Category: Colonia Dignidad

Guru of Sadism, Safely in Jail, Leaves Cult to Fend for Itself

VILLA BAVIERA, Chile – The disembodied voice of a woman speaking Spanish with a heavy German accent echoes from behind the one-way mirror at the guardhouse. “You can go in now,” she says, and the white metal gates to Colonia Dignidad, the secretive paramilitary religious sect that took refuge here in the foothills of the Andes more than 40 years ago, slowly swing open. A winding dirt road leads to the compound where Chilean authorities say that Paul Schäfer, a former Nazi Luftwaffe medic turned lay preacher, sexually molested scores of young boys. A few yards away is a hospital

Chilean judge indicts five aides to cult leader

SANTIAGO – A Chilean judge has indicted five people who helped a German while he was hiding in Argentina as he faced numerous allegations of human rights abuses and sexual abuse in Chile, press reports said on Thursday. The judge accused Peter Schmidt, Mathias Gerlach, Felipe Zeitner, Rebecca Schaefer and Renata Freitag of protecting Paul Schaefer, a former Nazi soldier and the onetime leader of the “Colonia Dignidad” cult and commune in Chile. Schaefer left the country in 1997 to escape accusations of sex abuse and other crimes. The German citizen is also accused of letting the commune be used

German ex-cult head faces new charges in Chile

SANTIAGO, Chile, March 21 (Reuters) – Ex-cult leader Paul Schaefer, a German citizen accused of aiding the secret police during Chile’s 1973-1990 military dictatorship, was charged on Monday in the disappearance of a second political prisoner and with sexually abusing 26 children. Schaefer led a cult of several hundred German followers in Southern Chile for decades. He fled Chile in 1997 and eluded capture until his arrest earlier this month in a Buenos Aires suburb. A judge found Schaefer guilty of child sexual abuse in 26 cases last year, but because Schaefer was not present, the verdict was never formalized

Ex-cult leader indicted in disappearance of leftist

SANTIAGO – A Chilean judge on Thursday indicted former Nazi soldier Paul Schaefer, leader and founder of the “Colonia Dignidad” cult and commune, in the disappearance of a leftist from the community. Judge Joaquin Billard handed down the indictment against Schaefer in the disappearance of Alvaro Vallejos, who was arrested during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet and taken to Colonia Dignidad. After his arrest and transfer to the community in 1974, Vallejos was never seen again. Billard made his decision after receiving a medical report indicating that German citizen Schaefer, 83, is in good health and fit to face

Judge questions Chile cult head

Former Nazi and cult leader Paul Schaefer has been questioned by a judge in Chile over the disappearance of a left-wing activist in 1974. The judge ordered the convicted paedophile be jailed until later this week, when it will be decided whether to bring formal charges against him. Another judge is set to question Schaefer later in the week over the sexual abuse of 26 children. Schaefer, 83, was deported on Sunday from Argentina. He entered the closed court on Monday in a wheelchair under police escort, and a crowd shouted insults at him as he was taken away from

Argentina hands over fugitive in Chile sex case

SANTIAGO – The former head of a secretive German colony in southern Chile was flown to Santiago early Sunday after his arrest in Argentina. Paul Schaefer, who founded the commune-like enclave in 1961, is wanted in connection with the disappearance of a dissident under the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet ruled from 1973-90. Schaefer, 83, also faces charges of sexually abusing children at the colony, Colonia Dignidad, 400 kilometers, or 245 miles, south of Santiago. He was arrested Thursday near the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires. The Chilean interior minister, Jose Miguel Insulza, thanked the Argentine government for expelling

Argentina expels Chile cult head

Argentina is to deport a former Nazi to Chile, where he is wanted on charges of sexually abusing children. The decision was announced two days after Chile’s most wanted fugitive was arrested after eight years on the run. Schaefer, 83, was a corporal in the German army during World War II before running a religious commune in Chile. Colonia Dignidad, established in 1961, was cut off from the outside world and was alleged to have been a centre for torture and child abuse under Schaefer. Schaefer was arrested on Thursday after a joint operation between Argentine and Chilean police. He

Indicted Chile cult leader ‘ill’

A former Nazi and fugitive child abuser, Paul Schaefer, has been taken to hospital in Argentina, a day after his arrest ended eight years in hiding. An Interpol official in Buenos Aires confirmed that Mr Schaefer had been taken ill, but gave no other details. Schaefer, 83, was a corporal in the German army during World War II. He set up a religious and farming commune in Chile in 1961, known as Colonia Dignidad, and is now wanted in Chile on child abuse charges. Schaefer was arrested on Thursday after a joint operation between Argentine and Chilean police ending eight

Cult leader arrest stirs joy in Chile

VILLA BAVIERA, Chile (Reuters) – Members of a German-Chilean religious cult have celebrated the arrest of their ex-leader, a fugitive convicted as a paedophile. Human rights lawyers said the arrest could help them prove the cult aided the 1973-1990 dictatorship in the torture of political prisoners. Chile’s most-wanted man, 83-year-old German citizen Paul Schaefer, was arrested on Thursday in an elegant suburb of Buenos Aires in neighbouring Argentina after eight years on the lam. On Friday, Schaefer was hospitalised after falling ill, Interpol in Argentina told Reuters, without giving any further details. A Chilean judge convicted Schaefer in absentia last

Capture of former Nazi hailed

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has hailed the arrest of former Nazi Paul Schaefer in Argentina, saying he hoped it would shed light on alleged child sex abuse at a shady sect he led in Chile. Schaefer, 83, was arrested on Thursday in a joint operation between Argentine and Chilean police in a small town west of Buenos Aires, Argentine police said. He led a German sect in southern Chile called Colonia Dignidad and had been in hiding since a warrant for his arrest on multiple counts of pedophilia was issued in August 1996. Schaefer was convicted of the charges