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The Boys From... Chile: Colonia Dignidad/Villa Baviera

Mighty_Emperor

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It does make you wodner what else is hidden away:

Secret German Cult in Chile Breaks 43-Year Spell

Mon Nov 8, 1:30 PM ET

World - Reuters

By Fiona Ortiz

VILLA BAVIERA, Chile (Reuters) - A religious cult of German immigrants has broken decades of isolation from a world shocked by sex-abuse scandals in the group, the flight of its secretive leader and reports it once helped Chile's military government torture political prisoners.

In exclusive interviews, members of the 280-person sect ended decades of public silence to tell Reuters they had emerged from a long nightmare to the painful realization their God-like guru -- a fugitive facing child-sex charges -- had broken apart their families and fostered physical abuse.

The sect came here in the 1960s following Paul Schaefer, a charismatic World War II German army nurse, who cult members thought was God on earth and who preached an unnamed religion that said harsh discipline would draw them closer to the supreme being.

"Everyone saw him as a celestial being and no one dared doubt him. People were blind here. It was a huge shock to discover the truth," said Michael Mueller, a 47-year-old member of the community's newly elected reform committee.

Mueller spoke to a Reuters reporter who gained rare access to the 55-square mile farm, a four-hour drive south of Santiago.

The apocalyptic cult barred itself behind a perimeter fence guarded by cameras and motion detectors, and once even taunted police with Nazi salutes. A judge is probing reports it provided torture chambers for the secret police during Chile's 1973-1990 military dictatorship.

Schaefer came to Chile fleeing sex-abuse charges in Germany, and in 1961 founded Colonia Dignidad -- later renamed Villa Baviera.

Schaefer, now believed to be 81 and whose whereabouts are unknown, banned television and telephones and blotted references to love and sex out of the Bible. The cult lived frozen in time, singing German folk songs and working the fields wearing 1930s Bavarian peasant garb.

Sect leaders cozied up to Augusto Pinochet (news - web sites)'s military regime in the 1970s and 1980s, seeking protection from critics who wanted to break up what they saw as a state within a state.

Schaefer disappeared in 1997, again fleeing child sex-abuse charges, this time filed by Chilean authorities after some two dozen children who went to the cult's free clinic and school reported abuse.

WALL OF DENIAL

Over the years, defectors reported the cult split babies from their parents at birth and banned normal contact between family members. Young men and women were not allowed to date.

But until recently, cult members publicly defended Schaefer and their way of life, especially charity work helping poor children. Even after Schaefer disappeared, his rules persisted under loyal elders.

"We didn't even know what each other thought," said Mueller's wife Esther Laube, also 47.

The shy couple, who married in 2000 after Schaefer's restrictions on relationships broke down, spoke over a meat, potatoes and pickles dinner in a community dining room.

Some sect elders have been charged with abetting Schaefer in a child sex-crime case, near completion after a nine-year judicial probe.

"The judge will have to decide. Probably some will get off free and others might get strong punishment. We just have to accept that," said Hernan Escobar, 37, a Chilean adopted by the group 28 years ago.

Approached by a Reuters reporter outside a court hearing, sect members charged in the abuse case declined to comment, as did their lawyer.

Even though individuals are now free to leave, Mueller said Villa Baviera wants to stay together.

A SENSE OF DUTY

He said many feel a sense of duty to elders, some in their 80s, who speak no Spanish and have little notion how to survive in the modern world.

Years ago the German government cut off pension payments to colony members on hearing that the money all went to Schaefer. Now they are trying to win back their pensions by persuading Germany they have reformed.

Recently Villa Baviera allowed German embassy officials to enter for the first time in almost 20 years.

Under a communal system, members worked hard seven days a week, while profit from farming, forestry and construction businesses went to communal laundry, dining and housing. The cult's money was also pooled to pay for legal defense.

Some younger members of the group now chafe at that burden, but they cannot sell off land or machinery to fund the defense, because many assets were frozen under ongoing tax probes, Mueller said.

The colony also faces a tough battle in gaining sympathy from Chileans who resent its autonomy, and its resistance to police raids in the late 1990s when officials sought the missing Schaefer.

While Mueller and Laube were reticent to discuss details, Escobar said beatings to enforce discipline were widespread. He also confirmed reports from defectors that some members were forced to take drugs to quell sex desires.

"Some are very scared they will spend their last days in jail," said another source who has had extensive contact with Villa Baviera, who asked not to be identified.

Escobar said some are confronting the cold truth that under the rules against intimacy they sacrificed child-bearing years to Schaefer's vision. His prohibitions on contact worked so well that almost no babies were born there for 25 years.
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20041108/wl_nm/chile_sect_dc
 

KeyserXSoze

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Maybe we will now find out...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4340591.stm
Secrets of ex-Nazi's Chilean fiefdom

Paul Schaefer - a former Nazi medic, Baptist preacher and alleged cult leader - has finally been captured in Argentina after eight years on the run.
His arrest means Schaefer is likely to face jail for the sexual abuse of young boys, for which he was convicted in absentia in November last year after fleeing Chile.

But Schaefer also faces charges of child sex abuse in Germany that go back to the late 1950s.

Schaefer, who is in his 80s, has been denounced by former followers and by human rights campaigners.

For them, his capture signals the end to decades of impunity for what they allege are his strange and terrible crimes.

Paul Schaefer was a medic in Hitler's army during World War II. After the war, he set up an evangelical ministry and a youth home, purportedly to care for war orphans.

But he was charged with sexually abusing two boys - and in 1961 he fled to Chile, reportedly accompanied by some 70 followers.

There, in a lush valley in the Andean foothills, he set up Colonia Dignidad - now renamed Villa Baviera.

Small empire

The colony near the city of Parral, some 350km (220 miles) south of Santiago, grew to about 300 members - mostly German immigrants, or their descendants, but including some Chilean followers.


The 137-sq-km (53-sq-mile) Colonia Dignidad boasted a school, a hospital, two airstrips, a restaurant, and a power station, and reportedly made millions of dollars through a diversified range of businesses, including agriculture, mining and real estate.

It won over local people by offering jobs and free schooling and hospital care.

Details of life in the colony are hard to verify. Some visitors have described a scene from 1930s Germany, with women wearing aprons, with their hair in pigtails, and men in lederhosen.

Defenders say the members of the colony may be eccentric, but they are harmless, and in fact do good.

"I know them, and I like them," Otto Dorr Zegers, a prominent Chilean psychiatrist who has worked in the Colonia Dignidad hospital, told the New York Times.

"Their ideology is a little bit old-fashioned, like that of the Mennonites who went to the United States, but nothing justifies the co-ordinated, synchronised lies and distortions that have been invented about them."


The names of centres such as Colonia Dignidad... continue to evoke chilling memories in Chile
Amnesty International

But "defectors" from the camp paint a more sinister picture. His accusers say Colonia Dignidad was Schaefer's fiefdom, where he was worshipped as a god.

They say residents, who are never allowed beyond the gates of the camp, are kept strictly segregated into genders - so much so that the birth rate of the camp is extremely low.

Residents are taught to shun sexual desires - with electric shocks administered to the genitals of young boys, former residents say.

And they accuse Schaeffer of the almost daily sexual abuse of young boys. Horror stories have emerged of the young sons of poor local families "disappearing" within the barriers of the compound.

Torture house

But the story of Paul Schaefer is not confined to the perimeter fence of the colony - topped with barbed wire, studded with searchlights, and overlooked by a watchtower.

It goes right to the heart of the Chilean state during the iron rule of Gen Augusto Pinochet in the 1970s and 1980s - a period with which Chileans are still struggling to come to terms today.


The son of Manuel Contreras - the head of Dina, Chile's now-disbanded notorious secret police - has told the Los Angeles Times his father first visited Colonia Dignidad with Gen Pinochet in 1974.

He has spoken of the warm relationship that grew between his father and Schaefer.

Former political prisoners of Gen Pinochet have testified to a warren of stone-walled tunnels under the colony, where they were taken to be tortured with electric shocks to the strains of Wagner and Mozart.

The Truth and Justice Commission, which investigated human rights abuses during Gen Pinochet's rule, backs such allegations.

And despite decades of allegations concerning the sexual abuse of boys within the compound, charges were not filed against Schaefer until 1996 - six years after Chile began its return to democracy.

Thanks to Schaefer's close links with Chile's ruling elite, the colony was able to operate with impunity as a "state within a state", said a Chilean congressional report.

Critics say elements within Chile's ruling establishment would still prefer to keep details of his involvement with Gen Pinochet's government concealed.

They say Chile must confront such allegations if it is to complete the process of coming to terms with its past.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Friday March 11, 06:53 AM


Former German Nazi pedophile captured in Argentina




BUENOS AIRES (AFP) - A former German Nazi soldier turned Chilean sect leader was arrested on charges of pedophilia and committing torture during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

Paul Schaefer, 83, was arrested in the community of Tortuguitas, a town 30 kilometers (18 miles) west of Buenos Aires along with six people described as his security team, Argentine police said.

Schaefer was the charismatic leader of a German enclave in southern Chile called Colonia Dignidad. He has been hiding since a warrant for his arrest on multiple counts of pedophilia was issued in August 1996.

Schaefer was convicted of the charges in November 2004 along with 22 other Dignidad members.

Argentine Police Commissioner Alejandro Dinisio told AFP police that Schaefer carried no identification documents and refused to speak at the time of his arrest. He added that police had been on his trail for six months.

Argentine television reporters mobbed Schaefer as an agent pushed the elderly suspect on his wheelchair into a provincial police station. Officials said he could be transferred to Buenos Aires as early as Friday.

Schaefer appeared on television handcuffed and smiling, and holding a bottle of soda.

A former corporal and medic in the Nazi army, Schaefer fled Germany to Chile in 1961 to avoid child sexual abuse charges.

He established the self-subsistent Colonia Dignidad, also called Villa Baviera, in the mountains near the city of Parral, some 350 kilometers (218 miles) south of Santiago along with other German immigrants.

Surrounded by barbed and electrified wire and protected by barricades, the community adhered to a strict discipline and remained cut off from the rest of Chilean life.

In 1996 a number of former residents testified that Schaefer systematically abused the colony's young children, many of whom were taken from the parents at birth.

Chilean officials also want Schaefer in connection with torture during the 1973-1990 Pinochet dictatorship.

Investigators say that political prisoners, including former leftist leader Alvaro Vallejos Villagran -- arrested by Pinochet agents in May 1974 -- vanished after being sent to Colonia Dignidad.

A former member of Pinochet's secret police gave testimony stating that he knew Vallejos Villagran was taken alive to Dignidad.

Police also want to question Schaefer about the 1985 disappearance of Boris Weisfeiler, an American Jewish mathematics professor of Russian origin.

Investigators believe Weisfeiler was picked up by a military border patrol while he was backpacking in the region on suspicion of being a spy and dropped off at Dignidad.

Weisfeiler's sister Olga said there were reports by Dignidad residents of seeing him alive up to two years later.

To accelerate Schaefer's departure, the Chilean interior minister asked his Argentine counterpart to kick him out of Argentina and avoid going to court to ask for an extradition, which could delay the case with appeals.

The arrest "was good reason for which we are all happy," said Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, who will meet his Argentine counterparts on Monday at a previously scheduled event.
Source
 

ramonmercado

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Now I'm sure he has a few tales to tell. If he lives long enough to do so...


Argentina expels Chile cult head

Paul Schaefer was the supreme ruler of the closed community
Argentina has deported a formerNazi to Chile, where he is wanted on charges of sexuallyabusing children.
The move 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 fortorture and child abuse under Schaefer.

Schaefer was arrested on Thursday after a joint operation between Argentine and Chilean police.

He was taken to hospital on Friday complaining of high blood pressure, but health concerns did not affect the deportation order, passed under a new Argentinean law to avoid complex extradition procedures.

Suspicions

His expulsion was confirmed by Argentine federal judge Hector Echave and Chilean Interior Minister Jose Miguel Insulza.

He is also wanted in Germany on suspicion of the abuse and corruption of minors, and is under investigation in France.

He is expected to face a court hearing on Monday after returning to Chile by air force transport.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4344503.stm
 

ramonmercado

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Chile cult leader Schaefer dies in Chile prison
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8641882.stm

Paul Schaefer, a former Nazi corporal, established the colony in 1961
Paul Schaefer, a former Nazi corporal and founder of a cult-like community in Chile, has died in prison aged 88.

He was in jail serving a 20-year sentence for sexually abusing children at the Colonia Dignidad, some during Chile's military dictatorship.

The former Baptist preacher established the colony in southern Chile in 1961, after fleeing Germany to escape separate child abuse charges.

He had close ties to Chile's elite during Gen Augusto Pinochet's rule.

Schaefer denied allowing Chile's secret police to use the enclave as a centre for torturing left-wing dissidents in the 1970s and 1980s.

'State within state'

While under Schaefer's control, most of the commune's residents are believed to have been held there against their will.


Colonia Dignidad was taken over by the Chilean government in 2005
He had fled Chile in 1997 and was convicted of sex crimes in absentia. He was found hiding in Argentina in March 2005 and sent back for a fresh trial.

A Chilean congressional report has said that Colonia Dignidad - which means Dignity Colony - operated as a "state within a state" during the Pinochet regime, thanks to Schaefer's close ties to the country's ruling elite.

Chile's government took over the 13,000-hectare (32,000-acre) colony in 2005.

Former members said Schaefer forced children to live separately from their parents, banning contact with the outside world.
 

ramonmercado

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Colonia Dignidad cult suspects arrested in Chile
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-13535187

Related Stories

Chilean colony sex abuser jailed
Chile officials take over colony
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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.

They handed themselves in after a judge ordered their arrest on Monday along with five others.

The judge issued a warrant for the arrest of Hartmut Hopp, the deputy leader of Colonia Dignidad who is thought to have fled to Germany.

Ms Schaefer is the adopted daughter of the former cult leader and Nazi sympathiser, Paul Schaefer, who died in prison in April 2010.

He was serving a 20-year term for sexually abusing children at Colonia Dignidad.

The Baptist preacher founded the commune in 1961 in a remote area about 390km (245 miles) south of the capital Santiago.

House arrest
Ms Schaefer and her husband Peter Schmidt were detained after travelling to a police station together.

The justice ministry told the BBC that Chile had filed an international warrant via Interpol for the arrest of Hartmut Hopp.


Paul Schaefer, a former Nazi, established the colony in 1961
Hopp, 66, disappeared last Friday while on bail awaiting trial.

"We are aware of press reports that he may have fled to his native Germany," justice ministry spokesman, Hector Cruzac, said.

The Chilean authorities are currently investigating how the German national managed to flee from house arrest.

Hopp, who is a medical doctor by profession, was convicted by a court last year of child sex abuse.

However, the authorities had not yet jailed him as they wanted to put him on trial on additional charges, including membership of a banned organisation.

The fugitive's daughter-in-law, Baerbel Schreiber, told a Chilean investigative website that he had arrived in Germany several days ago and was still there.

Colonia Dignidad served as a torture centre during the military rule of Gen Augusto Pinochet.

The colony was taken over by the Chilean government in 2005.

A subsequent investigation showed how it operated as a state within a state, with children forced to live separately from their parents.
 

ramonmercado

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Vid at link.

The Colony: Chile's dark past uncovered
http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/alj ... 74517.html
How did a secret German sect in Chile become a haven for Nazi fugitives and a torture centre for the Pinochet regime?
Al Jazeera Correspondent Last updated: 09 Nov 2013 09:00

Forty years after the US-backed military coup that brought General Augusto Pinochet to power in Chile, the truth about the sordid abuses and crimes that took place during his dictatorship are still emerging.

The mountains of Patagonia in southern Chile witnessed a particularly bizarre chapter of the Pinochet era; one that is still claiming victims today.

In 1961, a former Nazi officer called Paul Schaefer fled Germany, along with hundreds of others, to found a sect in southern Chile. In an idyllic rural enclave framed by the Andes Mountains he created a virtual state within a state - one where horrifying events unfolded.

Initially with the ignorance of the government, and then with the complicity of the Pinochet regime, children were separated from their parents at birth and raised in a Kinder House. Men and women were kept apart and often drugged, while Schaefer systematically sexually abused boys and, occasionally, girls.

But it was not only the residents of Colonia Dignidad, or the Dignity Colony, that endured such brutalities. The secluded Colony, set on a huge estate featuring forests, mountains and rivers and enclosed by electrified barbed wire fences and look-out posts manned by armed guards, was the perfect place for the interrogation, torture and disposal of anyone Pinochet considered to be an enemy.

It also served as a haven for Nazi fugitives - such as Walter Rauff, the inventor of the portable gas chamber, and Joseph Mengele, the so-called 'Angel of Death' - who were permitted to hide out there in exchange for overseeing sophisticated forms of torture.

All of this took place with the full knowledge of the Pinochet regime, whose notorious intelligence chief, General Manuel Contreras, would often visit the site.

In The Colony: Chile's dark past uncovered, the truth about what took place inside the Colony is revealed through the story of Winfried Hempel. Now 35, Hempel was born into the Colony and raised there without any knowledge of who his parents were. When he first left its grounds, he was 20 years old, spoke no Spanish, had no notion of the country in which he lived and had never seen a television, computer or mobile phone.

Although he initially struggled to adapt to the world beyond Colonia Dignidad, he gradually learned to speak Spanish, received his high school certificate and eventually qualified as a lawyer.

Al Jazeera's Lucia Newman has followed the story of the Colonia Dignidad since 1996 - at one point even being turned away from the site at gunpoint. As a Chilean, she wants to expose the crimes that took place there - crimes that her country was not only complicit in, but an active participant to.


Al Jazeera Correspondent can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Thursday: 2000; Friday: 1200; Saturday: 0100; Sunday: 0600; Monday: 2000; Tuesday: 1130; Wednesday: 0100; Thursday: 0600.
 

ramonmercado

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Latest news on one of the Cult leaders.

Prosecutors in Germany say they have dropped their investigation into Hartmut Hopp, who worked as a doctor in a notorious commune in southern Chile.

Hopp was the right-hand man of Paul Schäfer, a former Nazi soldier who founded Colonia Dignidad in 1961. A court in Chile found Hopp guilty of complicity in child sex abuse committed by Schäfer but the doctor fled to Germany before he could be jailed. German prosecutors say the evidence was not enough to uphold the ruling. Hopp's lawyer said that his client was "disgusted by the cruelties committed in Colonia Dignidad" but that he had never suspected that they were taking place.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-48199495
 
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