking closure from the human rights abuses they experienced.

Colonia Dignidad cult suspects arrested in Chile

Peter Schmidt Police in Chile have arrested two suspected members of the secretive sect, Colonia Dignidad.

Rebeca Schaefer and Peter Schmidt are accused of kidnapping, manslaughter and membership of an illicit organisation.

Jailed Chilean cult leader Paul Schaefer dies at 88

Colonia Digniad cult leader Paul Schaefer Former Nazi Paul Schaefer, who founded a secretive German cult in Southern Chile in the 1960s and was later convicted of sexually abusing children, died of heart failure in a prison hospital Saturday, officials said.

He was 88.

Colonia Dignidad founder sentenced for child torture

Paul Schaeffer The founder of a religious cult whose followers thought he was “God on earth” has been sentenced for torturing children.

He preached an unnamed religion that said harsh discipline would draw them closer to the supreme being.

Exodus at Colonia Dignidad cult colony

Villa Baviera, the name now given to Chile’s famous cult colony Colonia Dignidad, may soon be no more than just a memory: the colony’s population has now dropped to only 198 residents. As many as 1,000 (mostly German) colonists once inhabited the colony’s compound. Colony spokesperson Herman Schwember said that 15 families left the colony […]

Head of German colony in Chile sentenced

SANTIAGO, Chile — The jailed leader of a commune-like German colony in southern Chile was sentenced Monday to seven years in prison for arms possession. Paul Schaefer, 84, the former leader of Colonia Dignidad, or Dignity Colony, was convicted after a large cache of arms was found at the secretive enclave near Parral, 200 miles […]

Report: Missing Pinochet-Era Dissidents Were Killed at Secretive German Colony

SANTIAGO, Chile–At least 22 dissidents who disappeared under the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet were killed at a secretive German commune and their bodies later burned with chemicals, the government-owned La Nacion newspaper reported Sunday. The killings occurred during the two months after the Sep. 11, 1973 military coup in which Pinochet toppled elected Marxist […]

Colonia Dignidad: German group in Chile watches 1st football game

VILLA BAVIERA, Chile (Reuters) – Dozens of German immigrants who once belonged to a secretive religious sect in southern Chile watched a televised football match for the first time on Friday when Germany beat Argentina in the World Cup. The group, including many elderly Germans who moved to Chile in the 1960s and did not […]

Nazi who led cult like a god is jailed for child sex abuse

85-year-old preacher is also accused of letting General Pinochet use colony to torture enemies A former Nazi soldier who founded an extremist religious cult in Chile has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually abusing children. Paul Schaëfer, 85, was jailed for abusing children at the Colonia Dignidad (Dignity Colony), which he founded […]

Chile jails leader of secretive colony for 20 years

SANTIAGO — The leader of a now-dismantled colony founded by German immigrants in southern Chile was convicted of sexually abusing 25 children and sentenced to 20 years in jail. Judge Hernan Gonzalez also ordered Paul Schaefer, 84, on Wednesday to pay more than $1.4-million to 11 of the children whose families filed a civil suit […]

Chilean cult leader gets 20-year sentence for abuse

SANTIAGO – The German leader of a former religious cult in Chile has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexual abuse of 25 children, local media has reported. Paul Schaefer, 84, fled Chile in 1997 when authorities began investigating sex abuse accusations against him. He lived in hiding in Argentina until last year […]

Former German cult in Chile apologizes for abuses

SANTIAGO, Chile (Reuters) – Former members of a German cult based on a communal farm in southern Chile on Wednesday issued a public apology and asked for forgiveness for 40 years of child sex and human rights abuses. In a full-page letter published in a leading Chilean newspaper, former members of the Colonia Dignidad communal […]

Chile colony leaders face charges

A Chilean judge has indicted 18 people linked to a former German colony in southern Chile over human rights abuses committed during military rule. Among them are two former commanders of the Chilean secret police, as well as Paul Schaefer, the colony’s founder. The judge says the security services used the sprawling property to hide […]

Chile discovers secret grave on cult grounds

SANTIAGO, Chile, Jan 3 (Reuters) – Chilean officials have discovered an old grave on the property of a secretive German cult where opponents to the nation’s 17-year dictatorship may have been buried after being tortured and killed. Chilean Judge Jorge Zepeda said on Tuesday the cult property, known as Colonia Dignidad and once run by […]

Mass grave found in Chile enclave

A Chilean judge is investigating the discovery of an unmarked grave in a German enclave in the south of Chile. Rights groups say the colony’s leaders helped with the repression of left-wing activists during military rule. It is thought dozens of bodies were buried at the enclave formerly known as Colonia Dignidad, but later moved. […]

German held over ‘Chile torture’

A German doctor is in custody after allegedly admitting she tortured a number of children at Colonia Dignidad, a secretive religious colony in Chile. Gisela Seewald, 75, is said to have told a judge that she gave them electroshock treatment and sedatives. She was ordered to do so by the group’s ex-leader, Paul Schaefer, who […]

Search for bodies to begin at Chile’s Colinia Dignidad

30 Prisoners “Disappeared” By Pinochets Military Regime May Finally Be Found (Oct. 12, 2005) Judicial officials expect to begin excavation this week for the bodies of political prisoners thought to have been killed at the Colonia Dignidad compound during the 17-year Pinochets military dictatorship. This latest chapter in the Colonia Dignidad saga follows the arrest […]

At Cult’s Enclave in Chile, Guns and Intelligence Files

The authorities in Chile searching for victims of Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship who are said to be buried at the enclave of a secretive, apocalyptic religious cult of German emigres have unearthed a large cache of weapons and intelligence files. “This arsenal is going to end up being the biggest ever found in private hands […]

Weapons arsenal found buried in Chile’s ex-Colonia Dignidad

Weapons Prove Colony’s Complicity During Dictatorship, Government Says (June 17, 2005) The Special Brigade of the Investigaciones Police found Chile’s largest private weapons collection buried in the German enclave formerly known as Colonia Dignidad. A few days ago, police were alerted to the arsenal’s whereabouts by some of the colony’s settlers, who were being questioned […]
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