Colonia Dignidad: Behind the Gates 
In the search for her brother, Boris Weisfeiler, Olga Weisfeiler traveled to Colonia Dignidad twice: in 2004 and 2007.
“The boundaries of Colonia Dignidad are more extensive than had been previously thought… Thus, at the time of his disappearance Weisfeiler was either on or very near to the Colonia property.”
- U.S. declassified document, (Eyes only) - April 10 1985.

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"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."
-Larry Rohter, The New York Times, 2005.

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John Dinges described Colonia Dignidad as follows: "This 10,000-acre German farm at the foot of the Andes is a gateway to hell for the victims of Chile's secret police."

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"Casa de recepción"
Olga Weisfeiler seemed to be “welcome guest” at Colonia Dignidad. The woman at the gates, however, was shocked hearing “Weisfeiler” as the last name. Her facial expression while looking at Olga was as if she saw a living ghost.

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A picturesque lake...

"The paramilitary religious sect known as Colonia Dignidad continues to flourish in a 70-square-mile enclave in the Andean foothils that remains ... a heavily armed "state within a state"." -Larry Rohter, The New York Times, 2002.

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Olga's tete-à-tete talk with Michael Muller: speaking to Muller Olga wanted to find the truth about Boris' fate. (Photo by Pascale Bonnefoy)

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While speaking to Muller, Olga and Adriana were trying to find the truth about Boris' fate and Captain Heyder murder.

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Our group picture...


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It was a very depressing and sad "tour" around Colonia's property. I finally insisted on speaking to the residents and so we were driving in direction to the housing area.

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Residential area. After a relatively long and fruitless conversation with Hernan Escobar, one of Colonia's leading spokesmen, the group was allowed to enter Colonia's grounds.

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... residential area.

"A seemingly peaceful farming community that owns the most modern hospital facilities in the region, it has been accused by Chilean authorities of child abuse, retaining residents against their will, segregating families and inflicting harsh punishments—including electric shocks—on its members."
-Pascale Bonnefoy, The Washington Post, 2003

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Esther Laube, Michael Muller's wife and assistant to the dentist at the Villa Baviera hospital, with their son Matías "greeted" us near the hospital.

"... a hospital where, according to former cult members, those who drew Mr. Schäfer's ire were drugged and tortured." -Larry Rohter, The New York Times, 2005.

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At the entrance to the hospital hang the pictures of children born at the hospital in 1960s and 1970s.

"Schaefer's prohibitions on contact between men and women worked so well that almost no babies were born there for 25 years." - Fiona Ortiz, Reuters/November 8, 2004

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Second half of the pictures of children born at the hospital in 1960s and 1970s.

"Mr. Shaefer controls every detail of his follower's lives, including who can mary and when couples are allowed to have children. As a result, birth rates within the sect are very low and the average age of believers has risen." -Larry Rohter, The New York Times, 2002

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Michael Muller, 47, now (as on November 2004) is the provisional president of Colonia.

Muller and Escobar didn't deny that Boris was there. But they were claiming that they personally do not know what really happened to Boris or when it happened.

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The family picture: Michael Muller, the provisional president of Colonia; his wife, Esther Laube, assistant to the dentist at the Villa Baviera hospital, and their son Matías. The couple married in 2000 after Schaefer's restrictions on relationships broke down.

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There is something decidedly eerie about an empty hospital. I felt scared and almost frozen inside while looking inside of the empty hospital's rooms, "hearing" the screams of tortured prisoners behind every closed door.

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We were allowed to walk only around the hospital's first floor where there was an empty "laboratory," "pharmacy," "the surgery room" and other hospital facilities, now not functional.

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The infamous surgery room; its picture was published in 1984 by John Dinges in The Rebel magazine.

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Other than Michael Muller's wife, we saw only one more person who "was working" at the hospital.

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The "guest's house."

Paul Schaefer apparently lived there. Still, we saw no one around; there were only voices behind closed doors. We were told that "today is Saturday and nobody is working and everyone left to other towns..."

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The official emblem of Colonia Dignidad - a nurse holding the hands of two children - previously from sign posted at its gate; now it placed on the wall of the Guest's house.

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A group picture from the 1960's of the founding residents of Colonia Dignidad.

"Protected by barbed wire, roadblocks, searchlights and hidden cameras and microphones, Colonia Dignidad has been the fortress home of about 300 people, most of them German citizens."
-Larry Rohter, The New York Times, 2002

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Gerd Seewald and Ricardo Alvear.

Gerd Seewald, former Colonia’s official, was responsible for creating in the late 1970th of 43,000 secret files on “enemies” of Pinochet's regime, as well as was writing transcripts of interrogations of political prisoners; most of Colonia Dignidad's prisoners were never seen again.

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Gerd Seewald said he "was aware that people were brought here against their will but only recently learned that they died here." He said he does not know how many prisoners died there but his guess is 40-50 people. He said he learned about Boris' disappearance in 1985 only from local and international press. (That is very questionable statement.)

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Gerd Seewald is seen on this group picture of the founding residents of Colonia Dignidad (1964) wearing the same type of glasses. Gerd Seewald said that a Russian “Jew would have welcomed by Colonia” as Colonia Dignidad [a Nazi related torture camp where from about hundred of prisoners disappeared] "are in very good, friendly relations with Jews." (!)

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Ricardo Alvear, as part of the new leadership, also vehemently denied that Colonia Dignidad was ever involved in Boris' disappearance or murder and said he wants "to clean up Colonia's name in this issue once and for all."

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Ricardo Alvear was insisting that Colonia is about 150 km away from the place of Boris' disappearance and so it was "impossible" for Boris' to be brought here.

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A conversation with Ricardo Alvear and Gerd Seewald was very tense and fruitless.

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In a letter addressed to President Michelle Bachelet “former members of a German cult acknowledged human rights crimes that occurred in the Colony before, during, and after the Pinochet era. The former colonists said they are ready to collaborate with the judicial system...”
(- The Santiago Times, April 20, 2006)

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Inside of the guest's house everything looked "perfect" and "happy" with fake flowers and lace napkins everywhere, even in the bathroom. There is also a TV set, with three or four chairs around it.

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San Carlos. The perfectly neat Schaefer's “guest's house” reminded me a small San Carlos' bakery that belongs to Villa Baviera. There were the same red and white colors, lace napkins, and fake flowers. (Picture was taken in March 2004.)

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...a bakery window

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...outside bakery

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...a nurse in an empty hospital.

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...inside of a new store (lots of drinks...)

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...salesperson inside of a new store.

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...inside of the Paul Schaefer's former room (as we were told).

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...resident of Colonia at the Guest house.

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... a woman with a baby and a carriage. Very few children were seen outside.

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We were waiting almost an hour "to talk to the residents." Only one old woman passed by and Muller's wife on the bicycle drove away in a hurry.

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While we were waiting near the guest house, two young women agreed to pose for a picture (in the middle). They all were telling not very happy stories of years of a harsh labor, physical and emotional abuse, and life in complete isolation from the outside world. (Photo by Nina Küster)

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According to the U.S. declassified documents, General Augusto Pinochet used to come to Colonia as “it was nice place to relax.”

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On March 10, 2005 ex-leader of German enclave, Paul Schäfer, was arrested. On May 25, 2005 director of the Villa Baviera' hospital, Doctor Hartmut Hopp, was arrested due to his refusal to cooperate with investigation. On May 27, two other Colonia's officials were arrested: a Dutch citizen Karl van Den Berg and a German citizen Gerhard Mücke.

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Arbatec's truck. Abratec S.A. appears in financial transactions represented by two members of Colonia Dignidad: Gerd Seewald Lefreve and Hans Jürgen Blanck Ehnert. Seewald, one of the nearest collaborators of Paul Schaefer, indicted in the case of Colonia Dignidad as a criminal illegal organization; in 2007 he was free on bail.

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Newspapers and TV's reporters were waiting at the entrance to the Guest House.

“I was received well, but I didn’t see much of a difference. The residents of the colony keep telling me the same lies” - Olga Weisfeiler

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The Chilean government's "Colonia Dignidad" file may be available to the judge upon request, however never requested.

“A Chilean congressional report has said that Colonia Dignidad operated as a "state within a state" during General Pinochet's regime, thanks to Mr Schaefer's close ties to the country's ruling elite.”
(- BBC, April 11, 2006)

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Colonia Dignidad, VIIth region, Chile (IKONOS satellite image)

"There were no trials, they were tortured without pity and then killed without any witnesses. Their bodies were thrown into a common grave. And there was a deliberate and planned effort to hide all traces of the crime, to cover the tracks." (translation)
(- Alberto Luengo, Diario Siete, May 2006)

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Colonia Dignidad, VIIth region, Chile (IKONOS satellite image)

On April 10 2006 "a Chilean judge has indicted 18 people linked to a former German colony in southern Chile over human rights abuses committed during military rule. Among them are two former commanders of the Chilean secret police, as well as Paul Schaefer, the colony's founder.”
(- BBC, April 11, 2006)

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Map: South America.
Red arrow is pointed to the area of Colonia Dignidad approximate location in Chile, VIIth Region.

Paul Schaefer died in hospital in April 2010 while serving 20 years sentence for children sexual abuse.

Gerd Seewald died in July 2014 while being indicted for number of offences including hr violations.

Dr. Hermutt Hopp escaped to Germany while on bail awaiting trail.

Founded in 2006 in Colonia Dignidad 36000 files were kept by Judge Zepeda in judge's own "secret file" for the next 9 years and were released to the Human Rights organizations and to the public only in 2014.

Subsequently, Judge Jorge Zepeda was removed from Colonia investigation. New judge, Mario Carroza, was appointed to investigate human rights crimes committed inside of Colonia Dignidad.

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