A notorious cult – The fight for justice against Colonia Dignidad | DW Documentary

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At the Colonia Dignidad compound in Chile, Paul Schäfer ruled over his followers with an iron fist. Exhausting work, violence, and abuse dominated daily life. During the Pinochet dictatorship, political prisoners were tortured and murdered there. Decades of human rights abuses at Colonia Dignidad made the settlement notorious around the world. Horst Schaffrik still lives at the compound, and says: "The sect's structures are in place." In 1961, the settlement's founder, Paul Schäfer, started building a totalitarian religious community that was completely cut off from the outside world. This documentary investigates the influence of Schäfer's reign of terror, which is still felt even today. Filmmaker Matthias Ebert interviews Willi Malessa, who was forced to dig up skeletons in the 1970s, and then watched as the bones were burned to hide evidence of the atrocities. But the remains of political prisoners are still said to be buried there -- and Malessa wants to help find them. Many former leaders of Colonia Dignidad refuse to take part in any investigations -- and they've stayed silent about the alleged mass graves. Meanwhile, the sect's financial structures are still in place: agricultural businesses, a hotel, and real-estate companies are combined in a corporation that has publicly-traded stock. Schaffrik calls this a "diabolical structure." He says that former cult members like him worked with Schäfer to build up the huge company -- but only few benefit from it today. This documentary investigates the long shadow cast by Colonia Dignidad. #documentary #dwdocumentary #ColoniaDignidad #Chile ______