Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Colonia Dignidad (later renamed Villa Baviera), located near Catillo in southern Chile, is a settlement founded by German immigrants in 1961. The full name of the colony is La Sociedad Benefactora y Educacional Dignidad, like its precursor which the immigrants started in the mid-1950s.
The settlement's secretive and seclusive nature has made it, much like Area 51, a fertile ground for a nefarious mix of both fact and legend. Some claim it was a Nazi colony used by Augusto Pinochet to torture and kill political dissidents. Still others have speculated Colonia Dignidad was also used by its Nazi founders for occult rituals (see Levendas: Unholy Alliance, in the list of references).
Survivor accounts have verified that Colonia Dignidad was used as a concentration camp for the detention and torture of political prisoners during Pinochet's dictatorial rule of Chile. Most accounts have this happening between 1973 and 1977 but precise dates are not known. Investigations by Amnesty International and the Chilean National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation Report have further confirmed that Colonia Dignidad was used as an arm of DINA, the Chilean secret police, in conjunction with the colony's leaders for holding and torturing political prisoners.
Paul Schäfer, the former leader of Colonia Dignidad, was arrested in Argentina and deported to Chile in March 2005. He is accused of child sexual abuse (like he was in Germany before moving to Chile) and also wanted for questioning about the disappearance of Boris Weisfeiler in 1985, an American Jewish mathematics professor of Russian origin. Prior to the 2005 arrest Schäfer had been on the run for 8 years.
- Levenda, Peter (2nd ed., 2002). Unholy Alliance: History of the Nazi Involvement With the Occult. Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 0826414095.
- Colonia Dignidad information – From CHIP, The Chile Information Project
- "Torture colony raided in Chile" – By Martin A. Lee, San Francisco Bay Guardian, 30 October 2000
- Paul Schäfer arrest, Colonia Dignidad background – Reuters
- Paul Schäfer arrest, Colonia Dignidad background – BBC
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