Colonia Dignidad

Villa Baviera (English: Bavaria Village), formerly known as Colonia Dignidad (English: Dignity Colony) is a hamlet in Parral Commune, Linares Province, Maule Region, Chile. Located in an isolated area of central Chile, it lies 35 km southeast of the city of Parral, on the north bank of the Perquilauquén River. It was founded in 1961 by a group led by Paul Schäfer, a fugitive of child molestation charges in West Germany. The full name of the colony was Sociedad Benefactora y Educacional Dignidad (English: Dignity Charitable and Educational Society), like its precursor, which the emigrants started in the mid-1950s. The population of the place was 198 in the census of 2002.

At its greatest extent, Villa Baviera was home to some three hundred German and Chilean residents and covered 137 square kilometers (53 sq mi). The main economic activity of the colony was agriculture, but it also contained a school, a free hospital, two airstrips, a restaurant, and even a power station. The colony was secretive, surrounded by barbed wire fences, searchlights, and a watchtower, and contained secret weapon caches (including a tank). It was described alternately as a cult, or as a group of "harmless eccentrics". In recent decades, however, external investigations, including efforts by the Chilean government, uncovered a history of criminal activity in the enclave, include child sexual abuse.
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