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Paul Schafer

Paul Schafer Schneider is the founder and former leader of a sect and agricultural commune of German immigrants called Colonia Dignidad ("Dignity Colony")—later renamed Villa Baviera—located in the south of Chile, about 340 km south of Santiago. Investigations by Amnesty International and the Chilean National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation Report have verified that Colonia Dignidad was used by DINA, the Chilean secret police, as a torture and detention centre during Augusto Pinochet's military dictatorship.

Schafer was born in Troisdorf, Weimar Germany, and joined the Hitler Youth movement at a young age. He served as a medic in the German Army during World War II, where he reached the rank of corporal. As an ex-Nazi, he lived in Germany until 1961. Following the war he set up a children's home and Lutheran evangelical ministry. In 1959, he created the Private Social Mission, purportedly a charitable organization. That same year, he was charged with sexually abusing two children and fled Germany with some of his followers.

Schafer resurfaced in Chile in 1961, where the government at the time, led by conservative President Jorge Alessandri, granted him permission to create the Dignidad Beneficent Society on a farm outside of Parral. Founded primarily on anti-communism, this society evolved into the Colonia Dignidad community.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Paul Schafer

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