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Paul Schaefer-Demon of Two Nations
Paul Schaefer-Demon of Two Nations
The Demon Evolves
On December 4th, 1921 Paul Schaefer was born in Troisdorf, Germany. Before the age of eleven he joined and served in the Hitler Youth Movement. At about this same time, an accident caused Schaefer to lose his right eye. When he came of age he attempted to enlist in the Nazi SS, but due to his boyhood accident leaving him without sight in his right eye, the SS refused him admittance. This infirmity however, did not prevent Schaefer from being assigned as a nurse to a hospital located on the western front during World War II. As a nurse he became proficient at administering drugs and tranquilizers.
After the war, Schaefer returned to Germany where he was employed by an evangelical group which cared for orphaned children. In 1952 he was fired after being accused of sexual abuse by several children.
It was then that he struck out on his own, under the guise of being a traveling evangelical preacher. His eloquence and strong charismatic personality allowed him to develop a good following. Once again though, Schaefer was accused by two mothers of sexually abusing their sons. This time the authorities took the accusations seriously and issued a warrant for his arrest.
A New Beginning
To avoid being arrested, Schaefer with a few trusted aides fled to the Mideast. Soon after this he met the Chilean ambassador to Germany. The ambassador like many of Schaefer's followers fell prey to the charismatic charm of this manipulative pedophile. Ignorant of Schaefer's legal turmoils, the ambassador offered an invitation to Schaefer to visit Chile. This invitation was immediately accepted.
In January of 1961, Schaefer along with 10-12 of his loyal followers arrived in Santiago, Chile. It only took him a year to amass enough money (through tithes and offerings from his congregation in Germany) to buy a nearly 5000 acre, abandoned farm a few hundred miles south of Santiago.
Schaefer and his initial contingent of followers worked building a commune which came to be known as, "Colonia Dignidad" (Dignity Colony). 1963 saw the first influx of nearly 250 German immigrants from Europe. Among those following him now were former members of the German Gestapo, the SS, and various other Nazi organizations. Chief among his elders were Albert Schreiber, appointed Head of Security; Gerhard Mucke, Head of Schaefer's bodyguards; and Winfried Schmidtke, Head of Electronic Surveillance. The colony was protected by barbed wire fencing, armed guards equipped with walkie-talkies, and watchdogs.
Entrance to Colonia Dignidad
Building Colonia Dignidad
Under Paul Schaefer's rigid work regimen, his followers (forced laborers) worked from sunup until sundown with a brief lunch period at midday. The workers cultivated land, growing corn and soybeans. They had also developed a tree farm. The colony itself was modeled after a Bavarian village containing a restaurant, bakery, a chapel and a meeting house. The community had two schools, a hospital, two airstrips, its own power plant, and factories and mills. One highly profitable enterprise was the gravel mill, which provided materials for Chile's vast national road construction project.
Free hospital care and schooling for the local surrounding population helped to keep Schaefer and his followers in the good graces of the Chilean farmers and workers. This also permitted Schaefer access to vulnerable children.
Schaefer invited many influential Chileans to parties and extravagant dinners. They included powerful businessmen, high ranking politicians, police chiefs, judges,as well as authorities in the German embassy located in Santiago. Many of these officials were foolish enough to fall into the trap of taking part in illicit sexual activity and child molestation. Those so foolish, were secretly photographed and Schaefer created and kept secret files on them. This documentation of course, was used to blackmail and exert influence on the trapped parties.
By this time Schaefer had developed a strong friendship with Augusto Pinochet, who had overthrown the previous government. This friendship enabled him to develop an import-export business which he was able to operate without paying taxes, this being the case with all of Colonia Dignidad's enterprises.
Inside Colonia Dignidad
Under Schaefer's rules families were divided. Men, women, and girls all had separate living accommodations. The boys were housed on the opposite side of the compound in a structure next door to Schaefer's living quarters. It was his habit to have one or two of these boys sleep in his bed every night. Some had to be drugged or tranqulized in order for him to have his way.
By 1996, hints of the goings on inside of Colonia Dignidad began to slowly reach the outside world. Schaefer's influence was so powerful that it seemed all inquiries into the events at Colonia were ignored or swept under the rug.
Rumors and Accusations
In 1976 the United Nations human rights commission named Colonia Dignidad as one of Chile's detention centers.
The following year, the W. German arm of Amnesty International determined that Colonia Dignidad was a DINA (Chile's much feared secret police, renamed in 1977 as CNI) torture center.
In February of 1988, four former residents of Colonia testified before a German parliamentary subcommittee. They described their existence there as a horrific period of terror, where no one dared to think of escape.
In 1984 Franz Baar, once a member Schaefer's inner circle, escaped leaving behind nine children. His testimony described Schaefer as a paranoid dictator who roamed the premises in a bullet proof Mercedes carrying weapons and ammunition.
At this time the Pinochet government still gave Schaefer unwavering support, while the German officials were reluctant to criticize him because of his close ties to embassy officials.
In 1996 a 20 year old man by the name of Wolfgang Mueller escaped from Colonia for the third time. Previously, Chilean authorities had returned him back to Schaefer's care. This time he went to the German embassy in Santiago and pleaded with officials to return him to Germany. Mueller told of continuous beatings, electroshock treatment, and having drugs injected to himself and other residents. Mueller said this drug experiment was approved by Schaefer.
Former DINA agents told of a laboratory on Colonia Dignidad that worked on developing chemical weapons. This site was also used as a training ground for the would be torturers of the Pinochet regime. The expert instructor was reported as being Paul Schaefer. No one knows the exact number of tortures committed under contract for Pinochet's regime or how many murders were committed on behalf of this dictator. According to official reports, 3197 people were killed for political reasons and 1000 reported as missing under the Pinochet government. Pinochet left power in 1990, leaving Schaefer's controls to slowly dissipate. The new government was led by Patricio Aylwin, a longtime foe of Schaefer.
Is Justice Cheated?
Even amid the swirling controversy and rumors now being generated, life inside of Colonia Dignidad changed very little if at all. With all that was going on, Schaefer saw fit to initiate a new program called "Intensive Boarding School." This was a program where a select group of Chilean children were offered an invitation to live, work, and study on Colonia Dignidad. Locally, the people thought this was a good opportunity for their children.
In 1996, a student named Cristobal Parada was able to sneak a secret correspondence to his mother. He communicated to her, that Schaefer had raped him. He also told her to take him out of there. Cristobal's mother was able to sneak him out of the compound and immediately took him to a local doctor to be examined. The doctor verified that the young boy had been raped. Fearing that the local police were under Schaefer's considerable influenced, she fled to the capital and contacted Luis Henriquez, chief of Chile's national detective force. August of 1996 saw a Santiago judge issue an arrest warrant charging child molestation against, Paul Schaefer. The judge gave Henriquez the power to execute this warrant. He and a caravan of 30 armed police attempted to approach Colonia and catch everyone by surprise. The guards there were vigilant and sounded a warning to the village. Upon searching all they could of the grounds, Schaefer was nowhere to be found.
It is believed that Schaefer left the country in late 1997, never returning to Colonia. Eight years later on March 10th 2005, in Buenos Aires, Argentina a 24 member SWAT team entered a townhouse and arrested Paul Schaefer. By this time he gave the appearance of an enfeebled, wheelchair bound old man.
Schaefer was extradited to Chile and housed in a maximum security prison in Santiago. In May of 2006 he was convicted of child molestation and sentenced to 20 years in prison. A later trial on a weapons violation charge added another 7 years, and an additional 3 years were added for torture.
At the time additional charges were being sought for tax evasion, charges of forced labor, kidnapping, torture and possibly murder.
April 10th 2010, Schaefer died in Santiago's prison hospital of heart failure. Only 5 people attended the funeral service. His lawyer, his adopted daughter Rebecca, and 3 of the funeral parlor's staff members.