A Sinister Sect: Colonia Dignidad

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History, Sociopolitical Documentary hosted by Salo Luna Garrido, published by Netflix in 2021 - Spanish narration

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Image: A-Sinister-Sect-Colonia-Dignidad-Cover.jpg

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This 6-part Netflix documentary series tells the rise of Paul Schaefer; from a poor German lay preacher to one of the most powerful men in Latin America. After 40 brutal years as leader of the sect Colonia Dignidad, he was finally taken down by a group of Chilean boys, who were members of his sect. It is the story of the German sect, Colonia Dignidad; told through the eyes of those who lived in it, who endured it, who fought it. The series is based on exclusive archive material shown here for the first time. This unique documentary project started in 2016, when a truck full of photos, film reels, video, and audiotapes arrived at the house of Chilean film producer, Cristian Leighton. The secret, cinematic legacy of Colonia Dignidad had been buried for years on the orders of cult leader Paul Schaefer. Now the colony's cameramen entrusted it to the film producers so that it would not be lost. From 1958 onwards, Paul Schaefer has had the development of his sect documented on film: The beginnings, after World War II in Germany, and the exodus to Chile, where Paul Schaefer pretended to found a true Christian community without money, envy, and private property; a paradise on earth, which became hell. In an elaborate process lasting several years, the footage was restored and digitized in Germany and Chile. People and places were identified, dialogues were transcribed and translated. In parallel, over 150 settlers, victims of torture, police officers, relatives of the disappeared, lawyers, and intelligence officers were interviewed to understand what had really happened on the colony's grounds, which was secured by barbed wire and mines. Interviews with more than 30 German and Chilean protagonists form the backbone of the series. Many contemporary witnesses tell their stories for the first time in front of the camera, including people from the inner circle around Paul Schaefer. In the colonists' shocking life stories, a comprehensive picture unfolds of everyday life in the colony, of Schaefer's sophisticated system of power and the political entanglements of Colonia Dignidad with the Chilean military dictatorship. General Pinochet and Paul Schaefer made a pact after the military coup in 1973. The shielded colony became a laboratory for human experiments, torture, and murder. For the first time, the series uses never-before-seen footage to also tell the story of Chilean boys who were held captive by Schaefer and who succeeded in doing what neither the German nor the Chilean justice systems could do: they forced Paul Schaefer to flee in 1997 and freed the colonists from 40 years of slavery. Written & Directed by Wilfried Huismann, Annette Baumeister ; A Co-Production by LOOKSfilm, Netflix, WDR, SWR, ARTE, Canal 13 and Surreal Films

[edit] The Mission

In the aftermath of the Second World War, German preacher Paul Schaefer, a former SS corporal, establishes a youth home bringing together people in search of peace, hope and fraternity . First in Gartow, then in Heide, he founded a house for young people in Germany, but is soon accused of abuse. In 1961, in the midst of the Cold War, he flees to Chile, where he starts a new colony 350 kilometers from Santiago. Far from any civilization, the Colonia Dignidad - "Colony of Dignity" -, with the air of a model German village, is made up of workshops, agriculture, and even a hospital where destitute Chileans are welcomed. If the project may seem exemplary, Paul Schaefer's intentions are less so: the man is wanted in Germany for raping minors.

[edit] The Promised Land

In Chile, at the end of the world, 300 German members of Colonia Dignidad had decided to dedicate their lives to serving God and helping the poor. In reality, the daily life of these three hundred Germans is synonymous with forced labor and violence. Self-proclaimed spiritual guide, Paul Schaefer reigns terror, and uses his power to sexually assault young boys. He has what he always dreamed of: his own kingdom, isolated from the outside world, in which he can rule at will and pursue his perverse inclinations. Then the word gets out about Schaefer, so he establishes a free hospital to win favor with the locals. But then Wolfgang Kneese runs away, telling all. In 1970, as defections multiply, the election of Salvador Allende threatens the existence of the sect and his self-proclaimed "paradise".

[edit] The Specter of Communism

When socialist Allende comes to power in Chile and threatens to expropriate large estates, a scared Schaefer smuggles and manufactures arms. Allying himself with the enemies of the president Allende, Schaefer agitates the fear of communism among his followers and Allende's opponents from the right-wing camp. He arms the community for war and brutally intervenes in Chilean politics. Meanwhile, he grows more cruel in how he treats the colony's young people. In September 1973 the relief among German sect members about the military coup against Allende was initially great. Paul Schaefer decides to collaborate and serve the new rulers.

[edit] A Pact with the Devil

Schaefer provides torture chambers for Pinochet's use in exchange for mining licenses and other perks. Manuel Contreras, the head of the secret police, as well as Augusto Pinochet himself go in and out and become regulars at Colonia Dignidad. Opponents of the regime are tortured and executed there out of sight. Members of the cult close their eyes, they are too busy with their own survival while Schaefer struggles to keep the youth "pure." When the USA imposed an arms embargo on Chile in 1976, Schaefer, with the help of the German arms dealer Gerhard Mertins had war equipment smuggled into the colony - and passed it on to Pinochet. From now on he is in debt.

[edit] The Untouchable

Schaefer enlists the colonists to support Pinochet's activities. And even after Pinochet loses the presidency, Schaefer manages to keep going. He expands his empire and creates a human shield that defends the colony against hostilities. Schaefer now opens the otherwise isolated Colonia Dignidad to the Chilean population: food, leisure activities and medical care are free. But the colony is threatened from another side. Amnesty International and the UN succeed in exposing the torture of Chileans by Germans. In Germany, a subcommittee on human rights and humanitarian aid at the Foreign Office puts Colonia Dignidad on the agenda and listens to opponents and supporters of the colony.

[edit] The Fall

Cult leader Paul Schaefer is now molesting Chilean boys too. Unlike the German victims, the Chilean boys flee and confide to their parents. They are shocked and act. More than 30 years after Schaefer entered Chile, the Chilean police started investigations - Schaefer's abuse came to light. He manages to evade the investigation: he hides on the extensive grounds of the colony and flees to Argentina in 1997. His followers are left to their own devices. A few are sentenced as accomplices, all the others are still struggling to live their lives. Who is the victim and who is the perpetrator? What is fair in the face of horror and lives shattered? Where does guilt begin and where does it end? What does the future of the colony that is now called Villa Baviera look like? In view of decades of political and moral failure, these are questions to which there are still no clear answers.

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[edit] Technical Specs

Video Codec: x264 CABAC High@L4
Video Bitrate: 3 677 Kbps
Video Resolution: 1920x1080
Display Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frames Per Second: 25.000 fps
Audio Codec: E-AC3
Audio Bitrate: 128 kb/s CBR 48000 Hz
Audio Streams: 2
Audio Languages: spanish / german
RunTime Per Part: 41 min 56 s - 1 h 5 min
Number Of Parts: 6
Part Size: 1.13 GB - 1.63 GB
Source: WEB DL (Thanks to playWEB)
Encoded by: DocFreak08

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