Category: Colonia Dignidad

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.

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 last year because of fear that remaining residents may be prosecuted for involvement in crimes committed by colony founder Paul Schaefer. Of the 198 people left in the colony, there are 116 adults, 64 retirees, and 18 small children. No teenagers live in 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 south of Santiago. Two of Schaefer’s former aides also were sentenced to five years in prison. The commune-like Dignity Colony was founded by German immigrants in southern Chile and developed into a prosperous farming operation. Its leaders, however, were accused of serious human rights abuses

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 President Salvador Allende, the paper said. Pinochet ruled until 1990. The disclosure was made by Gerhard Mucke, one of the former leaders of Colonia Dignidad _ or Dignity Colony _ to Jorge Zepeda, the judge investigating human rights abuses at the sprawling farm 340 kilometers

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 watch television for 40 years under the strict rules of their cult, drank beer as they watched the game on a big screen adorned with German flags. “This is the first time that we’ve seen the World Cup together,” 56-year-old Wolfgang Muller told Reuters. “I

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 in 1961 with several hundred followers from Germany, over whom he exercised absolute control for the next 36 years. Keeping his followers in almost total isolation from the outside world, Schaëfer sought to re-create a rural Bavarian idyll in the shadow of the Chilean Andes,

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 against the former leader of Colonia Dignidad, or ‘Dignity Colony.’ The colony, about 350 kilometres south of Santiago, was founded by Mr. Schaefer and other German immigrants in the early 1960s and developed into a prosperous farming operation. It also had a hospital and school