After forty years, the Chilean authorities have broken up the Colonia Dignidad commune, which was founded by escaped Nazis and Nazi sympathizers. It aided the cruel military dictatorship of that has been accused of aiding the former military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.
BBC News reports that former Nazi Paul Schaefer, aged 83, is being accused of aiding secret police under Chile's 1973-1990 military rule and also of sexually abusing 26 children. He was arrested in March after hiding out for eighteen years. Along with other Colonia Dignidad leaders, he was suspected of keeping the 300 remaining residents in the camp against their will. An American reporter who investigated the colony was never seen again.
One American who visited this evil encampment and DID make it out again is Peter Levenda, who has done a special report on the conditions he saw there for Dreamland radio. We asked Peter for his reaction to the closing of Colonia Dignidad.
Levenda says, "I applaud the Chilean government for its decision to close, once and for all, that obscenity known as Colonia Dignidad, although it seems to me that a state-appointed exorcist might do better for the place than a state-appointed lawyer at this point!
"The Colony has existed for more than 40 years, and during that time it has been home to so much horror, pain and bloodshed that the land itself must cry out. The people who have lived there all of their lives should be the first consideration for any government-sponsored mental health program. Few of the Colony's inhabitants when I was there spoke Spanish; German and English were the preferred tongues. They lived in total isolation from the rest of the world, and knew only Schaefer as their spiritual and political leader. We have an unprecedented opportunity to study people who have lived under this kind of brutal, totalitarian regime -- a Jonestown in the Andes -- and more importantly to help them rejoin the rest of society. It will not be easy, either for them or for the Chilean government or its people, but it must be done.
"For me, it is like the end of an era. Since I visited?gate-crashed?there in 1979 till the present day, I have been writing about it, speaking about it, and agitating for something to be done about the Colony. It is finally being put to rest, the doors opened, the people allowed?encouraged?to leave. I hope the Chilean government will be swift in opening its files on this case, revealing to everyone what really went on at the Colony, and equally swift in prosecuting Paul Schaefer, the founder and commandant of one of the most notorious interrogation and torture centers in the western hemisphere. I fear that such revelations might demonstrate a close working relationship between the Pinochet regime and our own government, however, and that therefore we may have to wait a long time before the whole story is known.
"I also pray that the continuing aggressive action of the Chilean government towards the Colony will reveal, once and for all, what really happened to Boris Weisfeiler, who has been missing at the Colony for more than 20 years. His family deserves to know what happened to him, and why, and where his body may be found." Subscribe now so you can listen to Levenda's incredible report.
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