Colonia Dignidad: Welcome To Hell

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As we’ve noted several times, American horror films are taking a disturbing nose dive towards snuff flicks.  The past five years have seen a rapid escalation of the sadism and torture quotient, notably movies like Hostel and the Saw series.  Although I should probably just chalk it up to the Kali Yuga, it bothers me a lot because frankly, there’s very little fiction in these movies.  (It also bothers me because these films are all pretty weak: after Passolini’s film Salo, there is absolutely nothing more that can be done with onscreen brutality.  Don’t believe me?  Watch it.)

Today we’re going to look at a little-known spot in Chile.  Villa Baveria is the more recent moniker—but we’ll refer to by the name it used to be known as, which is Colonia Dignidad.  I’ve had a number of readers express disgust and shock about our previous article on “The Finders,” and I would urge them not to read this at all.  Colonia Dignidad was essentially a non-stop, decades-long version of the most brutal horror film ever made—and that’s probably an understatement.

Say Hello to Paul Schafer

Paul Shafer nazi pedophile monsterPaul Shafer, like most German teenagers in the 30s and 40s, was a member of Hitler Youth.  This is rather unexceptional, after all the current pope, Josef Ratzinger, was also a member of that prestigious organization, and he turned out just fine.

Shafer got medical training and spent WWII as a doctor for the Luftwaffe.  After the war, he became a Baptist preacher and established several charitable organizations and orphanages under the name of his company, the Private Social Mission.  In 1959, he was charged with molesting children in his care and he fled the country, apparently with over 70 loyal followers.

At this precise point, things get rather curious.  Shafer not only fled the country, he left the continent and wound up in Chile with 70 square acres of land. How this happened is a matter of some dispute, but it’s clear that the ODESSA “rat lines” were involved, at least to some extent, in getting him out of the country and set up in Chile.  (If you’re unfamiliar with ODESSA or Operation Paperclip, we will be addressing them shortly here on Brainsturbator.)

In the first of many soul-crushingly ugly twists, Shafer left Germany with dozens of the same german children he’d been charged with molesting—their parents were told the kids were going on a “mission” and would be only be gone a short while.  Needless to say, those kids never saw Europe again.

Colonia Dignidad was formally founded in 1961, and by 2003 it was one of the world’s richest communes, at least according to an AP wire article published that year:

“Its timber products, baked goods and sausage, renowned for their quality, are sold nationwide. Its 65-bed hospital provides the region’s best health care. One of the commune’s elderly German hausfraus seems friendly enough, offering a traveler some apple juice for the road.”

Like a Neverending Vacation

Colonia Dignidad has to be the most ironic name since “The War on Drugs.” Shafer laid down some unthinkably weird and repressive rules, starting with a ban on sex.  To enforce this, he kept the residents segregated by gender.  Everyone had to work for food each day—generally for 12 to 14 hours, during which time nobody could speak.

Shafer titled himself ”Permanent Uncle,” and the members of his commune were in no position to argue.  Most of them spoke only German and had nowhere to turn for thousands of miles.

In a relatively short time, Colonia Dignidad became a powerful state inside the state. Surrounded by the high-voltage barbed wire and “protected” by the latest surveillance technology and specially trained German Shepard dogs, it became almost entirely self-sufficient. It managed to produce enough food to feed its members and to sell its excess production in the stores of Santiago and elsewhere. It had its own power-plant, airport (big enough to accommodate Hercules transport planes), fleet of cars, busses, trucks and agricultural vehicles; a school, hospital and recording/broadcasting studio.

--from this informative Znet article.

Shafer exhaulted discipline above all things, proclaiming it the purest form of spirituality.  Consequently, anyone who couldn’t measure up to his standards of discipline was beaten, tortured and drugged into submission. 

...About that “Ban on Sex”

It will come as no surprise to learn that Paul Shafer himself didn’t abide by his own rules—unfortunately, Shafer’s concept of sex was “raping and torturing young boys.” Decades later, Shafer would be sued by the families of 11 children for brutal sexual abuse, and would be formally charged with molesting 26 boys.  However, two Chilean journalists, Claudio Salinas and Hans Stange, have done a detailed study and concluded “the young victims could number in the thousands, including not only the sons and daughters of the German immigrants living in the commune, but also the children of local Chilean farming families who attended the Colonia Dignidad agricultural school.” Remember, this was ongoing for decades.

Stange was perfectly clear: “ was known since 1964 that the members of the commune were being subjected to torture; it was known since 1977 that political prisoners were tortured there; and the child abuse was known about since the 1970s. The state has always known about the human rights violations occurring there.”

A Very Useful Monster

Paul Shafer nazi pedophile monsterThe reader could certainly be forgiven for asking why a psychotic pedophile Nazi was allowed to run a militarized compound in the middle of Chile.  The answer is depressingly simple: he wasn’t a problem like David Koresh, he was a valuable asset like Oliver North.  Having a camp full of brainwashed and terrified followers surrounded by gun turrets and electrified razor wire made Colonia Dignidad one of the primary torture camps for Chile’s US-supported dictator, Augusto Pinochet. 

I would be very curious to know about the backgrounds of Shafer’s associates.  When he was finally tried for human rights abuses and sex crimes, he was charged along with over 20 accomplices.  There were an awful lot of employess at Dachau, Auchwitz, and Buchenwald.  Also consider the following quote from Chile activist Adriana Borquez:

Right after the coup, the Chilean military didn’t know how to torture. Prisoners would die very quickly. Germans in the colony knew how to keep a person alive for several days or weeks while putting him or her through the most terrible agony and humiliation.

The Bigger Picture

Of course, the entire nation of Chile, and indeed the entire continent of South America, was basically one big, live-action Heironymous Bosch painting during the 60s and 70s.  This was almost entirely financed by United States taxpayers who had no idea it was happening. Of course, US taxpayers usually have no idea what’s happening anyway, so I suppose there’s nothing new there. 

The problem, of course, was Communism.  Henry Kissinger, surely the least deserving living human on Earth today, was hard at work engineering the overthrow of democratically elected leaders all over South America—so that the US could install dictators who would keep the people in line.  When asked about human rights abuses in Chile, he had this to say:

“I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.”

This kind of unthinkably callous thinking is common to the monsters who inhabit Washington DC—his quote brings to mind the sick whore Madeline Albright, who was asked, on the TV show 60 Minutes, about the human cost of US sanctions against Iraq:

Lesley Stahl: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it.

There were other torture camps in Chile, such as Villa Grimaldi, and I could quote endless and soul-crushingly horrific testimonies from survivors.  For the sake of brevity—and your conscience—I’ll just quote the Amnesty International’s report summarizing what went on:

They tell how the Chilean military trained and financed by the United States tortured people with electric shock, particularly on the genitals; forced victims to witness the torture of friends and relatives (including children); raped women in the presence of other family members; burned sex organs with acid or scalding water; placed rats in women’s vaginas and into the mouths of other prisoners; mutilated, punctured, and cut off various parts of the body, including genitalia, eyes, and tongue; injected air into women’s breasts and into veins (causing slow, painful death); shoved bayonets and clubs into the vagina or anus, causing rupture and death.”

Today, this is entertainment for millions of white kids.  I hear they’re making Saw 4, since the first three did so well.

Things Fall Apart

In 1990, the Pinochet dictatorship came to an end.  Shafer must have known that his reign was drawing to a close, because a year later, the Colonia Dignidad was renamed Villa Baveria.  His followers also began insisting he’d been dead for nearly a decade.  The commune came under investigation for tax evasion, and in 1994 they lost their status as a tax-exempt charity.  (That’s not a typo—from 1961 to 1994, they were a tax-exempt charity.) With 220 member still living on the Colonia grounds, Shafer at some point slipped out of the country.  He was caught on March 10, 2005 (thanks Joe) in a sururb of Buenos Aires, Argentina.  After years of detainment and awaiting trial, he was finally sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined 770 million pesos in May of 2006.  He is still alive today.


Paul Shafer Colonia Dignidad torture bunkerThe picture to the left is the gateway to a network of underground bunkers used for decades of nightmares. Obviously, most of the history behind Colonia Dignidad is lost today.  Frankly, that’s a good thing, because what’s there was more than enough to cost me several weeks worth of sleep. 

In 2005, another former German national from Colonia Dignidad was charged with torture and sexual abuse—her name was Gisela Seewald, and she defended herself by claiming she merely followed Shafer’s orders.  (Given the track record of Germans invoking that defense, you’d think....well, nevermind.) She said that Shafer told her the children were “possessed by demons.” What’s most disturbing is the nature of her crimes: she administered electroshock therapy and a battery of sedatives and various psychoactive drugs to the children.  To anyone famliar with MKULTRA and the Bluebird program, this is probably the most ominous combination you could hear.  It also invokes Ewen Cameron’s horrific “sleep rooms” up at McGill during the 1950s and 60s.

The children were also kept in total isolation and darkness for long periods of time (a euphemism for “months") which invokes the ongoing abuses of the United States in gulags all across the world today.  This is the same treatment being used in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghirab to destroy the minds of prisoners like Jose Padila, who is now a walking vegetable.

In the aftermath of Shafer’s arrest and imprisonment, the Chilean government investigated the former Colonia compound and made a rather surprising find: literally tons of weapons and ammunition.

“Believe me, what’s been discovered so far is of a dimension that can only be explained in a military context,” Interior Minister Jorge Correa said on Wednesday.

“We’re talking about a large arsenal and I must stress that it’s going to end up being the largest ever found in private hands in the life and history of Chile,” he said.

Of course, given all the facts presented here, the reader will be reassured to know that journalists are all over this story.  For instance, here’s a BBC peice from 2005:

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.”

They also describe him as an “alleged cult leader”—gotta be objective, right?

More horror to come, stay tuned.

21 responses to "Colonia Dignidad: Welcome To Hell"

  • avatar

    Feb 16, 2007 at 11:52 PM
    Dick Hefacheese

    Slight error:

    “He was caught on March 10, 1997 in a sururb of Buenos Aires, Argentina. “

    According to Wikipedia:

    “Schäfer disappeared on May 20, 1997, “..... “Schäfer was found on March 10, 2005, nearly eight years after his disappearance, hiding in a suburb known as Las Acacias,”

    Might want to look into that.

  • avatar

    Feb 17, 2007 at 1:55 AM

    What disturbs me is the way that “horror” films nowadays have rapidly evolved into, as you put it, “exploitative, snuff” films. I recognized this potently with the first Saw film. I’ve never watched a single Saw film and I refuse to, but by the trailer alone you can see what audiences are being thrilled by nowadays. Its funny because I’m only 2-4 years ahead of this new young audience of horror film enthusiats, but I feel so out of touch with this acceptence of what we see on screen. SO WHATS UP WITH THAT??!! Why are my young friends and family being herded into dark theatres to gaze at this new level of exploitative violence? What happened Here?! Do they enjoy it? I know I did, and still do (huge horror film fan here) but the culminating desensitization is.. ABHORENT!
    Yo, good article Brainsturbator. This coupled with the “Finders” promises to make my weekend interesting.

  • avatar

    Feb 17, 2007 at 4:00 AM

    man… how DO you go about your business after reading that..
    Does there come a point where these investigations of yours become self abuse, what with these things you’re finding? Is it dangerous to pummel the mind with these facts for extended periods of time?

  • avatar

    Feb 17, 2007 at 4:25 AM
    el maricon grande

    saw really isn’t that gorey....... but films like Hostel really do walk the line of snuff.

  • avatar

    Feb 17, 2007 at 4:51 AM

    Fuck Wikipedia, I got the real dope.  I correct wiki, wiki does not correct me.

  • avatar

    Feb 17, 2007 at 4:52 AM

    Just the same, you’re probably right.

  • avatar

    Feb 17, 2007 at 5:27 AM
    Dick Hefacheese

    Ya Hostel is much more violent than Saw.
    Saw was all around a shitty movie.

    “I correct wiki, wiki does not correct me.”

    ^^^^haha good quote

  • avatar

    Feb 17, 2007 at 8:13 AM

    What’s really fucked up...scratch that, this whole thing’s fucked up, but anyway, that the U.S. always seems to be involved when it comes to places like this, is just disgraceful. It’s really no wonder the rest of the world hates us, and I don’t blame them one bit. I’m surprised we’ve made it this long without a full on attack against us, then again, as a wise Yogi once said, “It ain’t over til it’s over.”
    As for desensitizing us to violence and gore, this isn’t anything new, you’re just now noticing it more. Remember the Faces of Death movies? That was what, over 20 years ago now? And that’s just 1 example. Yo, let’s make a real horror movie, and we’ll call it, USA.

  • avatar

    Feb 17, 2007 at 6:53 PM

    a lot of informed individuals make the concious decision not to smoke ciggarettes or consume large amounts of trans fats because they’re dangerous for one’s health and well-being.  a rational argument is not required--it takes repeated exposure with basic facts.  yet no one applies these simple measures to illustrate the grand scale of exploitation and corruption committed by our government for its own imperialistic, materialistic and capitalistic endeavors.  we just need to examine how to delicately broadcast this message, jamming the currently rigged media outlets with more brainsturbator enlightening material such as this.  it IS possible, and the only way it will change is with this positive mentality.  are a lot of people completely ignorant assholes, or are they loveable-innocently-brainwashed-naive-self-absorbed kittens?  if you hate people and their favorite pastimes and the USA, then the same people you’re trying to help will immediately regard YOU as an asshole for trampling all over their belief system.  we’ve gotta come across as loveable to be loved and snap them out of the funk.  this is why brainsturbator loves you.

  • avatar

    Feb 17, 2007 at 10:30 PM

    I’m going to find a copy Passolini’s Salo.  It’s not so much that I want to watch it as much as I want to see how well I can handle it.  On second thought, I don’t think I want to watch it.  I’m curious though.

  • avatar

    Feb 18, 2007 at 2:48 AM

    There are some inexplicably evil and disturbing things going on in the world right this second, stuff that is so exorbitantly warped it is beyond the average persons comprehension.

    Fortunately, the opposite is true as well.

  • avatar

    Feb 18, 2007 at 4:08 PM

    ^^^ I agree..  one of the only things that helps me keep a positive outlook is remembering that decay always proceeds growth.  From the rotting fruit comes forth the mighty tree.  We have to hang in there and strengthen the community of good, loving, compassionate people who are together for their love of sharing love and life with others, and not just hanging around to share some belief system (B.S.) through which they will inevitably end up being controlled by.

  • avatar

    Feb 19, 2007 at 12:44 PM

    Wow, this blog (can i call it a blog?) is probably going to be one of my favorites along with Rigorous Intuition (another great blog).

  • avatar

    Feb 20, 2007 at 2:51 PM

    i dare say this is beyond words i can type..
    i am sickened..  really sickened..  that darkness so preeminent..  i forget to breathe..  do i or can i even..  i am sure that a great wailing must occur in unison with all of us beating our fists into the ground..  redeeming all footsteps and stabs into that darkness..  forgiveness unfathomable..  i remember so long ago, my father who served in the army, recoiling at the sight of his very young looking at pirates fighting on the TV with blood..  how can you watch this, he asked and i never forgot..  and now so many years later i cannot will not watch these sick torture movies for the sake of blood and possible shock..  WHAT TH.....................!  WHAT THE FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF????????????!!!!!!!!  who are we if we can munch popcorn and snicker at the sight?????????????????????????? 

    innocence stripped
    laid bare
    in darkness



    i beg i beg

    soulz i wish to comfort

    i will never chomp shit with delight

  • avatar

    Feb 20, 2007 at 9:00 PM
    mistah dubs

    brah, isn’t rob Zombie coming out with another flick?  thtas what I’m talking bout!

  • avatar

    Feb 25, 2007 at 3:28 PM

    Man i dont understand that dRenee guy recation… Was he living in carantine all his life? Just take a look out of the window, pffff…
    I meen why would i be so terified by some “colonia dignidad” when stuff much worse than this hapends regulary in every war or conflict and has been hapening for thousands of years now?
    Like you said im your other post (the one about fear) we all have that monser inside of us, and we are all capable of doing stuff like this. My point is, the battle for a better world should start within the souls and hearts of every single one of us, like Ghandy said “Be the change you want to see in the world"…

  • avatar

    Mar 12, 2007 at 7:05 PM

    Just wanted to add that Salo is one of the most disgusting films one could ever see and after seeing it you will never be the same. I would not recommend anyone watching it. I am truly surprised you did. It verges on the fringe of child porn and seems to only have been made to promote a kind of Nazism and anal sex. I mean how much shit eating can one film have? Apparently about 30 minutes worth. I still gag when I think of it. I am also embarrassed to have ever bought the film. It is not horror, it is snuff.

  • avatar

    Mar 12, 2007 at 9:01 PM

    No, snuff is where you kill people onscreen.

    But I’d agree it’s not a horror film—either that, or I’d say nothing else is a horror film except Salo.

    If you think it was made to promote Nazism, I think we might have seen different films.  But I’m not watching it again to check, so maybe not.

  • avatar

    Mar 15, 2007 at 6:06 AM

    my reply to gnostic… ((and i am a girl)) be the change i want to see then i have made a certain change by not running after all the “scary” flickz. 

    and knowing that so many are mistreated is part of the reason i do not watch or like to watch torture flickz.  there is no denying that many are F’d enough to do what i dare not even think about now. 

    being a womb’n in this world and with children, i have been that much more aware of my human~ness and that meanz both the light & the dark…

    the topic of what we see and how we feel during or after is both deep and unconscious… there is much brain research done to show how images or thoughts of love versus fear/pain has an immediate & lasting effect on our body/mind…

    i explore my innerscape indepth and must not ignore my own feeling… that is all.

  • avatar

    Mar 15, 2007 at 6:16 AM

    what i wrote on 2/20 was speaking solely out of my repulsion & unspeakable sadness once i read of how f’d up that place was with the facade doing good & promoting spirituality !  ((just thinking of the soulz that were driven mad in the underground darkness !!!  i cannot let my mind remain here !!!  nor do i want a film to ever remind me that this is what we are capable of and then for people to get some cheap thrill or laugh… i mean i remember in the 90’s, me in my 20’s shaking my head even at how HIP a crosscountry root’n/toot’n killing spree could be portray’d with the music just so… ect ect…

    but....  i will stop here.

  • avatar

    Aug 04, 2007 at 9:15 AM

    “ she administered electroshock therapy and a battery of sedatives and various psychoactive drugs to the children.  To anyone famliar with MKULTRA and the Bluebird program, this is probably the most ominous combination you could hear.  It also invokes Ewen Cameron’s horrific “sleep rooms” up at McGill during the 1950s and 60s.

    The children were also kept in total isolation and darkness for long periods of time (a euphemism for “months") which invokes the ongoing abuses of the United States in gulags all across the world today.  This is the same treatment being used in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghirab to destroy the minds of prisoners like Jose Padila, who is now a walking vegetable.”

    ^^sounds like what I do for fun

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