Buenos Aires Times

latin america CHILD ABUSE SCANDAL

German delegation visits Chile over Nazi paedophile sect

Colonia Dignidad was a strictly-governed commune founded in 1961 by a group of German immigrants led by former Nazi medic Paul Schaefer, who had fled Germany to escape child abuse charges. 

Wednesday 25 April, 2018
A colony called Villa Baviera now exists on the site of what was once Colonia Dignidad, a notorious Nazi paedophile sect founded by German immigrants in the 1960s
A colony called Villa Baviera now exists on the site of what was once Colonia Dignidad, a notorious Nazi paedophile sect founded by German immigrants in the 1960s Foto:AFP-File-Claudio Reyes

More Latin america News

A German delegation has arrived in Chile to learn more about the ongoing investigation into Colonia Dignidad, a notorious Nazi paedophile sect founded by German immigrants in the 1960s. 

Judge Mario Carroza held nearly two hours of talks with German prosecutors and representatives of the justice ministry on Monday, updating them on the Chilean probe into the sect's leaders, judicial officials said. 

The visit comes as German courts are mulling an appeal filed by Dr Hartmut Hopp, a central figure in the scandal who fled Chile in 2011 after being convicted of complicity in 16 cases of child abuse.

Colonia Dignidad was a strictly-governed commune founded in 1961 by a group of German immigrants led by former Nazi medic Paul Schaefer, who had fled Germany to escape child abuse charges. 

At the colony – a 13,000-hectare (32,000-acre) mountain resort located in an isolated region south of Santiago – residents were abused, tortured, indoctrinated and kept as virtual slaves for over three decades.

In 1996, Schaefer went on the run again – fleeing to Argentina to escape further abuse charges – but was caught in 2005 and jailed a year later for 20 years for abusing and torturing children and other residents. 

He was also charged with collaborating with the dictatorship of general Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), whose secret police used the colony as a place to torture opponents. He died in prison in 2010, aged 88.

The scale of the atrocities only came to light after the fall of the Pinochet regime. 

"We have shared information, provided certain documents and opened the way for witnesses to testify in Germany," Carroza told reporters. 

German prosecutor Axel Stahl also requested information on Hopp, Schaefer's right-hand man who fled Chile for Germany in 2011 to escape jail for child abuse. 

Although Berlin refused a Chilean request to extradite him, in 2017, a German court upheld the sentence, saying he should serve five years behind bars in Germany. 

But with an appeal under way, Hopp remains free. 

Carroza said he had requested permission to question people in Germany who could have been involved or may have fresh information on Colonia Dignidad. 

The German delegation will also meet with an appeal court judge involved in the case.

- AFP

Poll

Op-Ed

Top Stories

  1. 1Police suspect 12-year-old girl's suicide linked to WhatsApp terror game MomoPolice suspect 12-year-old girl's suicide linked to WhatsApp terror game Momo
  2. 2Campaigners rally in BA to demand separation between Church and State
  3. 3Macri to petition ICC over Venezuela's 'crimes against humanity'
  4. 4The clock is ticking for the European Union
  5. 5When Naipaul came to town
  6. 6Five years on, Pope Francis under fire over sex abuse scandals
  7. 7Argentina eyes off lithium growth despite concerns
  8. 8Cleaning up a crumbling economy
  9. 9Confusion reigns as Venezuela braces for release of new banknotes
  10. 10Argentina eyes off lithium growth despite concerns